Any chance to hang out with Lydia and the See Beautiful group is a true joy! On February 24th, Paint Love artist Kim Stuart taught the group how to make large paper flowers. We encouraged the girls (and guys) to write affirmations on the petals to be a reminder of how unique and wonderful they are. Kim Stuart was the perfect artist for this event. She speaks with such honesty and openness. The kids enjoyed it so much.
I love this recap of the event from Lydia:
// Smart is the new, fun cool. // ~ 8-yr-old wisdom
He wasn't supposed to be in our See Beautiful Club. We hadn't planned for him. We hadn't planned for any of the kids who joined us. When our See Beautiful Club members were pulled to prep for an upcoming performance 60 seconds before our club meeting began, there was a moment of desperately trying to figure out how to see beautiful in the moment. Paint Love was with us, and they brought the incredibly talented artist, Kim Stuart, to lead our girls in an experience of affirmation and celebration of self. Standing in an empty room, we brainstormed next steps. There was a group of students still in the Decatur Housing Authority afterschool program. They were the children who's behavior precluded them from being in the upcoming performance (that our girls were yanked to practice in). They were the kiddos who often miss out on the most exciting things. They're the students who are told the least often how special, loved, valuable, worthy, kind and beautiful they are. They were the perfect group of kids who deserved this experience. Our See Beautiful Club shifted and we sat with these 25 amazing students and asked them to talk about what parts of themselves they deemed beautiful, or loved. It was crickets. They couldn't name anything and that silence was not lost on me. We started by sharing examples, "I statements" to help them craft their own voice and reflect on themselves. Affirmations slowly started to trickle in, but what happened next was the best. The activity Kim planned was to make flowers of affirmations and we were faced with a lot of children who didn't immediately think "flower-crafting" was cool. But then it happened. In the midst of markers and poster board everywhere, every single child sat with the invitation and the affirmations poured from their minds to their fingers to their faces. The sheer joy of celebrating and honoring themselves was palpable. Every single child beamed with happiness as their flower came together and they had space to see beautiful in themselves. It wasn't how we planned it. It wasn't what we were expecting. It was infinitely more beautiful.
While there were incredible sentiments shared by these precious children, this one statement, by a child who initially said he didn't have any good thoughts about himself showed such grace and belief in his abilities. Smart really is the fun, new cool. He's brilliant.
(Lydia Criss Mays - See Beautiful)
Look at those super stars!! We had several incredible volunteers at this event. They did an amazing job helping things run smoothly!
Seeing the confidence and joy in these young students is so inspirational. Their creativity abounds!