Making a Visible Difference

Don't ever kid yourself that you can't make a difference. I can't think of anything that takes so very little effort and results in a payback of such momentous proportions. My 'efforts' involve nothing more than putting the word out on social media (Nextdoor, Facebook Buy Nothing, etc.) for used art supplies. The supplies flood in when people learn what they're being used for. I pick up the donations, and then distribute them and watch the smiles spread from donor to recipient. It's that simple.

No money changes hands - none is needed. These are items that would likely have wound up in the landfill or remained buried in the bottom of closets.

Because of this small effort, dozens of seniors are now enjoying hobbies and creative freedom they haven't had an opportunity to experience in 20-30 years of displacement from their homes in Bhutan. Over a dozen children displaced from the Democratic Republic of Congo are lighting up with imagination, creative expression, and pride in their own handiwork - thrilled at the chance to use paints and inks to make their marks. Asylees from Afghanistan have the chance to learn new skills of jewelry making with donated supplies, or to expand their opportunity for selling their intricate hand-embroidery with a little guidance and a few computer lessons.

I haven't decided which I love more about this: watching the eagerness of long-time community members welcoming these newcomers with open arms and the sharing of art supplies, or watching the tentative, newly arrived refugees as they suddenly realize these gifts of creative freedom came from their own community of neighbors who accept them so fully. I'd have to say, it's a tie.

 
 This project is supported, in part, by a grant from 4Culture.This project is supported, in part, by a grant from 4Culture.

This project is supported, in part, by a grant from 4Culture.This project is supported, in part, by a grant from 4Culture.