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
Tag Archives: art journaling for at-risk kids
I visited my Santa Ana school last Friday, and attended art journal shows for all four of my fourth grade classes. It was super exciting to have all 4th graders participate in art journaling this year, and feedback from the children and their teachers was incredible. The kids had a blast creating art and expressing themselves, and were excited to share with me and the others in attendance at our shows.
The teachers had nothing but positive things to say as well. Woo hoo! They loved seeing the children so enthusiastically engaged and – given the current academic climate that’s so testing-focused – appreciated that their students had the opportunity to express themselves creatively in an unstructured way.
Again, thank you SO much to those of you who’ve helped me bring art journaling to my Santa Ana and Ontario schools this year and in years past. I estimate that a little over 500 students have received art instruction and supplies since I started volunteer teaching back in 2003, which makes my heart happy. :] Thank you for your help and support!
Here’s a small sampling of the pages that were created by my Santa Ana students, since I can’t share art from all 14o of them. They’re such wonderful artists!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek at some of the art my students created. I also hope you have a wonderful week!
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….
Color, shape, writing –
nurtures their hearts, minds, spirits.
Love lending a hand…
Today’s haiku refers to the art journaling classes I volunteer-teach to at-risk public school students.
I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be teaching six classrooms of at-risk 4th graders this school year – two in Ontario today, and four in Santa Ana over the next two weeks. My heart is very happy that approximately 200 children will participate in my little program this year. That’s a big jump from the 30 per year that I started with, and is even a big jump from last year’s 115! Woo hoo!
Huge thanks to all who donated to my program for this school year – and for any other school year, for that matter! I appreciate you helping me to bring some creative goodness to children who need it. I’m thankful for the support you’re giving my program and my students. I’ll be sure to post a write-up and some photos from my time in the six different classrooms after I’ve completed my initial visits to the schools and classrooms.
With thanks and a happy heart,
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. :]
School is back in session and I’m hosting my annual ART SUPPLY DRIVE! I’ll be volunteer-teaching art journaling to at-risk public school students soon, and though I donate my time and some supplies, I can’t afford to provide all they need on my own. Won’t you please lend a hand? Whether you choose to donate supplies, gift cards, or funds, you’ll be making a big difference in the lives of many.
Please watch this brief video to learn a bit more about my program. It includes photos, video footage from an art journal show in Santa Ana, and testimonials from teachers and school staff – proof that art journaling is a wonderful addition to the curriculum…
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 often 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.
My goal is to teach three classrooms full of students this year – two in Santa Ana and one in Ontario. I hope to receive enough donations to create 135 art journaling kits for the kids (45 kits for each class). Though donations aren’t yet tax-deductible, I hope you’ll help provide art journaling supplies for the children. Please consider donating in one of the following ways – I’ve starred the items I need the most:
**MONETARY DONATIONS in any amount. I use the “cash” to buy the blank art journals, which are the foundation of the supply kits.
**GIFT CARDS for **Michaels, Target, or Office Max in any amount – even “remaining amounts”, like $4.73!
SUPPLIES – I’d love to receive the following in quantities of 45, 90, or 135, but will happily accept whatever you’d like to send.
*Crayons – Crayola packs of 8
*Mini ink pads – assorted colors
Loteria packs (Mexican Bingo)
Pencils – unsharpened
Ribbon – at least ½” wide, please
Die cut shapes
Cancelled postage stamps
Fabric – fat quarters or other smaller pieces, please. Pre-cut 5″ squares would be fantastic!
Cardstock – any color assortments welcome (12″ x 12″ or smaller)
Patterned paper – any assortments welcome (12″ x 12″ or smaller)
You may also send assorted arts and craft supplies, which will be put into a “mush pot” for the classroom teachers and children to pull from during the year…
Though I accept donations year-round, I’d like to receive donations for this year’s classes by November 6, 2012. This will allow me enough time to shop for the remaining items I need and assemble the art journaling kits for the students before heading into the classrooms.
Please email me through this site’s contact page if you would like to donate, and I’ll provide my mailing address. Oh, and please share this post with other kind and generous people you think might like to donate. I’d love this to go viral, so please spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, to online groups, and via email. :] Thanks so much!