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Children's Book with Lydia Mays at Woodward Elementary School

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This past Wednesday, Paint Love had the honor of presenting at Woodward Elementary School. Paint Love collaborated with See Beautiful’s founder, Lydia Mays. See Beautiful is an organization that aims to empower young people to see beautiful in themselves, in others, and to create more beautiful in the world.

The students at Woodward Elementary had expressed interest in how children’s books where published and contacted us to see if we knew anyone who could come in and talk with the children about books. Luckily, Paint Love has a beautiful partnership with Lydia Mays, who is a children’s book author as well the founder of See Beautiful.

Lydia Mays presented to 100 kindergarten and first-graders about the process of writing and publishing a children’s book. She was amazing! It’s hard to keep the attention of children for long and to make sure that they don’t get too rowdy, but Lydia was attentive and extremely informative to the students. 

She brought in books that she had written and talked through the process. She showed examples of other authors who had written books as young as six-years-old, and managed to win an award. Authors like David Shannon, who wrote “No David” when he was six won a Caldecott Honor.  Here is an excerpt from his book:

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A few years ago, my mother sent me a book I made when I was a little boy. It was called No David, and it was illustrated with drawings of david doing all sorts of things he wasn’t supposed to do. The text consisted entirely of the words “no” and “David.” (They were the only words I knew how to spell.) I thought it would be fun to do a remake celebrating those familiar variations of the universal “no” that we hear while growing up.
Of course “yes” is a wonderful word...but “yes” doesn’t keep crayon off the living room wall.”

Lydia stressed to the children to save their writings, no matter how it is. She then showed them illustrations of her books, The Listening Me and the The Giving Me, and talked about how important illustrations are too.

In the last few minutes, we had the children make their own puppets out of pipe cleaners and stickers. The puppets could also be used as bookmarks.

 

We are thankful to Lydia Mays and Woodward Elementary School for allowing us to present.

Stay tuned and Check out other Paint Love events coming up!

#GivingTuesday Paint Love Supporter Spotlight : Lydia Mays

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Mark your calendars- Giving Tuesday is November 28th! 

Following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, (Sunday to rest!) - there is now Giving Tuesday- a national movement to give back to the community by supporting local non profits. To gear up for our Giving Tuesday campaign, we will be highlighting a few Paint Love supporters with #WhyIGive posts. 

First up is Dr. Lydia Mays! Lydia is a Paint Love supporter in every capacity- a donor, artist, and volunteer! 

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Why I Give

I give to Paint Love because they fill a gap in connecting artists to children in schools and organizations. With funding continually cut for Arts in Education, Paint Love illustrates the need for a focus on connecting artists to schools and on a larger scale, points to the need for more funding to honor the Arts.
— Lydia Mays
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If funding for the Arts matters to you, too, help us by donating to Paint Love on #GivingTuesday and make sure you leave us a note to tell us #WhyIGive! 

More about Lydia!

Lydia is the founder and CEO of See Beautiful - a philanthropic organization that encourages people to see and create more beauty in the world. This year, Paint Love was also selected as a recipient of a $1,000 See Beautiful Milestone Grant. 

Lydia has brought young members of the See Beautiful Club to volunteer with Paint Love- their favorite is working with the kids at the Ronald McDonald House! 

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Lydia is also a children's book author and illustrator and has led numerous projects with Paint Love over the years.

This summer, she taught a book making workshop as part of our summer series at GSU with the kids from Camp Peace at the Women's Resource Center. 

See more of Lydia's past projects making paper flowers with the See Beautiful Club here and Lydia leading 260 kindergarteners in a project modeling illustration styles of favorite children's books here

Paint Love couldn't function without the support of people like Lydia. So from all of us at Paint Love, thanks for your support! 

Click below to learn more about becoming a Paint Love.... 

Paper Flowers with Messages of Affirmation with Kim Stuart and See Beautiful

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!