2017 DCEF Teacher Mini-Grant was given by The Dr. Lon Morgan Family to Tonya James, a teacher at North Davidson High School. Ms. James was awarded with a surprise presentation in her classroom on November 8th. The winning grant was titled, “The Memory Project-Making Memories With Children Around The World”. The grant is sponsored for teachers to use to supplement their usual classroom learning targets. We were able to do 25 portraits. I had heard about this organization, Memory Project the year before but did not have the funds to actually commit to doing it. They are a non-profit organization that is headquartered in Wisconsin. The invite art teachers and their students to create and donate portraits to youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents, violence, and poverty. The organization provided us with photographs of children from Russia who live in orphanages. My students chose their photograph and then each student decided how to create the portrait. They chose their own medium, ranging from graphite to color pencil, pen and ink, watercolors and acrylics. Once the portraits were completed we mailed them to the organization who then sent them to the children. A video was made of the children receiving their portraits. My students were so excited to see their “child” receive the artwork made just for them. We watched the video over and over, pausing whenever someone wanted a longer look at “their child”. It was an emotional moment as my students were invested in these children and got to see their artwork impact a child in a different country. Many students shared the video with their parents and other teachers. It was my hope for this project to promote kindness and to help these young people understand they can make a difference in the life of another person. The NDHS students who did these portraits are in the Proficient Honors and Advanced Honors Art classes and were able to see how they can use their talents and gifts in a positive, beneficial way.
See the video here.