Tag Archives: helping others

My 2011-2012 Art Journaling Classes for At-Risk Public School Children

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Remember the Art Supply Drive I had in October?  Where I gathered supplies so I could teach art journaling to at-risk public school children?  Well, thanks to many wonderful people (including many of you) it was a big success!  In fact, I received enough supplies that I could teach TWO classrooms of children this year, instead of just one.  This is something I’d wanted to do for years, and am thrilled I was able to expand to a second school this school year.  (The photo above shows just a portion of the art supplies I received!)  Thank you!

Some Stats

I taught one class of 4th graders in Ontario, CA and one class of 4th graders in Santa Ana, CA.  I put together a bag full of supplies for each student, and also gave extra supplies to each classroom teacher for them to pull from and use during the school year.  In addition, I was able to provide the staff each school with some new and/or gently used office supplies that were donated, including copy paper, binders, wire racks, paper clips, and pencils.

Art journaling kits provided: 90 (45 for each class)
Boxes of assorted supplies: 10
Boxes of office supplies:10

Over 60 students received the gift of art and art journaling instruction, and because the teachers received extra kits for new students that may come into their classes even more children will benefit from this program.

Each kit contained the following (and more!):

  • art journal with unlined pages
  • decorative & patterned paper
  • card stock
  • 3 fabric squares
  • 1 doily
  • aluminum foil
  • punchinella (aka sequin waste)
  • four types of joss paper
  • 1 tag
  • mini ink pad
  • paper punch
  • scissors
  • 2 glue sticks
  • ribbon
  • crayons
  • stickers
  • playing cards
  • glassine envelopes
  • cancelled postage stamps

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How The Two Classes Went

I taught in Ontario on December 9, 2011, and in Santa Ana on January 13, 2012.  My experience in each class was similar: wonderful!  The kids were curious, excited, and engaged. They were intrigued by the examples of art journaling that I shared (I brought my 13 completed art journals with me), and when they received their art journal kits they were over the moon!

They oohed, aahed, and had a great time looking through the supplies in their kits.  Soon they were busy creating, and they happily worked to complete the two art journal pages I assigned – a “favorite things” page, and a page of collage.  Many also worked on customizing the blank, white front and back covers of their journals.

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Similar Materials, Varied & Wonderful Results

One of my favorite things about teaching, aside from nurturing the children’s creativity, self-esteem, and overall educational experience, is seeing the way each child works through the creative process.  Though they all receive the same types of materials, each child has their own style and they invariably use the materials in clever ways that often surprise me.

Art journaling develops their brains and hearts in wonderful ways.  They solve design problems as they execute their artistic ideas, and they develop fine motor skills as they cut, glue, draw, wrap, and punch. They don’t realize this, of course. To them it’s just fun!

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Up Next?  Two Art Journal Shows!
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I’ll be returning to each classroom at the end of the school year to celebrate the work the children have done with an Art Journal Show.  Parents, other classes, and school administrators will be invited to come and see the art the kids have created, and I can’t wait to see their work.

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THANK YOU
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The teachers, students, and administrators at both schools are so thankful for the instruction and materials, and I certainly couldn’t make this happen on my own.  Thank you to all who donated supplies, gift cards, and funds, and to the three wonderful ladies who helped me assemble the art journal packets.  I’d also like thank my hubby for helping me wrangle boxes, and for helping in many other ways!

I recently received thank you letters from the class I taught last month.  Here are a few excerpts:

Thank you for all the supplies.  I could never afford all of that for our class.  Thank you for the art journals and the art journals lesson.”
V.B.

You helped me to express my feelings.  And you helped me to cheer up crying sad times.”
T. M

That was the best day of my life.  Thank you for teaching us how to do collage and art.  I loved the stuff you gave us.
D.S.

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Until Next Time…
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I’ll be sure to post about the two Art Journal Shows at the end of the school year.  In the meantime I’m accepting donations on a year-round basis, so if you’re inspired to send some art supplies you aren’t using or a gift card, please contact me for my mailing address.  I’ll be teaching art journaling each school year, and would love to teach two classrooms of children (or more!) again next year.  Thank you for your consideration!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Art Supply Drive: Thank You & Friendly Reminder

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Happy Tuesday!  I hope this blog post finds you well and happy.  Today’s post is a both a thank you and a friendly reminder.

First up, THANK YOU: I’m sending out a big thanks to all those who have sent donations for my Art Supply Drive for at-risk public school children.  You’ve made my heart happy, and I know the kids will be utterly thrilled, too.  They get so much out of the donated supplies and the art journaling class – thank you for helping me to help them!

Next, a friendly reminder: If you’re interested in helping, but haven’t yet mailed your donation, there’s still time!  Though my “deadline” for the Art Supply Drive is November 6th, I’m happy to accept donations beyond that date.  There is such need that I can’t (and won’t) turn donations away, so please email me today and help give the gift of art journaling and positive self-expression to children that desperately need it.

