Learning Leaders, a nonprofit organization in New York City, recruits, screens, trains and supports volunteers who provide one-on-one and small group instructional support and other services to New York City’s public school students from grades pre-Kindergarten to twelve. There are more than 11,500 Learning Leaders volunteers working with more than 165,000 students in New York City. Learning Leaders is very fortunate to have Pamela Dadlani as a member of its volunteer corps.
Not only does Dadlani volunteer in the Lower Lab School in District 2 in Manhattan, but she volunteers in two of the special programs that are run for New York City public school students, ARTWORKS and Understanding Nations. As an ARTWORKS volunteer, Dadlani has created innovative programming for third grade students in East Harlem who may otherwise never learn about art because of serious cuts in arts education.
At PS 155 in Manhattan’s District 4, Dadlani has volunteered with the ARTWORKS program for three years. ARTWORKS places trained volunteers in classrooms where they present five sessions to third grade students on various forms of art and introduce these students to the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This exciting program cumulates with a field trip for these students to the museum where the students can actually see the pieces that they studied. Students’ appreciation for art and the artistic process improves when they go through this special program.
Dadlani is a trained ARTWORKS museum guide and often goes to the museum twice a month to lead young students around one of the most distinguished art collections in the world. Dadlani showed the community at PS 155 and all at Learning Leaders her dedication to art education when she took it upon herself to create art corners focused on Georgia O’Keefe for two classrooms at PS 155. Dadlani designed self-guided activities for students to integrate art education with the reading and writing standards that they are expected to meet. She integrated current social studies and science curriculum into the art corners because of the frequent desert theme in O’Keefe’s work.
As a volunteer with the Understanding Nations program, Dadlani travels to PS 279 in the Bronx. During these five sessions with a fifth grade class, Dadlani educates the students about the United Nations and what it means to have an international community. This multi-cultural experience cumulates with a class field trip to the United Nations where the students tour the facility and learn more about what the function of the United Nations is in the world is today.
Dadlani’s own daughter attends the Lower Lab School in District 2 in Manhattan. This school differs from other schools in the New York City Department of Education because no Title 1 funds are allocated. Therefore, parents are responsible for fundraising to provide for everyday supplies such as chalk, paper, and tissues in the classrooms. Dadlani is a star fundraiser and constant advocate for these young voices in the community. If there is anything that Dadlani can do to help the students in this public school, she is there rolling up her sleeves to help.