My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Kids & Art Foundation, Burlingame, CA, USA
This is an exuberant and energetic corps of volunteers, all-ages welcome at Kids & Art . I'm impressed with the people I've worked alongside and of course our founder, both by their talent and accomplishments and by their warmth. We come together to collaborate on projects of all kinds, and we help spread our common concern to others through a culture of kindness—focusing on families with children touched by cancer.
I'm impressed as well with the growth and expansion we’ve seen of late in working out the kinks and developing better systems for training and preparing volunteers for each of our weekly waiting room workshops/clinic visits. There is a lot of work that goes into preparing the workshop teams—scheduling, finding the right people, making sure they know where to go, how to follow hospital procedures, and how to interact with this special population inside a healthcare facility. In our destination workshops, organization is key, as well, and these community events, take a lot of coordination smarts and logistical intelligence, too, which our coordinator and founder pull off super well. (Commendable, really!)
After three and a half years of being one of many signing up at local art spaces for destination workshops, casually at first, for the destination workshops, then with a little more commitment and training as an artist assistant at Lucile Packard hospital, and more recently at the UCSF Benioff children's hospital in San Francisco, I've seen a lot of adorable little hands and sweet children. Most seem so happy just to be presented with the opportunity to do something else than sit anxiously. We go into oncology outpatient waiting rooms at the medical facilities and are there to help make the time before procedures a little easier.
It is always interesting to see what K&A artists bring; whatever it is, the kids make what they want--it really doesn't matter. What matters is that they become engaged in art making. Part of the interest is seeing what they come up with when given the materials.
It feels like being a pop up art shop; but there you are in an oncology clinic waiting room, which sounds heavy but it isn't really something you dwell on. You are there to help transform that space. You are there to somehow soften the mood, and you know you are in a real life situation with kids facing something really hard, but it ends up for the most part being light, playful and convivial. Kids like to make art; we are there to encourage them to indulge in free-spirited expressiveness.
So, with this, I'd say that all participants –even the volunteers--in the Kids & Art workshops get a little soulful boost from being there together. It's about building something in common, it’s about collaborating--with the kids at the table, with the community of Bay Area art organizations and community volunteers that come on board; and over time, we build relationships based on each person being an individual giving something and getting something.
This is the soul of what Kids & Art does, and I've always found it a joy to be in on it. Those who find solace in the arts really do find a kind of kindred connection with us, it seems. And, even those who aren't 'arty' get to feel better helping out with the many tasks that go into putting on these workshops. Emphasis on many!
This is a good group of people trying to do good and doing so with modest resources, so I've been pleased that the K&A team is growing and that they are being more recognized in their field and in the Bay Area.