Azalea Blossom, Inc.
Margaret’s interest in non-profit/charity work began when she was an elementary school student living on Long Island. Through the “Sunday Club”, which she organized with neighboring children, she organized a series of projects to raise money for UNICEF. When she was sixteen, she organized a large-scale bike- a-thon in her community to raise money for the March of Dimes, which was near and dear to her heart as her brother, Michael, had died of multiple birth defects in infancy.
The “Sunday Club” was also responsible for annual valentine’s parties for the neighborhood children, which included an original puppet show each year. This was also the beginning of Margaret’s love of puppets, which would play in integral part in her educational and non-profit work years later.
Margaret Jean is the Executive Director and founder of Azalea Blossom, Incorporated, a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization dedicated to the awareness, education and prevention of domestic, social and child abuse through the utilization of the creative and performing Arts. Margaret originally started Azalea Blossom as the sister organization to her Growing Azalea Music in order to produce musical projects geared to social change and specifically domestic violence awareness and child abuse and bullying prevention. Azalea Blossom initiated the “Bricks in the Wall” project in 2007 to bring awareness, prevention and education of the lesser known aspects of domestic violence to the general public. The project consists of a CD, music video and performances by Margaret and the Bricks Band in women shelters, community center, Universities and public schools in over ten counties throughout New York State. Margaret also supervises interns and students in the inner working of a non-profit organization from almost a dozen colleges and Universities including Oberlin College, Rutgers University, Russel Sage College, New York University, Hunter College, SUNY Oneonta, Hartwick College and SUNY Albany, SUNY Cobleskill.
SAFE Through The Arts
Azalea Blossom is also responsible for SAFE through the Arts, an arts based bullying prevention educational program, which Margaret created. Originally, SAFE through the arts was designed as a domestic violence educational program for public middle students, which Margaret taught in seven counties throughout New York State including Greene, Schenectady, Albany, Schoharie, Delaware, Columbia, and Ulster counties. Currently, Margaret directs and instructs SAFE through the arts in PreK, kindergarten and Special Education classes in urban public schools throughout New York’s Capital District and will be launching the program in Brooklyn later this year.
Margaret created the curriculum for the program and additionally was responsible for writing all of the puppet scripts and songs used for the program, which appear on the award winning “Songs from SAFE through the arts”. In addition, Margaret, together with her former intern Amy Gong, designed all of the sixteen puppet characters based upon the demographics of Schenectady and New York City public schools. SAFE through the arts prevents social violence by addressing root causes early on in a child’s life. The program’s objectives is to build children’s confidence through repeated affirmations; Give children specific skills to help children express emotions in appropriate ways; And teach the children empathy through accepting differences and using compassionate communication.
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