CoachArt has made it incredibly easy for busy people to find time to become a mentor, teacher and comrade to kids of all ages who are eager to learn something new and make a new friend.
It's not easy to find large chunks of time on the weekends or during the work week to volunteer my time at most organizations, but CoachArt lets me put together my own lesson plan, set up my own schedule with the family with which I'm "matched," and the rest is up to me!
It also is wonderful to express and use talents and skills that I have since had to put on the back burner (painting, collaging, music) and pass it on to a kid who might not ever have had the opportunity to learn it otherwise. Even with some of the kids who are shy or take a bit more time/effort to open up, watching them change week to week makes me feel like I've really done something special for his or her life, and will always be remembered for it.
And possibly the best part: During each session, my "student" has the chance to hang out, chat, paint, draw and learn without any reference or thought toward his or her illness. There's no discussion of it, no incessant "are you OK?" questions, and certainly no opportunity to feel bummed out even for a second. The kids get to feel regular and "normal" and take a break from their everyday lives, and I imagine it's a powerful breath of fresh air for them.
Coach Art is a great organization. I was most interested in participating in the one-on-one coaching sessions. The matching process is difficult, but the staff is flexible and worked with me to make it happen. The girl I am paired with for 10 consecutive weekly photography lessons is great. She was shy at first, but has really come out of her shell during our time together. This is a great organization with real ties to the community. I am proud to be a Coach Art volunteer.
CoachArt helps thousands of children each year by simply giving them a chance to be children. Diseases such as cancer not only hurt the child physically, it interferes with their ability to go to school, enjoy every day activities, and have fun with kids their own age. The volunteers at CoachArt aren't teachers or nurses, but caring young people who just want kids to be kids. My girlfriend and I have been volunteering for six months, and have truly enjoyed teaching photography, trying arts and crafts, but above all just making them laugh!
Coach Art has been an invaluable resource for chronic and terminally ill children to learn and experience the healing, therapeutic, and inspiring of art. Through their programs with the students, there's always alot of great energy that is produced that is never shared with the public. For this reason, I decided to host an annual art exhibition focusing on the students and the results of their lessons with their coaches. It is an opportunity for students to look forward and see the impact that they can have on the world through the practice of making art...
I've been with coach art about a year and its been an amazing experience! You can get involved as much or little as you want. I signed up and didn't really know what I was getting into. I didn't think I had the skills it took to be a coach so started with the in hospital workshops. After a few months the girls called me and asked if I'd be willing to teach art to a 5year old girl...ART! hmmm I am no artists, the girls at Coach Art assured me I was capable...so I did it. It was AWESOME! Not only did I show up the first day and this little 5 Year old was sooooo excited to see me she had an entire wall of art to show me. She was an artist and I knew I was going to learn a thing or two from her. We started with the colors of the rainbow and moved onto self portraits in the later weeks. We learned from each other every week and grew together as artist. It was special and honestly I couldn't have asked for a better match...so don't be shy if you aren't a professional at the specific subject the child wants to learn, just you being there and having fun makes a difference. ---britt
Working with CoachArt is an experience like no other. As a volunteer, I received the opportunity to teach an underprivileged young boy about the art of filmmaking. Just seeing his focus as I was explaining what different camera angles are was quite an inspiration to me. I would absolutely love to work with CoachArt at any time during the future.
All organizations do great things, but CoachArt goes above and beyond. I've personally seen what great it does by volunteering in the office as well as have a sibling that was serviced by this great non-profit. The employees and volunteers really care about what they're doing which shows through their hard work and the patients, siblings, and families that are serviced by them.