As one who has been helped in many ways by many wonderful people during my lifetime, I feel very strongly about helping others. I try to donate to charity and/or give my time to multiple causes each year. Whether it’s buying Secret Santa gifts for homeless children, or donating food to the local food bank, I regularly take action on charitably-based opportunities.
My Favorite Way to Give
One of my favorite ways to donate time and money is through my own little art journaling project – something I first did back in 2003, and have done during three different school years thus far. My aunt, who is an amazing elementary school teacher, would tell me about her students and the challenges they faced: poverty, abuse, gangs, drugs, and incarcerated or otherwise absent parents. Their stories broke my heart, and I knew I had to do what I could to help.
I decided I’d teach the kids visual journaling: the combination of writing/journaling, drawing, and collage. In addition to nurturing their creativity and language skills, I teach these classes in the hopes that I’ll give them a positive, creative outlet to help them process the crazy world we live in. Art and writing have been essential to me as I’ve traveled through life, and I am hoping to plant these seeds in children that are facing so many challenges.
How the Class Works
Each student receives a blank journal and a packet full of art supplies that they keep at school until the end of the school year. I teach the class – an introduction to art journaling – and provide a handout with a how-to overview and journaling prompts for future use. When I visit the class for the first time they complete two or three journal entries, which helps to reinforce the different ways they can use their journal for fun and as a tool.
As the school year progresses, the children do additional work in their art journals and we finish with an end-of-year art journal show that I attend. The first three end-of-year shows we’ve held were a great success, and it always fills my heart with joy to see the excitement and pride of the children as they share what they’ve created.
Others Are Lending a Hand
I donate my time and some of the supplies for this endeavor, and usually solicit donations from friends and family to fill in the gaps. However, this year donations are going to a whole new level. Jenny Doh from crescendoh.com has generously offered to provide supplies for the children’s art journal packets, and is also getting her readers involved. She’s giving her readers an opportunity to get in on the giving, and has written a lovely blog post about my project here. I’m so thankful for her shared enthusiasm about this project. I know how big a difference it makes in the lives of these children, and I’m thrilled Jenny recognizes it too and is supporting the program.
How You Can Help
Because there is such great need, I hope you will consider making a donation too, dear readers. Since crescendoh.com is coordinating the bulk of the donations and materials could be duplicated between our gathering efforts, please consider sending me a gift card to Michael’s or Target. (If you’d rather send tangible art supplies, please contact me.) Whether you send a gift card worth $5 or $50, you’ll be helping these children in a potentially life-changing way!
If you’re interested in donating, please email me through this website’s CONTACT page so I can provide my mailing address and so I’ll know to keep an eye out for your envelope or package. I hope to receive all donations by November 21, 2010.
Please note: The art journal pages in the photo above were created by a student who participated in the 2009-2010 art journaling class.
Thank you for your time and consideration!