Welcome to my blog!My name is Melody M. Nuñez - I’m an artist, a writer, and an art teacher. To learn more about me and the book I published - An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past - please view the “About” & "Book" pages…
IMAGES FROM MY BOOK: An Altered Existence
Category Archives: helping others
Hurray for ART! I’m pleased to share that I will be able to teach at my Santa Ana school this year after all, in addition to the two classrooms I’m already donating vacation days for in Ontario. My fabulous employer is going to cover my usual work hours for the 3 days I’ll need to work with the kids in Santa Ana this school year – woo hoo! The school is going to provide the core items needed for the kits out of their budget (sketchbook, scissors, crayons, and glue sticks), and I’m going to do all I can to help provide the other supplies that the kids have such fun creating with – things like mini ink pads, ribbon, fabric, and more.
And that’s where I hope you’ll come in, dear reader. Please consider donating supplies or a gift card to help bring art journaling to the entire 4th grade at Wilson Elementary School. If you’re not familiar with my art program for kids, please take a peek HERE and read about my volunteer work with the kids.
SUPPLY WISH LIST
Cotton fabric squares – 4 or 5”
Ribbon – at least ½” wide, please…
Loteria/Mexican Bingo sets
Patterned paper – 8 ½” x 11” or smaller
Cancelled postage stamps
Gift cards for Michaels – to purchase mini ink pads for each child
(I’ll happily receive e-gift cards at this email address: melody @ melodynunez dot com)
I’m gathering supplies for 150 kits (four classrooms full of fourth graders!).
Please let me know if you’d like to help me bring art supplies and instruction to the kids.
I’ll be happy to provide my mailing address if you email me via my Contact page.
Thanks a bunch!
I recently visited the school in Ontario where I have two classrooms of 4th grade art journaling students. It was the day of our art journaling shows, and a great time was had by all! I loved seeing the amazing pages my young students had created. They were excited to share, and naturally I had to take some pictures of their work to share with all of you.
I think their journals and pages are charming and inventive, and I’m thrilled that 70-ish kids at this school received art instruction and enrichment. Art seems like it should be a given in schools, but sadly it’s NOT – so huge thanks to all of you who supported my art journaling program this year and in years past. We’ve made a difference in the lives of many! Stay tuned for pictures from the art journal shows that are coming up at my Santa Ana school, where I have four classrooms of 4th graders participating in the art journaling program. The photos should be posted in early to mid June.
During this coming school year I’ll be teaching one classroom of students, in my aunt’s classroom in Ontario. Given that I won’t have dedicated art supply storage space in a garage after our upcoming move, and that I’ve been giving up much of my vacation time to volunteer teaching for the past four years, I’m going to be putting my program on hold. Changes in life circumstance and fewer donations have given me cause to evaluate the trajectory of this program, and it seems that this is a good time to pause. I’ll let you know if/when I restart. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the kindness, generosity, and enthusiasm many of you have shown over the years. Together we’ve brought art supplies and instruction to over 500 at-risk children! Hurray!
Greetings, dear readers! I hope you’re all well and happy. Although it’s only March, I’m kicking off my Art Supply Drive for the 2014-2015 school year. I know – crazy, right? I hope you’ll participate and help children in need. Please keep reading to get the scoop on what I’ll be doing differently this fall, and why I’m hosting my drive now instead of in August.
First Things First: A Bit About My Program
I volunteer teach art journaling to at-risk elementary school students. Art journaling – a combination of visual art and traditional journaling – nurtures creativity, strengthens language and fine motor skills, and bolsters a child’s self-esteem while providing a positive form of self-expression. Art journaling is a valuable tool that provides positive focus, promotes personal growth, and encourages non-violent conflict resolution through visual and verbal expression.
Donations and art materials are gathered from wonderful folks like you, and I typically teach as many classrooms of students for which we have supplies (six classrooms in the 2013-2014 school year). Each student is provided with a blank journal and a packet of art supplies upon the first visit. The children are taught art journaling in the early part of their school year, and then I return to the class during the last month of school for an art journal show – to see what they’ve created and to celebrate their artistic accomplishments.
