NAHS reaches out to community through art

Members of the National Art Honor Society (NAHS) began making weekly visits to the Dandae Children Center since March 13 to collaborate on art projects with children living in single-parent or working-parent households. Initially an independent trip organized by seniors and juniors, the volunteer service was recently integrated into NAHS as to increase the number of participants committed to sharing their artistic abilities with their community.

“[During my past three years in NAHS,] this is the first time that the club has physically helped those in need, instead of trying to raise funds,” said Allison Yoo (12), president of NAHS. “This change has been [beneficial], because it allowed more children to gain direct access to art, and provided club members with the opportunity to communicate with different people through art.”

Over the course of four weeks, NAHS members will take turns spending an hour at the Dandae Children Center in groups of four. Using club-provided materials, the members plan on making popsicle stick picture frames, artist trading cards, piggy banks and duct tape trees with the children.

“Our weekly visits are more about letting the children explore art, rather than formally teaching them specific art techniques,” said Heeyoun Keum (12), member of NAHS. “However, I still feel pressured to act responsibly, because [the children] call me ‘teacher’ and remember me each week when I return, enthusiastically asking me what we will be doing during each session.”

Reaching beyond its immediate community, NAHS also interacts with children through art on a global scale as well. Since last year, NAHS club members have been paired with a child from an underprivileged country as part of the Memory Project, in which each student then paints a portrait of their assigned child, from looking at his or her photographs. NAHS then sends the portraits back to each child, along with a short letter written by the painter.

“By engaging in activities [such as the Memory Project and service trips to the Dandae Children Center], NAHS members were able to help others through art and undertake a rewarding experience,” said Jin Shin Ekin, NAHS advisor. “This year, we had the opportunity to carry out more projects, which made members more involved in the club. [We] hope to see such positive growth in the upcoming year as well, and achieve as much as we possibly can in the limited amount of time we have.”