This post is sponsored by State Farm®.
Every once in a while one gets an opportunity to do something that changes the lives of others and in turn, changes one’s own life. The program that I taught over the summer with The RightWay Foundation was one of those experiences. (The RightWay Foundation helps foster youth and emancipated foster youth with job training, job placement and housing. To catch up on this program, go here.) With an often–crazy schedule I had not been making time for community projects. Sure, we do some philanthropy here at Jungalow — and that feels great — but this experience was different. I got to connect with young artists in our community who grew up in the foster system and spend quality time with them, make art with them and then invite our community to come share in our joy and our creativity, buy our art and raise money for a good cause. It’s just not the same as handing over cash.
Last week we hosted the art show and silent auction featuring all the works we created together, and I’m still on a bit of a natural high from the event. So many good people, good vibes and love in the room. In the above pic you can see all the artists (and if you look closely you might see a little elf named Ida hiding under my dress!).
People of all ages, from all walks of life, and from all corners of this sprawling city came out to support, celebrate and meet the artists. My dear friend, Whitney Leigh Morris co-hosted the event (she’s on the board at the foundation) We had a full house.
One of the most moving parts of the evening for me was when one of the artists came up to me and told me that she’d never thought that her art could sell for anything more than $20. Her pieces sold out, and one of them sold for $200. She left the show with a whole new level of confidence in herself as an artist–and that is TRULY priceless – after all she’s only seventeen.
My family came out to support too. Having my mom, dad, sister, grandfather, husband and daughter there was such a clear reminder of all the familial support I’ve had over the years without which I most definitely would not have been able to create a career for myself as an artist. It takes a community.
My heart is so full right now. I’m even a bit choked up now as I type this, because this truly was such a rewarding experience. I plan to continue to work with the RightWay Foundation, and I feel so grateful to State Farm Neighborhood of Good for being the impetus for me to create this program and work with these youth. This is just the beginning for me here. We raised $2600 during the art show, which will be donated back to RightWay.
If you feel motivated to start (or join!) a project in your neighborhood, you can ‘turn caring into doing’ by clicking here and finding folks that could use a helping hand.
With a huge thank you to the artists (Dominque Ross, Briana Spencer, Jhamasa Lewis-Adams, Madison Ramirez, Elemmar Valle, Darlene Ellas!!!) to my team (Bethany, Caitlin, Kristina, Kim!), to The RightWay Foundation (Franco, Thalia!) to Whitney Leigh Morris, to Chris and Gardenia who helped us pull off a smooth event, to Wax Paper for catering, to all who came out to support and purchase art, and to StateFarm for the sponsorship. It’s been totally amazing.
This post has been sponsored by State Farm® – Here to help life go right.® Turn caring into doing and find volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood at Neighborhood of Good.