The presence of creative expression in ones life can make a difference in almost all aspects of their life experience. How one feels emotionally and even physically can be changed through the process of making art. The physical motion of manipulating a pencil, crayon, or paintbrush is enabling youth to practice and refine motor schools. Art can effetely help to teach other subjects such as math, reading, and writing. Beyond that, creative expression through art making can boost self confidence and encourage creative and independent thinking, as well as encourage young people to have the ability to process their world and understand the emotions they feel.


Kelly, our volunteer teaches art in Casa Segura


My time giving art workshops with the youth from Casa Segura helped me to learn a lot of process and how our brains function differently. The workshops started off with high energy but, maybe to a fault at times.


In the beginning, it was about finishing the project very quick and usually keeping it simple, utilizing only one color and leaving a lot of negative space. As the workshops went on I wanted to see the students give a little more time to their projects, so I began to give more colors they needed to use and more objects they needed to draw. I began to see a difference in process. It was no longer about speed to get it done but, so they could do another one. In the later workshops some students made 3-6 different versions of the prompts I gave.


I’m so utterly blown away by these students. Their willingness to let me guide them was admirable and in turn they guided me, showing me different ways to execute images I had imagined a certain way. It was just a reminder there is no ‘correct’ way to make art, it is produced, and it is art. My workshop students at Casa Segura showed great passion and determination.


Kelly helps a young girl from the orphanage


I think the most memorable project was one where I asked my students to draw 100 shoes. They were shocked. Mouths open, in denial. But I assured them yes, I wanted 100 different shoes, no two shoes could be the exact same. Although only one student in the workshop actually completed drawing 100 hundred shoes, it proved to be one of the best workshops. I watched as two students worked together really focusing on the shape of shoes, while another, one of the youngest, made me take her hand and draw simple shoe shapes to later push me away so she could do it herself. Three threw away the 100 shoe idea and instead drew big chanclas with colorful patterns.


Everyone is thinking about what they will draw


It is my hope these classes continue and only expand into other subjects. Art is the perfect base to launch off of when trying to learn about something or learn a skill. Art can be utilized when teaching about math, language, sexual reproductive health, the environment, and many more subjects that are crucial to the minds of the youth. 


Kelly Sandoval