|the two deer I painted in the mural|
First thing's first. I have 5 more hours to add to my list of volunteering. Recently, in honor of Earth Day, I was able to participate in an awesome project organized through my company. We went to a local middle school where about half of the volunteers spent time planting trees and gardening and the other half worked on a mural on the school's wall with the help of a local artist. So much fun. Having planted trees for Volunteer Day before, I opted to paint since it's also one of my hobbies.
I will say, I was a little nervous I'd mess up since it was going to be a permanent fixture at this school, but the artist who drew out the general lines of the mural was awesome and gave great tips on the overall look that he had in mind. He drew the entire thing out as a tribute to local plants, animals and water sources in our area and then gave us some photographs as inspiration.
After working on a small section of sky, I was into it and decided to jump in further. I grabbed some paints and decided to tackle the nearby deer in the painting. Not going to lie, I love how they turned out! The artist actually sent me an email recently and told me that the section of mural where my deers are is the teachers' favorite and he said he may contact me in the future to help him out on future mural projects in the area. So awesome!
It was a lot of fun in general, combining some of my favorite things: art, nature and volunteering. Not to mention that it wasn't too shabby getting to spend half of the work day outdoors painting. :)
Continuing on with the volunteering trend - last night was The Big Show for my group of Young Storytellers (http://youngstorytellers.com). So so so much fun. It's always such a great experience seeing the kids we work with each week have their scripts come alive on stage by so many talented improv actors. Each script is SO different, which just goes to show that individuality starts early. It's such a nice break from my regular schedule to spend an hour each week with an awesome group of 4th graders. The stuff they come up with is nothing short of inspiring at times.
A cool thing for me was that my mentee from last semester and the one I currently have are best friends. This is just completely by chance since we are paired up at random, but it's pretty adorable. The boy I had last semester came and helped his friend (my mentee now) make his poster advertising his show and hung out with us before the event began. He stayed and cheered his buddy on and it was really cute.
|past and present "mentees" working on show posters|
Another thing that never ceases to amaze me though is how very, very different boys and girls already are at this age. I mean, these kids are only 10! The boys are writing about action and sports and monsters and wars...while the girls are writing about relationships and animals and school scenarios. Both fun and unique in their own way, but oh so very different. Not to mention that the girls show up on performance day in cute dresses with their hair brushed and the boys come looking like they just rolled around in the dirt. I made my kid wash up in the bathroom before I let him put grubby fingerprints on the freshly typed scripts I'd made. ;)
I oddly am always paired with a boy and since our selection process is randomized, this is just coincidence. I kind of love it though because it often alters how I think about things because I want their story to be their own. If I'm trying to help my kid work through an idea that he has, I definitely prompt him to go with his gut because my initial responses to his ideas are in no way similar to what he eventually comes up with. And that in itself is pretty awesome I think.
Case in point: the setting is a snowy day in LA.
- Brittney thinks this must be a major plot point, I mean, blizzards aren't standard practice around these parts and so that must mean something crazy is about to happen.
- For Justin on the other hand, it is plainly obvious that the snow is just setting and provides food for his main character...a snowplow.
If I had brought my own experiences and knowledge to the table, I would have influenced his story and by doing that, changed what turned out to be a sweet and humorous story. Granted, I will say I helped him add some conflict and solution to his script, but only by asking him questions that led to his eventual decisions as the author.
Anyway, point is, so fun to go out of your comfort zone every now and then.
You'll always be surprised what you can learn when you do.