Mariposa's Art shares joy, inspiration and practical life skills with the youth in Watsonville. I can really see the positive powerful impact of Mariposa's Art when I teach the program. Last year at the beginning of the year I had a student who was very shy and would become easily frustrated with her art. She sometimes would not finish the project. We worked with her and offered her lots of encouragement and opportunities to connect with her peers in a positive way. By the end of the year she was laughing with her friends in class and showing off the art that she made, proud of her accomplishments. I really witnessed her relationship to her self expression transform.
Mariposa's instructors are very positive, high energy and patient - even when faced by challenging behaviors from at-risk youth. They are talented teachers and artists who strive to broaden horizons of their students through a creative exploration. The range of activities they offer wide-ranging, everchanging and high quality.
After having stumbled upon a Fundraising Concert for Mariposa's Art, at the old "Java House" downtown, I applied for an art teaching position at Mariposa's Art. Mariposa's Art is local Not-for-profit here in Santa Cruz which had a position open working with at-risk youth, specifically 8-10 yr. old girls in San Jose and Pajaro Valley. Having had my own Mural Painting business for 4 yrs., I was at a point where I needed a change of career. Art and painting was my life but I had also been working as a Substitute Teacher for some time, on days when I didn't have mural painting clients. So, having the opportunity to combine my work with kids and art.. full time... seemed like a dream come true! It has now been four years since I applied for my position at Mariposa's Art, and I am now the Elementary School Coordinator in charge of setting up and over seeing Five School Sites where we teach after-school programs throughout the week. Our Executive Director, Theresa Stevens is the most appreciative woman I've ever worked with. What a gift, to influence children and expose them to not only art, but to expression and personal artistic freedom as well! Mariposa's Art is designed to teach students how to work in a safe environment, learn about themselves, speak up in class, and work well in groups. Our "Art and Leadership" classes are designed for third to fifth grade girls and boys, and consist of four eight-week program cycles which focus on understanding key health issues; expanding leadership skills; making positive choices; and exploring art, music and dance. There isn't an elementary school position within the state of California which could offer me the opportunity to teach such topics. Everyday when I leave the classroom I am lucky enough to feel that the children in our class are changing, and for the better. That I myself, and my co-workers are influencing the leaders of tomorrow, and that we are actually helping to create change for a better world. Considering that due to State Funding most, if not all art classes are being cut from Junior High and Elementary Schools across California- we are lucky to still have a chance to let our children express themselves. Mariposa's Art makes that possible. Please join me in helping to support Mariposa's Art and the children that we work with.