The kids have the best time creating, and love using their art supplies. They truly love art journaling, and this creative outlet gives them a chance to shine and to express themselves – priceless!
Why So Early?
I’ll be moving in July (will still be in OC), and am unlikely to have garage space in the new complex – which affects my ability to store art supplies for my program. I’ll need to assemble the art supply kits for next year and pass on any remaining supplies before the move. Since July will be here before I know it I’m asking for your help now.
Just Two Classes This Fall
I’ll be teaching fewer classes this fall since I’m going to take a short trip/mini sabbatical in November and will need the vacation days I usually donate to my program in order to make this happen. I need to recharge my batteries, but will still teach two classes at the school in Ontario where my aunt is a 4th grade teacher.
Because I was able to store supplies and hold some extra items back from last year, I already have a number of the supplies I’ll need for the 80 art supply kits. For example, I already have all the scissors, decorative paper and cardstock, tags, pencils, mini ink pads, paper punches, playing cards, and more. My wish list is much shorter this year, and I’d be SO thankful if you’d help me fill in the gaps to ensure that two classrooms of children receive the gift of art journaling this fall.
*Please note: I don’t expect any one person to supply the entire dollar amount for the journals, all the glue sticks, etc. You’re welcome to donate in any amount or quantity. :]
- $250 to buy 80 journals/sketchbooks
(gift cards to Office Depot, checks, or donations via GoFundMe)
- 100 glue sticks – any brand
- 70 8-count packs of Crayola Crayons
- $35 for the large Ziplock bags that hold each child’s supplies
(Target gift card, check, or donation via GoFundMe)
160 Fabric Squares: please mail these to my P.O. Box
(3 kind and generous people are donating these – hurray!)
- $15 to buy single window business envelopes
(Office Depot Gift card, check, or donation via GoFundMe)
Art Supply Drive Deadline & Mailing Address
I’d love to receive all donations by April 15, 2014.
You may donate quickly, easily, and securely via my page at GoFundMe – just click here.
If you’d like to order a gift card online and have it mailed directly to me, or plan to send supplies like crayons, glue sticks, or fabric squares please use this address:
Melody M. Nuñez
P.O. Box 60030
Irvine, CA 92602
Thank you for your consideration!
Happy 2014, dear readers! I’m here to share some news today, and hope you’ll read through to the end.
I’d like to thank those who offered their condolences on my December 10th blog post or emailed me. I appreciate your kind words, and appreciate you reaching out with comfort…
I’m Trying Something New
One of my goals for for 2014 is to focus more on self-care. To that end, I’m going to give yoga a serious try. I think it will be beneficial both physically and mentally, and since a new yoga studio just opened about a block away from home I have no reason not to give it a whirl. Do any of you do yoga? Do you have any tips or suggestions for a newbie?
I Checked Something BIG Off My List!
As many of you know, I volunteer-teach art journaling to at-risk children. I’d been wanting to create some videos with supplemental art lessons for the kids for a while now. The goal? To offer art instruction beyond the Introduction to Art Journaling I teach during my initial visit. (Ideally I’d visit each classroom weekly or monthly, but since I work full-time that’s not an option)
I recently worked with Bad Bunny Studios to bring these videos to life. We finished production on the videos in late November, and the editing process was just wrapped. Next up is the printing of the labels and DVD duplication. Hurray! Though I’m not one that loves being on camera, I’m thrilled that these videos have come to fruition. This is a big step forward for the program, since the children will now receive more instruction and these lessons can be used each year. I offer big thanks to Bad Bunny Studios – I appreciate your time and efforts! :]
Quick & Easy Donations
Speaking of my art journaling program, I’m also pleased to share that making donations is now super quick and easy! I’ve signed on with GoFundMe, a site that offers an easy and secure way to donate to great causes. Please take a peek at my fundraising page here. All funds received go directly to providing art supplies to at-risk kids, so please consider starting 2014 off with some good karma by making a donation.
