Since early September 2017 I was applying for every art based volunteering program I could find, anything from 5 minutes down the road to over an hour commute, but no where was replying to my application emails, so I contacted every single program again and again, applying on different sites and emailing more than once a week, calling the offices and art leaders, in hope someone would give me the chance to help.
Finally The Art Ministry, (a charity based organisation that runs art classes and programs for people that suffer with different disabilities and have special needs) reached out and scheduled a taster evening with the children and young adults group on a Monday evening where I got to see what each session would be like, and if they would like me.
From that night my whole life and future changed.. for the better.
Never have I felt a strong connection to a profession as much as I do with art. Any type of art in fact. The children welcomed me with open arms and I have never looked back. When I started college I worked every week in a variety of roles in different shops around my area to fund my studying. Since finishing university in 2016, I chose to make the career path within visual merchandising which lead my depression and anxiety to spiral down and I felt I was heading no where with my degree. During my most recent role as a Visual Merchandising assistant I searched high and wide for the ‘next step‘ in my career.
During this search I found my love for art therapy, realising how much art helped me at my lowest moments. I researched into MA degrees in this field and realised this would be the ‘next step‘ I needed to take. After a close friend passed away due to depression, I hit a new and different type of low. I tried to stay on my feet, and after doing a evening ceramic course, it helped, woke me up slightly, gave me something to focus on, this was the same week that The Art Ministry reached out to me, and woke me up completely.
Within the art sessions at the ministry, we run different activities and workshops for the children and young adults, where I provide support for each person. I sit and go through the activities on a 1-1 basis, helping them create or draw what they are focused on doing in that session. Some have targets and goals to achieve each day, (which I help with) as well as using the session as a relaxing time away from school, college or home. Most leave the sessions learning a new skill or something new altogether, even if that was building the confidence to talk about their weekend, but also each session I walk away learning something new too.
During the October half term I had wonderful opportunity to volunteer at a charity event where over 70 children attended with their parents and friends. We set up multiple tables and craft equipment where the children (and parents) could create anything from Harry Potter wands, Halloween tote bags or even just a simple colouring. A lot of outside visitors attended, which is how I was printed in the weekly newspaper in the town.
The Art Ministry has changed my life around and I feel a huge amount pride and confidence that I get to help others too.
‘Caring through creativity‘ – The Art Ministry.