Originally published on drawchange.
In 2011, I happened across a volunteer opportunity for drawchange, a nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering the education of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children by bringing art into their daily lives. Immediately, I was hooked. Fresh out of CAL and eager to put my skills to work for this organization, I initiated a small research project on the therapeutic effects of art for underprivileged children: Art: A Child’s Movement Toward Peace.
While working on the project, I learned about how art is used as a healing agent, a means of psychological support that can help address many anxiety-provoking issues in young children—for instance, adoption or displacement and a sudden immersion into a foreign culture. Art—especially in a communal setting—does provide children with the expressive outlet they need to overcome past traumatic experiences and find internal peace; but more importantly, when artwork is allowed to persist, the creative endeavors of one group of children may go on to inspire creativity in others and so on and so forth, effectively producing an entire generation of little peace-makers. If only children were encouraged to further develop their artistic ingenuity to inspire peace movements as adults!
Continuing with my volunteer efforts, I was given the honor of writing descriptive captions for two fundraising calendars, The Forgotten Angels and My Life in Drawings, and have gone on to manage data for the Costa Rican Child Sponsorship Program. Currently, I volunteer my time as the monthly newsletter editor. From a digital standpoint, it has been a pretty creative, extremely thought-provoking experience that will remain with me for many years to come.