Looks Bright: Orphans receive gift of self
Published 12:10 am Saturday, August 15, 2015
EDGARD — West St. John High School National Art Honor Society members recently helped children in Ghana gain a sense of self for the second year in row.
The students teamed up with The Memory Project to send hand-made portraits to an orphanage.
The Memory Project creates portraits for children anywhere in the world who have faced substantial hardship and have few personal keepsakes to call their own, according to their website.
Photos of orphans are sent to art teachers. The students paint the portraits and send them in, and then the Memory Project delivers the portraits in person. They also take a photo of the child holding their personal portrait.
Portraits aren’t the only things local art students sent to the orphans in Ghana. Students were able to donate $90 of their participation fees to support education at the orphanage.
“The Memory Project sent me an informational flyer through the mail and I felt that this project was one way in which my students could truly make a positive impact in other people’s lives,” Deanna Larmeu Edenfield the National Art Honor Society sponsor said.
According to Edenfield the National Art Honor Society and Art Club students worked on the portraits intermittently. It took about a month for everyone to complete the portraits.
“Sometimes we would work after school during club time,” Edenfield said.
“Some of the students were enrolled in my art classes so I allowed them to work in my class.”
The students also worked on the portraits at home. Students who participated in the project were Kira Armant, Christina Holmes, Briana Grayman, Lorynn Valdez, Kasia Lewis and Kidric Gray.
“It was a nice gesture,” 12th grader Christina Holmes said. “It was also extremely heartwarming to see the joy in every child’s face.”
Holmes’ portrait was of a 7 or 8-year-old boy named Henry.
“Just knowing that this will brighten the children’s day, maybe even their week, is my favorite part of this entire project,” Holmes said.
Getting a hand-painted portrait might be a once in a lifetime experience for the orphans.
“I think the portraits help [the orphans] through a difficult time in their life,” Edenfield said. “They bring joy and a constant reminder of their childhood during a time when they might have less happiness.”
Having her students participating in this project means a lot to Edenfield.
“The best part of the program is that both my students and the children who receive the portraits take away the reward of love and kindness,” Edenfield said.
— By Raquel Derganz Baker