Wednesday, March 2, 2011
My dear friend has a project on the go that she could really use your help in getting going. Please read below for project details and if you can help her I am certain she would deeply appreciate it. Here's what she says about it;
What started this project?
I have been so busy trying to get this up and going, that I have missed giving some important information. For example, what made me do this exactly.
The short answer:
It is a school project, but not. Really, it is so much more to me than that.
The long answer:
I have been wanting to do more collaborative and community-based art for a while now. I hadn't found the time until I was told that I needed to do a final art project as a response to my position as a counseling and art therapy intern at a community youth center that provides free counseling programs and recreational programs to the underprivileged children, youth and their families in a Colorado city.
The youth I am working with now often have labels attached to them - delinquent, rebellious, troubled, gangbanger, at-risk, etc. There has been numerous studies that refer to the perpetuating results that these labels have on the kids. Often the kids are not given a chance because it is assumed they would fail anyway.
In general, it seems that the large community is quick to judge or point out problems in "those" kids and separate into "us/them" or "other" rather than look at the larger picture of "we" as a community. I would like to see a social reframing where we reclaim the idea that "it takes a village."
There are many instances where there are positive community interactions that help shape individuals' lives for the better. My work as an art therapist is an obvious form of this. But there are others, many others. From other mentor roles of teachers and coaches who take that extra step to show support, give guidance, and really listen to the stranger that offers kindness and consideration. This is where my focus is. I would like this project to show just how influential these positive interactions are.
Since the project, in part, is for school, it will be briefly mentioned in my thesis, which focuses on the community involvement in children's lives. The finished journal will be on display when I give my oral presentation to the counseling and art therapy department of my school.
The other reasons I am doing this project are (1) because I fully believe that these sorts of reflections are beneficial for me and those of you who join me. It is important to remember the positive influences in our lives - I have found, personally, that many of those people that I really am grateful for are people that I am not in touch with and may not have ever thanked properly. For some of these individuals I am able to take this opportunity to remember to thank them. Which seems like a mutually beneficial and heart warming experience that both they and I enjoy. Some individuals are people I didn't know that well or don't know how to track down - none the less, I am reminded of how lucky I am to have had them positively influence my life. I feel so fortunate when I think of all the friends, teachers, and coaches that were positive role models. I am able to reflect that without them I may have not survived quite so well in the world. I could have easily gone down much more difficult paths that would have made it difficult to attain the goals I am so proud to have accomplished.
(2) my role as a social advocate as a therapist - it is my goal to have others also recognize where they have come from, what or whom as eased their struggles, and to recognize that sometimes it is the small things that make a big difference in the long run. With this realization there is the hope that they will pass it forward. That little by little we can change the injustices we see in the world around us. That even in small acts, we can make a difference, even if it is in just one life. I truly believe that everyone has the potential to make the world a better place - and it is up to each and everyone of us to fulfill that potential.
(3) this project is also a bit selfish of me. There are times I come home exhausted and overwhelmed from all the negative emotions that I have dealt with at internship. There are also days where I feel such indescribable joy. However, on the days where I am exhausted and overwhelmed, reflections that this project encourages, reminds me that there is hope. There is hope that some of the kids I work with will not deal with such significant injustices their entire lives; there is hope that maybe, just maybe, I can make a positive difference in the lives; there is hope that they will not just survive their childhood and adolescence but thrive thanks to the countless others who have taken the time to do the small but meaningful acts that are reminders that they are worthy, loved, and full of potential.
Here is where you can help:
1. Art journal about a community member(s) that has positively influenced your life. This could be a teacher, student, coach, neighbor, a stranger, anyone that is not related to you. Your interaction(s) could have occurred at any point in your life. Your journaling may be about one person or many; one interaction or many. Your journaling can be on as many pages as you would like, but should include at least one spread to fit inside of a altered composition notebook, measuring 9.5 x 7.5 inches
2. Do one good deed that you would not usually do. Art journal about that experience. Again - feel free to do more than one kind act and journal about each one, but at least do one accompanied by a journal page. The page(s) should also fit inside of the altered composition notebook measuring 9.5x7.5 inches.
Complete both these directives anytime from now until March 31, 2011.
On or before March 31 please mail your pages to:
423 South Dover Avenue
Lafayette, Colorado 80026
Thank you for your participation in this project! You can reach Phoenix' blog HERE!
Hugs and blessings to you all
Posted by Kelly Watts at 11:52 AM