Pope John Art Class Connects With Refugee Children

Pictured l. to r. (back row): Jasmine Dozler, Harlie Bode, Marissa Preister, Brynn Dilly, Faith Kinney, Maddie Schrage, Brianna Hupp (front row) Kirsten Krebs, Ashtyn Meis, Kayce Kallhoff, Breanna Bartak, Haley Zegers, Madison Dilly

The Pope John XXIII Central Catholic art class under the direction of art teacher, Connie Henn recently completed work with the Memory Project.  The students created and donated 13 portraits for youth in Syria who have faced substantial challenges, such as violence, disasters, extreme poverty, neglect, and loss of parents.

The purpose of the portraits is 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.  For the art students, it is an opportunity to creatively practice kindness and global awareness.

Pope John art students received photos of children and teens from the Memory Project last fall and have been working for several months to create portraits resembling the children. Once the portraits were finished, they were mailed to the project coordinators and will be hand-delivered to the children in Syria. The Bargain Box in Elgin donated funds to the project to help cover the cost of the delivery.

These artistic gifts will serve as mementos of a family legacy for the children, as most of them do not have a single photograph of their family history.  The hope is that decades in the future, they will be able to pass their portraits on to their children and grandchildren. The Memory Project team will make a video of the delivery to share the reactions with the art class. More information can be found at memoryproject.org