Last year, the Connecticut Commission on Arts and Tourism asked me to teach a workshop about how to use ethnic paper to make note cards and collages. At first, I was only supposed to be working with ten teachers, but the number quickly grew to twenty-two different teachers. Among the teachers attending were a few from the Jack Jackter Intermediate School in Colchester, Ct. The surge of interest in the workshop felt overwhelming to me, but I met the challenge head on.
After a brief introduction and a period of getting to know one another, we focused on designing one-of-a-kind note cards, crafted from beautiful ethnically diverse papers which represented a variety of cultures, but especially African. The attending teachers were excited about the resulting note cards, and many said they would love to have this kind of workshop for the children at their schools.
After several months, my cards and collages were presented by the Connecticut Commission on Arts and Tourism at a regional Higher Order of Thinking conference.
Dr. Roach-Decker, a resident of Colchester and local dentist, had begun working with Nothing But Nets and after learning about the high rate of malaria in many African countries, she was looking for a way to help. She proposed that Jackter School start a Create for Nets fundraiser to send bed nets and protect families from malaria.
The principal and teachers of the school jumped on the idea, and before I knew it, the school emailed me about coming to work with the students. Over sixteen sessions, I’d work with the entire school to create note cards and 16” x 20” collages, and they’d sell them to raise money for Nothing But Nets.
The children had already done research on malaria, were passionate about the cause, and understood they could help save lives. My classes were full of fun, creativity, and energy. A local Colchester resident donated National Geographic magazines that dated back to 1970 and we also used beautiful ethnic paper and fabrics.
Dr. Roach-Decker brought the cards to other schools and local businesses to sell, and with the proceeds, the school was able to send hundreds of nets to sub-Saharan Africa. It was a successful campaign, indeed.