Serving Arizona State University Online Since 1995  Current Issue: Thursday, October 06, 2005



STUDENT MEDIA LINKS








SEARCH
FEATURES
LINKS

 

 

Extra Coverage: 'The children in my group were not as different as I expected'

 by Stephanie Berger
 published on Thursday, October 6, 2005

<em>Photo courtesy of Free Arts of Arizona</em><br>
Free Arts of Arizona is a non-profit organization that organizes art programs for children in the foster care system. Free Arts runs a day camp every summer to teach kids about different cultures. Here, one camper shows off his macaroni horse./issues/arts/694254
Photo courtesy of Free Arts of Arizona
Free Arts of Arizona is a non-profit organization that organizes art programs for children in the foster care system. Free Arts runs a day camp every summer to teach kids about different cultures. Here, one camper shows off his macaroni horse.
 

advertisement

A 15-year-old girl paints a long, white PVC pipe with pink and green stripes. She adds melted wax to the top and blows across it. She has created a didgeridoo, an Australian instrument that is usually made from wood hollowed out by termites.

The girl is a participant in Free Arts of Arizona's Multicultural Arts Camp, a weeklong program that immerses her in hip-hop dance, Japanese Taiko drumming and art projects from multiple cultures. But she is not like a typical girl attending a summer day camp.

When camp is over for the day, she will return to the residential treatment center where she is receiving counseling for drug addiction and alcoholism.

Free Arts of Arizona is a non-profit organization that provides art programs for children who come from treatment centers, group homes and shelters. Some of the children have been removed from their families due to abuse and neglect. Others still live with one parent in a domestic violence shelter or both parents in a homeless shelter.

All of them have experienced traumas that the average child has never faced. Free Arts of Arizona seeks to provide healing and growth through artistic outlets, with the belief that artistic expression can foster self-esteem, positive emotions and beneficial social skills.

I have volunteered at Free Arts' Multicultural Arts Camp during the past two summers.

The camp offers dance, music and art classes to children ages 12 to 17 for the first week, and ages 7 to 11 for the second. It serves more than 50 kids each week, with the children divided into teams based on their age group.

This past summer, I was a volunteer for the yellow group. My group had 15-year-olds the first week and 8-year-olds the second.

The children in my group were not as different as I expected. Just like most kids, some of them are hyperactive, some are shy. Some don't want to try anything without watching the other kids in their group do it first, while others plunge right into activities.

The difference is that to these children camp provides a level of attention that they don't normally receive. These kids are thrilled to have the choice of an orange marker over a blue marker, because at home, they don't have the opportunity to make their own decisions.

Some of these kids have never had anyone care enough about them to give them the one-on-one attention they need to thrive.

Free Arts gives these children the opportunity to express themselves. Whether it's coloring black spots on a 3-D poster board puppy, or learning a simple, choreographed dance, Free Arts gives them a chance to see that they are creative individuals who deserve the respect and recognition of others.

I can only hope that over time this message stays with these children through whatever difficult experiences they encounter.

Reach the reporter at stephanie.m.berger@asu.edu.



Print This Story, click here

Sponsors
RC Helicopters


Copyright 2001-06, ASU Web Devil. All rights reserved. No reprints without permission.

Online Editor In Chief: Jolie McCullough | Online Adviser: Jason Manning | Technical Contact: Jason Wulf

Contact Info | Privacy Policy