It’s no secret that art is a therapeutic tool for me and for many others in this crazy world. I often turn to art journaling to help me through tough times, but other creative endeavors work too. My medium of choice in the last few weeks has been assemblage. I’ve created four assemblages thus far, and anticipate making more in the coming weeks. I’ll be sharing these first works here on my blog, and may offer some of them for sale in my Etsy shop, so please keep an eye out.
What do you do when trying to work through something challenging, dear readers? Make art? Run? Drink wine? Journal? Please share, if you’re so inclined. Until next time….
Greetings! Today I’m pleased to share photos from my recent visits to six different Southern California classrooms. I provided art supplies (with help from many of you!), and taught an Introduction to Art Journaling to at-risk 4th graders. My students are often facing a number of challenges, and I introduce them to Art Journaling in the hopes that it will help them cope, process their feelings, and express themselves in positive ways as they continue on in life. I also know that art journaling helps their overall academic experience, and helps to develop their creativity. Art journaling is a positive thing all the way around!
This year I taught in two classrooms in Ontario, and four classrooms in Santa Ana. Through the generosity of dozens of kind and generous people, I was able to provide approximately 200 children with their own art supply kits, which will be used all school year and then taken home at the end of the year so the kids can keep creating.
Preparing the Art Supply Kits
The school in Santa Ana gathered parent volunteers to assemble the 125 kits we’d need in order to bring art journaling to their entire 4th grade. The school purchased the journals, scissors, glue sticks, crayons, and plastic bags. I (we) supplied the rest of the goodies, and the kits were ready to go when I arrived to teach. Teamwork! :]
For the 80 Ontario class kits, I was lucky enough to have four friends come over and help assemble the kits. Work that would’ve taken me an entire day working alone was completed in under two hours by the five of us – it was such a great help, and was fun to boot. We got to visit, assemble, and eat some goodies. I’m not above plying my team with things like homemade almond brittle to keep them happy. :] Big thanks to AC, LC, AT, and VT for your time and efforts!
What the Schools Received
In addition to providing materials for the art journaling students, the schools received many other supplies and tools!
2 carloads of assorted art/craft supplies, including several reams of paper
1 Big Shot die cutting & embossing machine (kindly donated by Ellison/Sizzix)
A box of assorted dies (kindly donated by Ellison/Sizzix)
5 boxes of assorted art/craft supplies
1 box of Post-it notes
1 bag full of ball point pens
1 Big Shot die cutting & embossing machine (kindly donated by Ellison/Sizzix)
A box of assorted dies (kindly donated by Ellison/Sizzix)
In the Classroom
The children were so enthusiastic about their art supplies and the opportunity to create! They dug right in, and had a wonderful time creating their first two art journal pages while I was there – a page about five of their favorite things, and a collage page. As always, I was delighted by the things they created, and loved the inventive ways they used the materials. One little boy used a paper doily and crayons to create a lion’s head!
Letters from My Students
I received thank you letters from one of my Ontario classes the other day – what a treat! I love the letters and drawings I receive from my students each year. They’re among my most treasured possessions! Here are excerpts from a handful of letters I received on Tuesday – I’ve corrected some grammar and spelling in the interest of clarity:
“Thank you for all of the supplies and for teaching us another way to express our feelings. Not to punch, not to slap, but to draw a picture to calm you down a little. And also, thank you for spending your time with us and the other classes.”
“Thank you for showing your journaling to the class and now I like art way more than I liked it before. Because now I know that you can do art with just a pen or pencil and art can be about anything you want it to be.”
“Thank you for teaching us art. It was fun, exciting, and it was colorful.”
“I think it is very nice of you to come and teach us a new way to express our feelings and do new things. Now I express my feelings in a different way because of you.”
“The best idea that I like is to recycle paper and wrappers, like the peanut and jelly sandwich wrappers.”
“I never knew I could get out my feelings by drawing a picture. Thank you for all you have taught us about art.”
