The Issue: Limited Recreation for Chronically Ill Youth
For most children, school is a place to make friends and discover new passions. But chronically ill children often miss school due their condition, limiting their chances to explore new activities. In Los Angeles County in 2007, 17.5% of children lived with at least one chronic illness, according to a 2010 report from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. These children need activities just as much as—if not more than—their peers who attend school regularly. Art classes in particular can have therapeutic qualities for a child with a serious illness, resulting in lower stress levels and even increased resistance to pain, according to a study published in Medical Pediatric Oncology.
The Campaign: Funding a Meet the Masters Art Clinic
If 30 people donate $10 to this Grassroots campaign, then CoachArt can host one art clinic for up to 20 chronically ill students. Donations will provide training for volunteer mentors, snacks, and insurance for the event. Each additional $300 raised will fund an additional art clinic.
During Meet the Masters art clinics, paintbrushes slide across canvases, coating them with colors and expressions of feeling. Volunteer mentors lead these sessions on the weekends, starting the day with games and snacks to get the children acclimated to one another and the volunteers. Then the magic begins: students immerse themselves in the work of the master artist they will emulate, such as Claude Monet, Salvador Dalí, or Georgia O'Keeffe. A discussion of prominent themes helps impart brush-stroke and color techniques, allowing students to hone their own artwork to reflect a particular vision. They then sketch and paint their works in the same style as the master, leaving the clinic with something they can take home and proudly hang on their walls.
As executive director Thyonne Gordon told ABC News, CoachArt asks children "to dream what they want to be, do, or wish for" and then makes it happen. The organization pairs chronically ill children and their siblings with mentors who can teach them archery, ballet, soccer, or whatever skills they can dream up. The lessons both provide a distraction from the persistent stress and isolation of illness and give them an opportunity to learn something new. Activities in the arts and athletics in particular have the power to bring children out of their shells and help them express themselves productively. Through outpatient mentoring, activity clinics, in-hospital workshops, and community events, CoachArt reaches out to as many children as possible, organizing its lessons in 12 weekly sessions or single bursts of activity in small groups, such as art workshops, sports events, and theater productions.
See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.