Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youths 18 years of age and younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. Meet 17 year old Trinity from Memphis TN. Inspired by her own journey to overcome anxiety and depression, Note 2 Self was an art expression project for Trinity’s Girl Scout Gold Award. She states, “Art is what gets me through. It allows me to speak when I do not have the words. It is my release when the world becomes too big. I want to share my experience with others and teach them about the power of expression and that mental illness is not taboo.” Trinity hosted an art expression workshop for teens that included a showcase of participants’ art work for family & friends that doubled as an awareness event about mental illness.
- How many volunteers participated in your service project? 24 volunteers total
- How many hours did you specifically spend on your project? I spent over 300 hours on the project developing the curriculum for the art workshop and delivering it, setting up the art showcase and curating it, purchasing supplies, developing graphics for flyers and other print materials, setting up social media platforms, recruiting girls to attend the workshop and other people to attend the showcase. Other volunteers contributed 150 hours by chaperoning the art workshop, attending planning meetings, soliciting donations, reviewing and editing the curriculum, facilitating daily debriefings of the art workshop, providing entertainment at the art showcase, and setting up and cleaning up before, during, after each day of the art workshop and the art showcase.
- How many individuals were affected by your project? I recruited 25 teen girls between the ages of 11 and 17 to participate and 15 showed up for the 4 day art workshop. At least 100 people showed up for the art showcase and information about teen mental illness, and the art showcase was shared with 1,475 people via various social media channels. I was also nominated for and won a National Civil Rights Museum – Keeper of the Dream Award for my project in which my school and 2,000 Shelby County, TN students learned about my project.
- What did you learn from this experience? What I learned most about this project is that I am not alone and that other people, teens especially, have had challenges dealing with mental illness. I also learned that creating a project like this requires a team effort for it to be a success. And finally, I confirmed that working with children to overcome life’s challenges through expressive arts is truly my calling, and I am excited about turning my passion into a career that can change lives.
- How will your project continue having an impact in the future? My project will continue to impact the lives of the girls that participated in the project because they have learned about teen mental illness and the importance of emotional well-being. They have also learned new coping strategies to deal with stress.