Monday, April 6, 2015

Hi from Laura!

I’m Laura, a new volunteer for Art Relief International! For the past 5 months I’ve been living and teaching in Sukhothai, Thailand. In my time here, I have learned a lot about this wonderful country I have come to love. I have always believed in the healing power of art, so I am very excited to spend a week as an *independent volunteer with ARI!

Ever since I was young, I’ve always been interested in making art. My experiences visiting different museums and learning the history behind the pieces led me to study Art History and Visual Arts at Fordham University. 

Since I was a sophomore in college, I have been volunteering with Free Arts NYC, a non-profit arts mentoring organization that works with underserved families and children in New York City. Free Arts NYC uses educational arts and mentoring programs as way to help channel these children’s energies into positive self-expression, resiliency, and confidence building, while also using art as a vehicle to develop stronger communication and problem-solving skills within families. Volunteering with Free Arts NYC completely changed my career path and my goals. I saw various families and children completely change their moods from the beginning of the session to the end of the session, because they felt a sense of pride and accomplishment in what they had created. 

I know how important it is to have the opportunity to creatively express oneself, and I am really looking forward to seeing how art inspires the participants in the workshops at ARI!

*Independent volunteers are volunteers who are already in Thailand and therefore do not require a volunteer package deal. They generally have their own accomodation and insurance and bring their own food to work. Instead of a package, they join the Art Relief Program for a minimum of one week for a small fee, but still get to plan and faclitate art workshops with our numerous partner organisations. Thanks Laura for joining us for the week!