News Updates

ERLH Teen Directs New Art Club

Published on April 20th, 2017 in Fair Share Housing Development

At the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, 11th grade Ethel Lawrence resident Kayla Thurston asked if she could run an Art Club at the Margaret Donnelly O’Connor Education Center. Without knowing what that would entirely entail, I immediately gave her the go-ahead with an adamant, “Yes”! She went on to describe it as a once-a-month art/craft activity on Fridays (when there is little to no homework). Kayla’s goal was not only for our children to channel their inner artist, but also to incorporate therapeutic elements into the activities. Kayla is naturally a very talented artist, however knowledge about a specific topic doesn’t always translate into the ability to teach these skills. A combination of knowledge and expertise on the subject, as well as teaching skills/values such as encouraging active learning, patience, adaptation, and communication are crucial to be a successful teacher. After discussing these challenges, Kayla insisted she was up to the task. And that is exactly what has transpired.

The Art Club days have been a huge success, something the kids look forward to each month. It is certainly important for our education center to serve as an academic resource, but social and emotional development are also crucial. At the inaugural Friday Art Club, Kayla led our children to create Vision Boards, where they could think about their goals and dreams, and create a tangible record of them. This is a perfect example of art enabling us to express what cannot always be said in words. In the subsequent sessions, our children made group and/or individual crafts relating to Fall, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The group crafts also helped provide decorations for our Fall Festival and Breakfast With Santa events.

When asked about how she thought our children’s experience thus far has been, and what the success of her Art Club has been, Kayla responded: “I believe everyone is artistic. I just wanted to be the one to bring it out.”

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