I have to share with you about the most beautiful thing I witnessed this weekend. Odin had am invite to a birthday party at this place called CHAP. It was a party hosted by a family who shares the same ideas, as our family, about gifts and children... and so they asked for donations to CHAP instead of gifts.
Even before the party I began to research CHAP and found out some beautiful stories of greatness with this small idea that has gone huge in making a difference.
CHAP, or the Children's Healing Art'sProject, is an all nonprofit, volunteer ran, program that brings art into hospitals, and to families in crisis "with a mobile team of teaching artists working in Portland. CHAP has created art classes tailored to the needs of the children in
Doernbecher Children's Hospital, and Shriners Hospital for Children."
This facility is so mobile that it moves throughout the city to empty buildings that are donated to them for 5-6 months at a time. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is donated. The electricity, the water, the supplies, the time- all donated by people who have caught onto this passion and have wanted to help in the impact. CHAP has been so monumental that they are extending the idea to not only other states, but into other countries where arts and paints are non existent. There is even ideas to get these mobi units to disaster relief areas. The belief is that children everywhere must have an opportunity to release the energy of stress and pain, anger and fear, into a brush and paper.
In meeting the founder/dreamer/artist of this project, "the art guy" Frank Etxaniz ,
You really begin to see the love he has for art, for children, and their little hearts to grow in the beauty that is found through creating. He celebrates the special uniqueness found in individuality. These values he holds, radiate in his person.
His desire is for every child to feel his/her power in the world as an individual.
Back to the party, it was remarkable.... kids come in, and paint- while 10-15 volunteers talk and share and support the creativity in the air. Next they get to go to a cardboard created castle and paint it up, inside, outside, top and bottom. These kids are getting paint on themselves as well as on others. Soon, they painted T-shirts to take home, and then painted their feet and jumped on a bouncy mattress together.
The children were having the most fun screaming, laughing and creating- not even paying attention to the mess, because it was here that a mess was encouraged. After their birthday treats together and played for another 20 minutes making bracelets and dress-up.
I wanted to tell you about this place, not only for its existence.... but for its need. It has a open door to anyone, and for $5 a child can paint and create with volunteers. Date nights can be planned, a girls night, a birthday party, anything you can imagine-- is available to you to help bring in more funds and more ideas to make this program to continue to grow.... and remain a highlight of a child in crisis' life. I plan to bring my boys weekly. I want to speak to the children's school, maybe bring in a field trip or two..... but I want to watch this place, this idea, grow into something even more remarkable than it already is.
to find out more, or to visit... please check out the web site. http://www.chap.name/
if you live in or near the area, you dont want to miss the experience this place holds for your children, and for your family.
FYI- all the photos are off google images.... I had a photographer dummy moment and brought the camera, but didnt replace the memory card. When I get the link to the actual birthday party- I will share some photos with you.