A few weeks ago I was sat with the children in our centre, it was a Tuesday afternoon when they have an art workshop with two of our volunteers. I was sat pretending to colour in a picture, but really watching the children around me. I am creative and artistic by nature and it always brings me joy to watch children express themselves artistically. As I watched, something caught my attention.
One of the boys, Jonathan, was tapping his marker to spay ink on his picture the way you might with a paint brush. He was creating beautiful splatters of colour across the image of a peacock. It was such a simple thing, he wasn’t doing it because he had been told to or taught how to. He wasn’t doing it for extra attention or praise. He was simply expressing himself through art, trying something new and seeing how it looked. This moment spoke to my soul. I knew him and his brother to be very gentle and creative boys. This confirmed it for me.
I can imagine a teacher in school stopping a child in a moment like this. Telling them that is not how we use markers, or to colour within the lines. I was never one to be restricted by lines and rules, especially when art was concerned. I told him how beautiful his picture looked and how much I liked how he had used the markers. He blushed and said thank you.
I was left inspired.
I had already been thinking a lot about exploring art and creativity workshops and I have been reading about art therapy too. So, after an encouraging conversation with Dunc and with the new space we have at Casa Alexis, our protection home and future second mentoring centre, I decided to start with Jonathan and his brother Freddy. I made them personalised invitations to a morning of art and creativity. I planned an activity where they could try new mediums and have space to simply create.
So far, we have been able to have two sessions of art and creativity together and it has been such a huge joy and blessing for me and them, I hope.
I have seen them open up creatively and express themselves in new ways and they are truly very talented. It is great to see them using new types of medium and just as a duck takes to water it comes naturally to them both.
How amazing is it that as part of my ‘job’ I get to help children explore their creativity and learn new artistic skills? Children that normally don’t even get a fair shot at school never mind extra activities like this. But through Street Kids Direct they not only get a much better education and support with homework, but they also get noticed for their talents and are given opportunities to grow and learn more.
This kind of thing right here speaks to my soul.