I was so pleased to read these passages. I make it a point to emphasize that journaling is a great way to express one’s feelings – both good and bad – in my introduction class, and these letters let me know that the message was received. And because many of my students are from low-income families (as I was when I was a child) I’m sure to let them know that art can be made from the simplest of things – they don’t have to have expensive (and possibly out of reach) supplies to create.
The Schools Can Make Use of All Types of Supplies!
I just have to share a few non-art journaling photos I took at the school in Ontario. They used of some of the assorted arts and craft supplies I’d passed along when it came time for the children to create dioramas. This is why I’m very happy to accept donations of “other” art/crafting supplies, even if it’s not a perfect fit for art journaling.
The first diorama include a tree made from fabric and yarn. The second picture shows clouds made from packing foam, rocks made from egg crates, and ocean plants made from yarn. I love these – they’re a perfect example of what children can do with opportunity and supplies. :] The schools use these assorted art and craft supplies for all kinds of things – from handmade greeting cards to paper robots and science projects.
Thank You SO Much!
I offer big thanks to everyone who donated supplies, gift cards, or funds to my students. This program truly does make a difference, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me to bring art instruction and supplies to these children. I’ll be sure to post photos from the end-of-year art journal shows that will take place in May and June.
I accept donations year-round, so if you’re paring down your art/craft stash and would like to donate the items to my students – or if you’re inspired to provide new supplies for them via gift card or check – please contact me. Everything gets put to great use, and is appreciated by the students, the teachers, and the school staff and administrators. And me!
Greetings! I hope your week is going well thus far. I just thought I’d pop in and share that my annual Art Supply Drive is winding down. This is the last week of my official drive. Next I’ll do some shopping, and will then move on to creating a kit of supplies for each child. So far I have enough supplies to teach two classrooms of children – my goal is six classrooms.
There’s Still Time!
Did you plan on donating – just haven’t gotten everything together yet? Fear not! Whether you plan on sending in assorted supplies, a check, or gift cards, I’ll happily accept your donations after August has come to an end. However, I’d really appreciate it if you could email me and tell me what you plan to send – and your donation’s ETA. :]
These are the items I currently need the most:
- Money or gift cards for the journals I’m going to buy at Office Depot
- Michaels gift cards (for paper punches and mini ink pads)
- Crayola crayons – 8-count packs
You’re welcome to send just about anything, though. Whether you pull items from your personal stash of art and craft supplies or purchase something especially for the kids, it will all be put to good use. :]
Big thanks to those of you who have already donated supplies for my at-risk students – SO kind of you! I’ll be sure to post photos that I take when I go in to teach. I wish you could be there with me to see how excited the kids get, and to hear their many thank yous. I’ll do my best to capture some of the fun and excitement by posting here on my blog after I’ve visited the classrooms…
Greetings! I’m kicking off my annual Art Supply Drive to benefit at-risk public school students, and hope you’ll participate and help give my students the gift of art! You may notice that I’m starting my Art Supply Drive earlier than usual, which I’m doing so the drive coincides with the back to school sales that are going on right now. There are great deals to be had on some of the items I use in the art supply kits – perhaps you’ll be so kind as to purchase these great deals when you see them. :]*
I gather donations and art supplies, and teach as many classroom of students as I have supplies for (three classrooms in the 2012-2013 school year). I provide each student with a blank journal and a packet of art supplies when I first visit the class. I teach the children art journaling in the early part of their school year, and then return to the class during the last month of school for an art journal show – to see what they’ve created and to celebrate their artistic accomplishments!
Why I Do This…
My mission is to provide as many children as I can with art journaling instruction and supplies. Not only does this program nurture their creativity and provide art instruction that would otherwise be missing because of curriculum and budget constraints, art journaling also helps get the children excited about their overall educational experience.
And, perhaps most importantly, art journaling gives the children a constructive way to express themselves and process the world around them. This is particularly important for these at-risk students, who are sometimes facing the effects of poverty, abuse, neglect, exposure to gangs and drugs, and absent parents.
