Removing masks and learning self-expression
At a masquerade the revelers typically reveal themselves at the end of the night, this is not always the case with children and teenagers.
Some youth have trouble expressing their emotions, but sometimes art can help them through it. Arts-Kids Founder and Program Director, Pat Drewry has discovered this in her seven years with the organization.
"That’s what Arts-Kids is all about, building community and facilitating expression," Drewry said.
For the English Language Learners at Treasure Mountain International Middle School Drewry brought in several projects including mask making, poetry writing and spent several weeks helping them identify as a community through different exercises.
At the opening of a group session last Friday she brought in a woven blanket, using the threads as an analogy for the way people are all connected.
The closing of the session continued the theme, where students gathered in a circle and tossed a ball of yarn to one another until they had created an interconnected web.
As for the self expression component, Drewry facilitates verbal expression of emotions in the opening portion of the group meeting.
She goes around the circle with students as they take turns sharing that days emotional highs and lows with the group. They also express an intention for the day, or what they hope to accomplish in their time together.
On Friday, many of them expressed the intention of being creative or finishing the masks they had been working on.
As part of the project, students also composed poems about how they felt and later glued those onto the masks.
Drewry said in the weeks she has been working with the children she has seen a lot of progress in how they communicate and relate to eachother.
"This was so successful that we may like to continue this model with the kids at Treasure Mountain," she said.
Arts-Kids also hopes other districts will view their work in Park City as a Pilot model, Drewry said. There are plans to help schools in Salt Lake and Heber establish similar programs to help empower youth.
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