Sadly this New Year began with the unexpected passing of my cousin Rosalyn. She truly loved life and was passionate about both art and children. Rosalyn taught art to children in Texas as well as Mexico. The picture attached to this post is how I will forever remember my cousin, as a young beautiful woman. It was always on the to do list to catch up with that side of my family in my adult life. My sister’s wedding and my own did a lot to reconnect us to our Aunt and Uncle, but reconnecting with our cousins was a slower process. She would have loved Doug and all that I am doing with children through Tinkergarten. So in her honor, I decided I could do more, lots more for her and with her, and Rosalyn’s Project took shape.
When fifty Syrian refugee families were recently relocated to my area, I was made aware of the International Institute of New England and some of the challenges associated with the resettlement of these families. The outpouring of donations from my community to setup their new homes with basic supplies has been incredible to witness. However, many families coming over are put in hotels or small living quarters until better housing can be found. With little access to transportation and a language barrier, parents are hard-pressed to provide engaging activities for their children, adding even more stress to their already challenging situation. Furthermore, giving children outlets for expression can help them come to terms with their own experiences and begin the healing process.
I know first hand through Doug and Tinkergarten, how very simple materials can be stretched far into the imaginations of children. My goal for Rosalyn’s Project is to provide refugee families in my area with a tote bag full of art supplies. Art supplies transcend language and age, and they allow for learning to continue while keeping little hands and big imaginations busy in the process. I have set a goal of 100 totes, valued at $25 each.
Each blank cotton tote would contain:
Drawing paper, construction paper, clear tape, a glue stick, a glue bottle, pencils, a pencil sharpener, markers, crayons, washable paint, paint brushes, safety scissor, Model Magic, googly eyes, and popsicle sticks.
All totes and excess supplies will be donated to the International Institute of New England, http://iine.org/
If you would like to donate please do so at Rosalyn’s Project Go Fund Me or you may donate the art supplies directly, through an Amazon wishlist that has been set up. If you would prefer to make an in-person donation, please contact me directly.
Over the last couple of weeks it has been amazing to see this project come to life! I reached 1/5th of the goal already. The pile of donated materials has grown quiet large already. I can only imagine what a pile of art supplies for 100 totes bags is going to look like! Already this project has filled my heart and continues to teach empathy to Doug. While I ran out of time to reconnect with Rosalyn in person, she continues to live on in my heart and through my actions. I am honored to be able to reconnect to her through our mutual love of children, art, and charity.