Seventh grade village student Taylor “Tae Tae” Davis found a way to bring the joy of art to homeless kids on Saturday, May 15.
It was the second such event she organized at the Community Partnership for Homeless Center in Homestead. She not only made it possible for a dozen children to have the supplies needed to make a special project they could keep after they had the fun of creating it, she also found others to help make the day even more memorable.
Davis, who last year made it her mission to secure donated art supplies to help her fellow students in the magnet art program at Southwood Middle School, later expanded her mission beyond her own school by creating a nonprofit organization, “The Traveling Canvas.”
Sponsoring the event were Jacquard Products, which donated the canvas cats and Tee Juice markers for every child to have his or her own “cat” to paint and take with them. Mischa’s Cupcakes in South Miami not only donated a platter of cup cakes for the children to eat during paint time, it also gave a box of cupcakes for each child to take with them for a “late night snack.”
Joining Tae Tae for the youth art event were her brother Trystan, a young photographer; her cousin, Jackie Davis, and her friend, Tanae Carter.
Her mom, Claudette, explained her daughter’s approach with the kids. “Tae Tae’s goal is to keep the group small in order that she may have quality time bonding and painting with every participant,” Claudette said. “She wants each one of them to know that they are very special. She also wants them to have an opportunity of self expression through art. When Tae Tae paints, she escapes from everything around her.”
As the children painted, they listened to classical music, then went to the beading table to make their canvas cats a special necklace. After the time they shared painting together, the children gathered in a circle to talk about their favorite part of the day. That was when Tae Tae presented each of them with a journal with their picture on the cover that her brother, Trystan, made while they were painting.
Tae Tae also presented each child with a hand-painted pillowcase to remind them to “Dream In Color!” Alma C. Wallace, lead teacher of the Family Resource Center at Community Partnership for Homeless, was appreciative of the young art student’s efforts to help. “It certainly is my pleasure to have been part of Tae Tae’s art projects and totally successful endeavors,” Wallace said. “To me, Tae Tae’s art time has an incredible impact on the children here at Community Partnership. I purposely chose children whom I felt would benefit the most, in various ways, by participating in this special activity with Tae Tae.
“Just to witness the delight and improved self esteem amongst the children was wonderful,” Wallace added. “For a few hours these kids got the opportunity to allow their artistic creativity to flow in a relaxed and enjoyable environment — thanks to a young girl simply wanting to share and give back to her peers.”
Wallace has high praise for the Traveling Canvas project and Tae Tae’s efforts to keep the tradition of art alive in area schools and communities. “I see what Tae Tae does as being holistic, and coupled with the fact that she has such an altruistic nature and purpose, at such a young age, it is absolutely outstanding,” Wallace said. “Of course it doesn’t hurt that she comes from a family that has instilled many great values.”
Tae Tae said that she hopes she will have the opportunity to bring art to the children every month. She also has been networking with CEO’s of art companies in order to secure sponsors for her magnet art program at Southwood Middle School for the school calendar year 2010-11, and washing cars in order to raise funds to pay for her missions.
When asked what her favorite part of the missions is, Tae Tae didn’t have to think twice about the answer. “Getting to know the kids and seeing them so very happy,” she said. If you wish to volunteer, make a donation or get to know Tae Tae’s goals a little better, you can log onto < www.thetravelingcanvas.com >.
For more information about the recent sponsors, visit < www.jacquardproducts.com > or < www.mishascupcakes.com/ >. To learn more about the Community Partnership For Homeless…“Where Hope Lives,” visit < www.CPHI.org >.