From the Field
This past month, there were TWO volunteers, Zoey and Amanda, who arrived separately to help out at the Resource Center by leading fun activities for the kids concerning Emotional Expression Through Art and Graphic Design/Typography respectively. Each activity they have lead has been great artistic and mental stimulation for the kids. It has been a joy for us to watch the creativity flow.
Zoey’s big project with the kids was to design a creature that embodies an emotion–positive or negative–and place that creature into a landscape that will react to the creature’s presence based on the emotion it represents. Then the kids were to create a short, stop-motion video of what their creature decides to do in that strange environment. Other projects she has done so far have all been based around expressing oneself through color, texture, art form and medium, and in thinking with the right-side of the brain.
Amanda is striving to open the children’s eyes to the incredible world of graphic design, where the only limit is your own hesitation to dream big and wide. Graphic design permeates almost every aspect of public life–from logos on shirts to brand designs on every product imaginable. Website design, typography (the creating of font styles), and the digitizing of an image to be manipulated in programs like Photoshop are all ways to engage in graphic arts. We are very excited to see what else she is going to do with the kids, and we hope the kids are just as excited as us at the opportunity to learn these important skills in this internet-dominated world.
Thai kids do not get many opportunities to think in right-brained ways. This is the enemy for Zoey and Amanda: the kids’ hesitation to explore and take risks in trying new ways of communicating their inner selves to the rest of the world; the cultural barriers in communication, the unimaginative patterns of behavior which the kids are expected to follow day-to-day at home and school, and the difficulty in understanding how to abstractly express emotions and self. Whether or not every single kid enjoys each activity, their brains are being exercised and challenged in important ways each time they participate, and they are stretching their ability to express themselves in new and unique forms.
Zoey and Amanda have brought these opportunities of creativity and imagination to our kids, and we are so grateful to them. Even after they leave, the final results will not be fully realized. For example, Zoey plans to take the stop-motion videos to show off to the public in New York. The kids’ artwork will also be shared on our website. We hope both our viewers and the kids will get more and more excited about the role artistic expression is taking in the lives of our students.
Our hope is that these “seeds” will grow and influence our kids to continue use the artistic skills they have learned this past month to do amazing things in the future for themselves and in their communities–for business, as a hobby, or a way to share something beautiful about humanity in general–if we as the staff and volunteers have inspired them to express themselves in powerful and impactful ways, that is the greatest success we can hope for.