I, too, faced many challenges when I was a child, including abuse and poverty, and know from experience that creative self-expression can be a lifesaver. I know that a trustworthy adult taking a special interest in you can make a big impression, and that a proverbial pat on the back can really boost one’s self-esteem. I also know that art and writing have the power to strengthen, nourish, and heal, and hope to plant a love for art journaling and creative self-expression in the lives of as many children as I can.
Though donations aren’t yet tax-deductible, I hope you’ll help provide art journaling supplies for the children. Thank you for your consideration!
Here are the top 10 items on my wish list, along with links to specific items (in some cases):
1. 9″ x 9″ spiral top sketch books, which the children will use for their art journals (Office Max gift cards)
2. Michaels gift cards: I will use these to purchase mini ink pads and mini paper punches
3. Glue sticks
5. Crayola crayons – 8-pack
6. 2.5 Gallon Hefty OneZip bags to hold each child’s supplies
7. Fabric squares – 5″ x 5″ or smaller
8. Pencils – unsharpened
9. Alphabet Sticker sets (any complete alphabet sticker sets are welcome – this is just an example)
10. Ball point pens
To see my overall wish list, which includes more of the items I like to include in the supply kits, please click here. The list is towards the bottom.
A Bigger Goal = Art for More Children!
Last year I taught three classrooms full of students, with your help and donations, and am hoping to double that this year. The principal at my Santa Ana school would love me to teach ALL FOUR of their 4th grade classes this year, and I hope to teach in two classrooms in Ontario as well. With six classrooms I’d be teaching approximately 220 students, and love the idea of bringing art journaling to hundreds of students this coming school year. I’d really appreciate your help in reaching my goal of 220 art kits. I know we can do it! Naturally I don’t expect one person to donate 22o of any particular item – am just letting you know what my total student goal is. :]
You may send any supplies, gift cards, or checks to me at the following mailing address:
Melody M. Nuñez
P.O. Box 60030
Irvine, CA 92602
Art Supply Drive Deadline
Please mail your donation for this year’s drive by August 31st so I can log, sort, shop and assemble all the supplies into kits for this year’s students. That said, I accept donations year-round, so if you can’t mail by August 31st, I’ll happily accept your kind donation any time of year.
Big thanks to all those who have donated in past years. Extra big thanks to those of you who donate each and every year! I appreciate your support, and the kids, teachers, and administrators do, too. If this will be your first time donating to my program, please know all supplies and donations are used happily by the children and are SO appreciated. Please feel free to post a comment or to email me with any questions.
I hope you’re all having a great week, dear readers…
I recently had the pleasure of attending Art Journal Shows for all three classrooms of students I taught and brought supplies to this school year. The shows for my Ontario students took place on May 16th, and the show for my Santa Ana students took place on June 4th. All three shows were fabulous! I wish you could’ve been there at the shows with me, dear readers. There’s almost nothing better than seeing proud students showing off their artwork – full of excitement, enthusiasm, and pride.
As you may remember, these children are “at-risk” and often face a number of challenges in their lives. It’s my pleasure and mission to be able to bring a positive form of self-expression to them, and I hope that art journaling will be a tool they use for the rest of their lives. On a more basic level, my program provides art materials and education that are lacking in many public schools, and it’s a thrill to see the children respond so positively to this creative medium. The art journaling program gets them excited about their overall educational experience, and allows them to demonstrate their creativity and knowledge in wonderful ways.
Here are some of the pages that were created by my 2012-2013 students. They were all 4th graders, and they did a fantastic job! They never fail to impress me with the inventive ways they use the materials they receive. For example, one artist used a business envelope to create a house on her page (below) . The envelope’s window is the house’s window, the girl in the house is behind the window, and the artist even added fabric pieces for curtains! :]
I offer my most sincere thanks to all of you who donated supplies, funds, or gift cards. I truly can’t do this without your help, and appreciate your enthusiasm and support for what I do. The kids are always SO thankful for the supplies and for the chance to create, and I must pass on their thanks to you. Thank you – thank you – thank you!
