By: Mia Cervantes
A handful of students in Heidi Hensey’s art class are currently working on the Memory Project for Orphans in Columbia. The Memory Project is a charity organization that invites students to provide a handmade portrait for less fortunate kids around the world. This is not an assigned project that students earn a grade for, but instead a voluntary project that they choose. Students receive a picture of their kid and work on a portrait for several weeks. People choose to work on this project to feel good and along with the portrait, they donate $15 towards the cause.
Hensey found the Memory Project website in 2011 while Google searching for portraits and has given her students the option to participate in this cause ever since.
“These kids have nothing, no memento of childhood, so these portraits are so meaningful to them,” Hensey said.
When the orphans receive their artwork, their reactions are recorded on video and are sent back to the students who created their portraits. Students are able to see these kids light up when they receive these special portraits delivered from across the world.
“We want the portraits to help the children feel valued and important, to know that many people care about their well being, and to act as meaningful pieces of personal history in the future,” according to the Memory Project Website.
This year, students from Level 2 and up, work on these projects for less fortunate kids in Columbia. In earlier years, Hensey’s students have worked on portraits for kids in Ghana, Haiti, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Over the years, portraits have been for all ages, toddlers to teenagers.
“I’ve been working really hard on this portrait, and I’m really excited to see my kid’s reaction. That will make all this time and hard work totally worth it,” Emily Plummer, a junior in Level 3 said.
Hensey is excited and glad that she was able to find this organization. Ever since she became involved in this cause, she has been working closely with the founder Ben Shumaker. Hensey says that it has been amazing working with him along with the whole organization. She looks forward to giving many more students the opportunity to make kids’ days by using their artistic talents.
For these Titans their projects are something special that they will remember forever.