Second-grader Noah Leija stood at the countertop with a utensil in his hand, eyeing a smooth, round slab of clay. A student next to him had already carved his way across his clay with a complicated pattern.
Noah began with a pair of stars.
Students in Heidi Mitchell’s art classes at Ridgeview Elementary are carving bowls to be kiln-dried and sold at parent-teacher conferences in an annual fundraiser for Kids’ Food Basket.
Parents pay whatever amount they like as a donation, which last year resulted in nearly $3,000 toward the cause of fighting childhood hunger.
“I think it’s really important for kids to know that they can make a difference in other children’s lives,” Mitchell said. “It’s happening even beyond here, which is exciting.”
Students from Mitchell’s classes have volunteered at Kids’ Food Basket directly, she said, bringing their parents along to make an impact. Parents have also become more involved in their child’s classroom learning, she added, through volunteering.
In the classroom, students also decorate paper bags used for “sack suppers,” which provide meals for children impacted by hunger.
Brooklyn Brugnoli decided to draw a sun, sending its rays in different directions.
“It’s kind of like a sun,” she said. “It looks like a sun, but I added some detail. You know how sometimes people do a kind of sun design. Sometimes they do the lines. I did something else.”
Learning More than Art
Second-grader Brynn Marshall colored a snowflake with Valentine’s Day colors. She’s been making art for a while, she said, but this time it’s different.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of work so their buckets would be filled, so they will get really nice dinners,” Brynn said. “It lets them know someone cares about them.”
Mitchell said she hopes students can learn that art is more than something to look at, and that they can make a difference no matter their age.
“Their world is their mom, their dad, their family, and that’s to be expected,” she said. “But it’s important for them to also know that they’re not just doing something or learning something so they can be grown-up or do something one day.
“They can actually see that they’re making this piece of art to make a difference in someone’s life, have a heart for the need that’s out there.”