From the very beginning of Outside the Box Creation, I have been painfully aware that there were so many kids in the world without parents who could or would purchase our art experiences for them. Our middle son has been acting since he was four years old. He had the opportunity to be cast in some amazing productions during middle school and high school. Every time I took him to an audition, I watched all of the affluent kids come through the door and wondered how many other kids, who were extraordinary actors, would never get the chance to audition. I thought about my twelve years as an art docent (a.k.a. unpaid art teacher,) in the elementary school. I saw kids absolutely light up while creating art! Often, they were the same kids who were struggling in other subjects.
I saw how my intelligent creative son would shine in school whenever he could use his creativity in a project and how he struggled when he couldn’t. Several years ago, I volunteered at The Sanctuary Art Center in Seattle. It was a safe, intentional drop-in for street involved and homeless youth and young adults. I saw how art could not only be soothing, but could also help build confidence and self-esteem.
Over the past year, Outside the Box Creation has been working with The Washington Corrections Center for Women. When children visit their moms, they can have up to two hours together, but often the visits are strained and difficult. Our goal was to provide our boxes so that offenders, who are mothers, could do art projects with their kids when they visit. Then, the children could take the picture book, art supplies and hopefully the mom’s artwork, home. We are elated to say that it is happening!
As I have been talking about this work over the past year, many people have asked if they could simply go onto our website and purchase a box for the prison. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that. Now, we are excited to announce that you can go on our website and purchase a box to be donated to Seattle Children’s Hospital! We have had several customers purchase our boxes and send them to friends and family in the hospital. I saw, first hand, how art got my sister through hospice with our mom. Other customers have shared stories about how an afternoon of art was a much needed respite from caring for a loved one with cancer. Art can be amazingly powerful and comforting during stressful times. I am overjoyed to have the ability to make this happen for children and families staying at Seattle Children’s Hospital!