The photo below features a journal page one of my Santa Ana students created to thank me – she included bits and pieces of many of the supplies included in her art supply bag. However, she’s not just thanking me with that page – she’s thanking every person who donated – every person who helped spread the word about the art supply drive. :]
Exciting News – Expanding the Program!
I visited with the principal at my Santa Ana school during the Art Journal Show, and he expressed interest in expanding the program during the next school year. We laid tentative plans to add my art journaling program to three more classrooms at the school next year – to bring art journaling to ALL FOUR 4th GRADE CLASSES! Obviously this will require more supplies, resources, supply kits prep time, etc., and it’ll be a challenge, but I’d love to make it happen and am excited by the prospect. It made my heart SO happy that the principal sees the value, wants to expand, and is committed to bring the arts to more students.
I also hope to teach one or two classrooms of 4th graders at my Ontario school. If I’m able to pull off a total of six classes between the two schools, over 200 at-risk children will benefit. :] I’m crossing my fingers – please wish me luck!
My Upcoming Art Supply Drive
Historically my annual art supply drive has been in September or October, but this year I’m going to move it up in hopes that some of my wonderful and generous donors will take advantage of back-to-school sales. Basics like crayons, glue sticks and pencils are often priced super low during these back-to-school sales, so I’ll be switching my art supply drive to August and September. Please keep my students in mind if you hit these types of sales – we’d so appreciate your support! And please remember that I happily accept donations year-round, so if you’d like to donate now you’re more than welcome to. :]
Warm regards and many thanks,
As you know, I gather art supplies, gift cards, and monetary donations in order to provide at-risk public school children with art instruction and supplies. This year’s donation drive went well, and I was thrilled to have enough supplies to teach three classrooms of students for the first time ever – this is one more classroom than last year/ever before. Woo hoo! Three cheers for all my donors!
I taught all three of my classrooms over the past two weeks, two in Ontario and one in Santa Ana, and it all went incredibly well. The kids are always SO excited to get to learn about art and to actually do it, and they take to the art and writing involved in art journaling like little baby duckies to water! They’re super excited when they each get their art supply kits, and are especially happy when they learn that they get to keep all the supplies and take them home at the end of the year. It was a thrill for me to see all the kids so excited, happy, and engrossed in the activity.
Many of these kids don’t have anything like this in their lives, which makes it that much more important to them. In fact, in one class, two girls sitting next to each other were overheard saying, “I’ve never had this many art supplies!” and “I think I might cry!” (Happy tears, mind you.) All the teachers I talked to were very thankful, too, saying they’d never be able to provide/buy the supplies they received. In addition to the three classes I teach in, at least five more teachers received boxes of assorted supplies to share with their classes.
Here are some numbers for you, so you can get an idea of what all went on, and how many supplies were passed on to schools that desperately need them:
Number of people that donated supplies, gift cards, or funds between June 2012 and December 2012: 31
Number of boxes and bags of assorted supplies that went to the two schools: 20
Number of art supply kits provided, so each child would have their own set of supplies: 125
Number of individual pieces/items in each art supply kit: 60+
Total number of 4th grade classes I taught: 3
Number of children who’ve received the gift of art via my program this year: over 85
Awesome, right? I’m so thankful that so many of you lent a hand and helped me provide for the kids. I can’t do this alone, and am so pleased so many of you got involved! :]
A truck full of supplies – and this was only some of what I was able to take out to the schools!
Here are some photos from the three classrooms I taught. I don’t show the faces of our budding artists for privacy/safety reasons, but I’m sure you’ll agree that the art speaks for itself. These images are of their very first art journal pages and journal covers.
I hope you’re as charmed by their artwork as I am! I’ll be returning to both schools before the school year ends to have art journal shows for the children, and will be sure to share photos from both events here on my blog.
If you’re interested in donating supplies to help bring art, writing and positive self-expression to children in need, please contact me. I accept donations year-round, and appreciate any supplies, gift cards or funds I can get since I have no budget, volunteer my time, and provide some of the supplies. Thank you for your consideration. :]