Children around the world have received portraits of themselves from art students in Valley Central High School, thanks to “The Memory Project,” an organization that connects art students with children around the world who have experienced trauma, whether through neglect, abuse or extreme poverty. The organization sends participating schools photographs of the children, and the art students work to create a portrait of that child. The portrait is then sent to the child as a keepsake.
Over the past nine years, children in Burma, Peru, Ethiopia and Thailand have all been recipients of portraits created by Valley Central students. This year, 21 students in Star Langlitz’s Advanced Drawing and Painting class created portraits of Syrian refugee children. When they are distributed to the children over the next few weeks, staff from The Memory Project will film the children’s reactions and compile them into a video which will be sent back to Valley Central as well as other districts who participated in the project.
“There is never a dry eye in the room when you see the joy it brings the kids,” Ms. Langlitz, who has participated in the Memory Project with her students for the past four years, said.