Contact: Nancy Mueller
Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center
[email protected]

Collaboration between Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center and African Arts Non-Profit Cheza Nami Yields First Major Educational Grant

LIVERMORE, CA – (July 13, 2014) – The Cheza Nami Foundation, working in conjunction with the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, has received a significant grant from the City of Pleasanton to provide educational assemblies on African culture to Pleasanton elementary schools. Intended to foster greater awareness of Africa’s unique and extensive attributes among people of all backgrounds and to encourage youth participation in the arts, Cheza Nami assemblies are an interactive mix of creative movement and musical expression. Students are invited to personally explore African instruments, dances and games in a 45-minute presentation designed specifically for their age group. 

The grant from the City of Pleasanton represents the first project in Cheza Nami’s Cultural Arts and Learning (CAL) program, which was developed in collaboration with LVPAC and the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District in 2013. A total of 12 assemblies will be offered to six elementary schools in the City of Pleasanton and is anticipated to reach a total of 2,400 unduplicated students during the 2014-2015 school year. 

Cheza Nami (“come play with me” in Swahili) was founded three years ago to preserve and encourage young people’s appreciation of the rich culture of Africa, through active exploration of African dance, drumming and play. Based in Pleasanton, Cheza Nami has provided assemblies to individual schools in cities throughout the Bay Area including Palo Alto, San Francisco, Redwood City and Alameda. The curriculum-based assemblies engage students in an enriching educational experience not typically available in the classroom and are designed to meet the State of California’s visual arts, social studies and physical education standards. 

Founder and president Catherine Ndungu-Case of Cheza Nami says that collaboration with LVPAC has been instrumental in helping to create this opportunity. “This grant from the City of Pleasanton is a major milestone for Cheza Nami,” says Ndungu-Case. “This is the first time we have worked with an entire district rather than a single school site. It will help us meet our long-term goal to reach a large pool of students with a consistent and streamlined program.” 

Through the Bankhead Theater and the Bothwell Arts Center, LVPAC has established a framework for providing diverse access to the arts and educational outreach to students of all ages in the Tri-Valley area. The CAL program is a natural extension of those efforts, allowing Chezi Nami to leverage LVPAC’s expertise in providing compacted educational programming to multiple schools efficiently. LVPAC will provide the administrative support and Cheza Nami will provide the programming.

Pleasanton elementary schools can apply to Cheza Nami to be included in the program beginning in August 2014. The grant from the City of Pleasanton provides funding for six schools to receive two assemblies each. Should additional schools in the Pleasanton Unified School District be interested, funding would need to be obtained to cover expenses. Through the CAL program, 

Cheza Nami also continues to solicit funds with the goal of expanding the assemblies to the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District and other schools in the area. To apply for the Cheza Nami CAL program or for more information, schools can email [email protected] or call (925) 398-3827. 


Cheza Nami is a nonprofit charitable organization whose aim is to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of African Culture by welcoming members of the community to participate in fun‐filled activities while learning what makes African culture so unique. Cheza Nami believes in a play‐based, experiential approach to education, teaches African culture through dance, play and movement, and works with local members of the community who have a deep passion and commitment for learning or sharing African culture. Cheza Nami envisions a world in which all associate with and celebrate African Culture. For more information visit

The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center provides wide-ranging programs that provide access to the arts for the Tri-Valley community and beyond. The Bankhead Theater and the Bothwell Arts Center are home to nine resident performing arts companies and over 40 studio artists and cultural arts instructors. Between them, they offer more than 500 public activities each year, from classes and workshops, to concerts and performances, as well as extensive educational outreach in the arts. A list of upcoming performances at the Bankhead Theater, as well as activities at the Bothwell Arts Center, is available online at

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