Here’s a link to my initial call for art supplies, in case you missed the first post.  It includes a bit about my art journaling program and a wish list of things I gather for the children. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

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Again – thank you to all the generous souls who have already donated!
My heart is full of gratitude…

Warm regards,
Melody

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Art Supply Drive! Please lend a hand…

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The new school year is well under way, and I’m hoping you’ll help me make a difference in the lives of over 35 at-risk public school students by participating in my art supply drive!  I’ll be teaching art journaling to these children soon, and though I donate my time and some supplies, I can’t afford to provide all they need on my own.  Whether you choose to donate supplies, gift cards, or funds, all donations are both crucial and most appreciated!

Please watch this brief video to learn a bit about my program.  Just over a minute long, the video was made at the end of the last school year, and features some of the artwork from last year’s students.

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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.

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Wish List

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:

Monetary Donations in any amount

Gift Cards for Michaels, Target, Big Lots, or Office Max in any amount – even “remaining amounts”, like $4.73!

Supplies – I’d love to receive the following in quantities of 45, but will happily accept whatever you’d like to send:

Glue sticks
Children’s scissors
Crayons – Crayola packs of 8
Cardstock – any color assortments welcome (12″ x 12″ or smaller)
Patterned paper – any assortments welcome (12″ x 12″ or smaller)
Tags
Small envelopes
Paper doilies
Playing cards in different designs, shapes and colors
Mini ink pads – assorted colors
Loteria packs (Mexican Bingo)
Pencils – unsharpened
Ballpoint Pens
Stickers
Alphabet stickers
Glassine envelopes
Ribbon – at least ½” wide, please
Die cut shapes
Cancelled postage stamps
Fabric – fat quarters or other smaller pieces, please

You may also send assorted arts and craft supplies, which will be put into a “mush pot” for the classroom teacher and children to pull from!

Donation Deadline

Though I accept donations on an ongoing basis, I’d love to receive donations for this year’s class by November 6, 2011.  This will allow me enough time to shop for the remaining items I need and assemble the packs for the students before heading into the classroom.

Please contact me through this site’s contact page if you would like to donate and/or have any questions. Thank you for your consideration!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Art Journal Show for my 2010-2011 Students!

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As many of you know, I volunteer-teach art journaling to at-risk elementary school children.  And though I’m not a non-profit (yet) and the project is grassroots and on a smaller scale, it makes a big difference in the lives of my students.  There is absolutely no money for art supplies (the class didn’t even have scissors to use before my first visit to the classroom) so this supplemental program made a huge difference in the educational and artistic experience of over 32 children.

A Brief Overview

I gather donations and supplies in the fall, and 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.

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A FANTASTIC Art Journal Show!

As with past years, this year’s art journal show was a huge success.  The kids were so proud and excited to share, and they’d all done wonderful work in their journals! Parents, other classes, teachers, and school administrators attended the show, and at the end of the day I awarded each student a Certificate of Achievement for their participation in the art journaling program.

I’m including some photos from our May 13th art show in this post, but never share photos that show the children’s faces for their privacy and safety, so please imagine a class full of happy and excited 10 and 11 year-olds!

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THANK YOU!

I’d like to send out an enormous thanks to all those who donated supplies and funds for this year’s class.  I thank you, the classroom teacher I worked with thanks you, and the children thank you.  In fact, I heard dozens and dozens of thank you’s from the children – both in person and in thank you letters.  Here are a few excerpts from letters I received from my students:

“Thank you for donating the art journal.  I think it is lots of fun.  I can spill my feelings into it.  I like all the art supplies.  I like the art journal because I can be creative and passionate.”

Kianha R.

“Can you tell every person who donated thank you?”

Alyssa M.

“Thanks for showing us how to do real art!  I thought art was only drawing but you showed us all another type of art.  I have never thought a book can help that much.”

Bryan B.

“I enjoyed the art experience and the art journals and I would like to thank the people that made it happen.”

Kia G.

“I will do art journaling for the rest of my life.”

Trayvon D.

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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 to 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 poverty and abuse, 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 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.

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What’s Next?

I’m already planning my 2011-2012 class, and would love to expand my program to teach two classrooms full of students: one at my existing school in San Bernardino County, and one closer to home – preferably in Santa Ana, CA.  If you’d like to help these at-risk elementary students, please consider donating funds, gift cards, or supplies.  Gift cards to places like Michaels, Office Max, and Target are most helpful.

You may also donate physical supplies in quantities of 45 (like scissors, glue sticks, 8-color packs of crayons, etc.) or items from your art supply stash that can go into a “mush pot”.  Please email me via this website’s contact page if you have questions and/or would like to donate.  Even a $5 donation makes a big difference in the lives of these children, and I thank you for your consideration.

In closing, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the artistic accomplishments of this year’s students.  They did great work, and everyone gets an “A” for effort and enthusiasm!

Warm regards,
Melody

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