Palmetto Bay resident Taylor “Tae Tae” Davis, a senior at Coral Reef High School, is continuing her art-related volunteer efforts by donating art materials to children at the Chapman Partnership homeless shelter in Homestead.
Five years ago the talented young artist contacted major art supply companies to get their help when budget cuts imperiled art education in local public schools. Founding the nonprofit organization The Traveling Canvas, she has worked with donors such as Fredrix/Tara Products, DaVinci Paint Company and Jaquard to gather supplies, lately for the residents of the homeless shelter to encourage the children to express themselves through art.
On Sept. 9 Davis delivered 50 “Dream in Color” goodie bags to the youngsters, children who especially need to have their spirits lifted.
“Being creative, whether it stems from something such as art or music, allows children to fully immerse themselves in the creative task at hand,” Davis explained after the visit. “It also serves as a healthy outlet that does more than just entertain; it teaches them to be thinkers, problem solvers, and at the same time allowing their individuality to surface.”
Each child received a bag filled with artrelated items such as a journal, mini canvas, paint pen, a box of crayons, a key chain and a “Got Art” dog tag necklace. Also included in the bag was a unique hand-painted pillowcase. The pillowcases, painted by local youth artists, remind each child to “Dream in Color” as they lay their heads down at night.
Davis met with Sharon Haxton, community outreach director, and Alma Wallace, youth director and lead teacher at Chapman Partnership.
“Visiting CPHI was wonderful as always,” Davis said. “Alma and Sharon are so kind and friendly and have always treated me like family.
After delivering the care packages, I was introduced to several of the youth residents there and I appreciated getting to meet them.”
Davis said that she hopes her efforts will make a difference in improving the children’s optimism for the future.
“I would like to think that my time spent with them would have some sort of impact on them,” Davis said. “I know that when I was a child, any opportunity to create excited me and made me appreciate all forms of art. Having something to be passionate about is really encouraging and can make a difference.”
Wallace thinks that Davis is definitely making a difference. She appreciates her help. “To have Tae Tae taking an interest in our children has been an incredible journey thus far,” Wallace said.
“To have her help out has resulted in bonds that I am sure will never be broken. The concept that someone as young as Tae Tae was when she started The Traveling Canvass has impressed many of our children and enabled them to have hopes and dreams of their own.”
Sharon P. Haxton, the center’s community outreach coordinator, agrees that the young artist has helped.
“Tae Tae Davis has been a dedicated volunteer and supporter of our homeless assistance center,” Haxton said. “She began sharing her talent and her time with the children living here with their families when she was in the sixth grade. Hundreds of our homeless children have benefitted from the activities and the donations that Tae Tae has contributed. Our residents and staff are very thankful for her continued generosity.”
Davis said that visiting with the homeless children and touching their lives with art gives her own spirits a big lift as well.
“It’s definitely a feeling like no other to be able to put a genuine smile on someone’s face you have just met,” Davis said. “Just seeing them happy under their difficult circumstances makes me smile.”