"The artist's world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep." ~Paul Strand
Thoughts from Northside Team Leader - Julia
Hi all! In addition to being a mentor with Free Arts, I am also an intern. Both experiences have been a nice compliment to one another as they allow me to connect on a personal level with youth and understand the overall picture of this organization.
As a mentor, I feel I've made a difference for my kids, but it is sometimes hard to remember the big picture of this amazing organization. Until recently, I hadn’t visited sites where Free Arts works besides Northside, where I mentor. Free Arts sites vary tremendously; some being transitional housing programs, residential treatment centers and schools modeled on various therapies (art being one of them!). From these visits, the differences are more visible than ever. Measures are needed to adapt curriculum, introductions and rituals based on the unique needs of each site. What we all have in common is that we are all volunteers doing the same thing: Being caring, thoughtful and reliable adults in the lives of the kids Free Arts serves. It is most rewarding to see the dynamics of each group working with the unique characteristics of their site. For some who are still struggling to find the best way to reach their youth, remember that your efforts and resiliency are seen by site staff and youth! For my mentorship group, developing a rhythm was vital, and the following is an idea that we used to close each session and for you to try.
At the end of each session, each child gets the opportunity to write one word on a poster (8”x10”) that relates to the day’s project. This word can be an emotion, medium, theme or topic. Week after week the words layer upon one another and eventually create a masterpiece. Our group of volunteers decided to frame and give the word wall to our kids as a memory of the Free Arts session. In addition, it encourages another art form that is less traditional. It can be challenging sometimes as kids are afraid to write over other words, but as the layers build, it takes on a life of its own! Feel free to try it out during this session or I encourage you to develop your own way to allow the children to take something with them!
We owe a big thank you to Jeanette for leading improv games at January mentor training. It is talented volunteers like Jeanette that make our program as strong and successful as it is.
Also, we would like to express our appreciation to Colle+McVoy for allowing us to use their wonderful space for our training!
Team leads: Please fill out your weekly survey! These surveys are critical to Free Arts and allow us to document how many children we are helping. Bring a small notepad and write down the information you will need for the survey. This survey should not take longer than 10 minutes per week and it will provide Free Arts with valuable information. You will find the survey on the website under the volunteer section, or by following this link.