Our Children

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Every day in every program we see changes: an increase in eye contact; more substantive participation; a deep belly laugh from a quiet corner.  We see a reduction in wandering and fidgety behavior.  The quiet ones talk. Children encourage one another.

Each child brings his or her own immediate goals and desires to the program.  The aim of the Power of Art is not to create artists, it is much more powerful and significant to identify what each child wants out of the program. For example, early in the program,*Charlie is intent on mastering the use of scissors. He is investigating control over paper and pipe cleaners, and learning limitations of cutting pencils and pens. *Micah wants only to make aliens, every single week.  He feels empowered by deciding the direction to take his project.

We have observed even more substantive growth over the course of the program.



Lily was initially introduced to us as very shy...
Lily was initially introduced to us as very shy.  In short order, we found Lily would express her emotions through coloring, quite forcefully in fact.  Not necessarily comfortable verbally articulating her feeling, Lily would grasp 5 or 6 crayons in her hands and draw squiggles and lines with full arm circles filling the page with her “words”.  Always an active listener in program, she is able to find her “voice” and be an effective communicator.

Adian never quite felt like he fit in...
Not into typical boy stuff, *Adian never quite felt like he fit in. In the small group setting, where creativity is valued and coloring outside the lines is supported, he found his place.  His eyes sparkled with delight when he was encouraged to add glitter and feathers to his mask.  He sang and danced and acted the part of his free spirited jungle animal. Adian is learning to accept himself without judgment. He is free to be happy, excited and confident about participating in the arts.


After severe neglect in her early years...
After severe neglect in her early years, Laura compulsively desired food.  For her, the fear that she could go hungry was very real. However,  her persistent quest for food interrupted her ability to participate and interact with others.  Recognizing her fear and working with her family, Barnstone made it possible for Laura to choose from a selection of healthy snacks at any time as often as she needed throughout the program. Giving Laura decision making control over the food  alleviated her concern over being hungry, freeing her to spend more time participating with group in the art activities.
We can’t say with any certainty that an adolescent *Lily will be use her “voice” to prevent an unwanted teen pregnancy and go on to express her feelings in a public forum; or that *Aidan will avoid drugs and alcohol, finish high school and dance his way into his dream of stardom; perhaps one day *Laura will become a nutritionist and teach sustainable farming to inner city youths.


*The stories are direct from our program. Children’s names and photos have been changed in accordance with our policy on confidentiality.