At home Art + Mindfulness Kits
When the COVID-19 pandemic and a mass shooting shocked my home province of Nova Scotia, Canada, I knew children and youth were in the need of support. At first, I felt hopeless and scared and I knew others were too. I needed to do something to help.
I had heard from my peers, and younger youth they were struggling to access art supplies. As originally, they could rely on their school or art program for access. But now since our world was turned upside down that access was gone. Or now they were facing finical headships or just not able to get to the store. I decided it was time to act and do something.
I launched an online program called HeART in a box that ships art and mental wellness kits to children and youth. I was originally able to access a small micro-grant which would fund 40 kits.
Each kit contains the mediums and resources for children and youth to explore, paired with youth tested and approved mindfulness resources. Each kit is shipped directly to the homes of children and youth across the province of Nova Scotia. Removing not only art supply barriers but also technology barriers as everything someone needed would be in the kit. Ensuring everyone has access to supplies which also them to play and express themselves. I know from my studies in school benefits their mental health.
On May 8th I sent the online signup form loose on social media and honestly was unsure the amount of response I would get. Within 24 hours I had exceeded the original 40 kits we had supplies and funding for, I turned off the form. I knew that I was on to something that the community needed, and I needed to find a way to support it. So that same morning I emailed all of the provincial members of parliament (our decision-makers) and explained the project. I also asked for help, as I wanted to be able to say yes to every family who requested a kit. By the end of the week, different areas of the provincial government had contacting me, and suddenly I had funding for 250 more kits!
Our first round of kits sent out 125 boxes, and the second round of kits will send out 175 boxes. Each reaching a child or youth and support their families. I am now receiving happy emails and social media messages from the first round of families as the kits begin to arrive on doors steps across the province. Hearing stories of the joy of receiving their packages, and have families connect and create together with the supplies.
This project has taught me that one person can inspire large action. When I began this project I did not expect the support I have received from the community. I am very happy to volunteer my time for this project and continue on with it throughout the summer months.