One of the most exciting and fulfilling moments of each semester is the final exhibit. It gives our students the opportunity to show off all the hard work they’ve been doing, which fills them with a sense of pride and accomplishment at a level they may not have ever felt before. At the final exhibit, the students emerge as brand new global citizens - they’ve learned so many new things about the world and about the culture of a foreign country, and are able to see children just like them in an entirely new light, setting them on a path to always seeking new ways to make the world a better place.
This semester, we had the opportunity to begin a new partnership with the Los Angeles chapter of the incredible organization, Communities in Schools (CIS) – a nonprofit that is addressing the dropout crisis by providing students in public schools with a community of support in the form of local services and programs (like Children Mending Hearts!). As it turns out, CMH and CIS were a perfect match, resulting in an absolutely fantastic final exhibit at Clinton Middle School in downtown Los Angeles!
In a delicious turn of events, a catering service offered to supply home-cooked Mexican food for all who came to the Final Exhibit! There were lots of tacos to be eaten and the children and their families (and even some volunteers from CMH) were raving about how tasty it all was. Laughter and proud smiles abounded during the exhibit where kids showed their parents and siblings the impressive results of all the effort they put into the projects this semester. After dinner, the students at Clinton were eager to show off their art pieces, which were a result of many weeks of learning about Haiti and practicing crafts and art forms indigenous to the country, such as toy cars made from plastic bottles and papier mache Carnival masks. The students were thrilled to show all that they learned about Haiti, a country full of people that the kids now see as neighbors, not strangers.
CMH’s Program Coordinator, Meghan Lueders, spoke to the group about the semester and the partnership between CMH and CIS. The Clinton Middle School Site Director from CIS, Daniella Shina, was also on hand to talk to the kids and parents and give them an even better idea of the great work that went on at the school this fall. The evening was rounded out with more fun in the form of an interactive painting project! Students were given paints and paper and examples of thankful phrases in both English and Spanish and encouraged to create pictures that expressed the things they are thankful for (after all, this Final Exhibit was just a few days before Thanksgiving). Parents and siblings joined in, exercising their artistic sides with plenty of enthusiasm and talent! The pictures were heartfelt and inspiring, and the feelings of gratitude were contagious - it was hard for anyone involved in the evening not to leave with a newly invigorated sense of thankfulness and peace.
Another semester wrapped, the seed of inspiration shared with another group of students. A big thanks to all of our new global citizens - you make it all worth it!
The CMH Team