Number of Participants: 6
Hours Donated: 4
Value of Time Served: $203
Event Type: Poverty & Homelessness
Date: February 13, 2018
Bellmore–Merrick Central High School District
Fifteen art students in Carissa Roche’s classes at John F. Kennedy High School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central School District volunteered to participate in charitable art mission that aims to affect children halfway across the globe.
Students drew or painted the portraits of 15 Syrian refugee children for the nonprofit organization, Memory Project.
“The portraits will be delivered back to the Syrian children, then we will receive a video of the children receiving the artwork, seeing firsthand the joy it brings them,” Roche explained.
For the students, it is an opportunity to creatively practice kindness and global awareness. For the Syrian children, the portraits help them feel valued and important, while also receiving a keepsake for years to come.
Students in grades 9-12 participated on a volunteer basis. There was no reward other than “knowing they were doing something kind to create a positive memory for someone less fortunate,” Roche explained. “I am very proud of the students who chose to participate in a selfless act to bring a little joy to underprivileged children who they will never know or meet,” said Roche.
“It was worth being able to put a smile on their faces by recreating them on a paper,” said sophomore Gianna Venero.
Since March 2011, conflict has devastated Syria, gravely affecting millions of children.
“As we went through this process of creating the portraits, we became very intimate with the children’s faces. As you look directly into their eyes, you know you are taking part in something special,” added Roche.
Students couldn’t help but think about their subjects’ struggles.
“It is powerful knowing what I could do with a piece of paper and some colored pencils,” said junior Renata Davi. “Maybe the little girl that I drew has a bigger story than we all know.”
Photo caption: Teacher Carissa Roche (right) with nine of the 15 art students who participated in the Memory Project.
Photos courtesy of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District