“Creativity happens when your intelligence plays games,” said Denver Art Museum artist Beatriz Gomez, in an attempt to show at-risk youth residing at the Family Crisis Center (FCC) how to express their emotions through artistry.
Teens dug deep into their creative minds to paint unique paper maché masks for 2nd Annual GIVE Denver Masquerade Ball, a charitable event that benefits foster youth, the homeless and underserved served by Denver Human Services.
Their masks ranged from simplistic designs to detailed, intricate paintings such as Kevin’s mask entitled “The Immortal Butterfly”. “This mask represents life and love. The saying live and learn helps me through my experiences. The fly away means to live on through even the hardest events,” Kevin wrote on his mask. Although teens felt especially attached to their masks, they inevitably handed them over to help a greater cause, GIVE Denver.
Apart from the mask painting, youth at the FCC have helped countless organizations in need through their weekly community service learning projects, a collaborative effort between the Community Building Partnership for Youth in Transitions (CBPYT) AmeriCorps and Denver Human Services staff. They have made frequent visits to nursing homes through Bessie’s Hope, giving the elderly the hope that they have not been forgotten, and helped plant gardens for Denver Urban Gardens. “Most of the time, these kids don’t have the opportunities to give back,” said Zoa Schescke, program administrator at the FCC. “It’s our hope to give them at least that.”
“The importance of these learning services projects is to help kids find value in community service – not to punish them,” said Torri Barnes, an AmeriCorps member since October 2011. Events such as the mask painting event give youth an outlet to show off their creative skills and have fun, while evoking a sense of satisfaction of helping their community.
“We just hope our youth feel empowered by helping people in need,” said Schescke. “We want them to know that anyone can give back, no matter the circumstances.”
The masks will be showcased at the 2nd Annual GIVE Denver Masquerade Ball, Silent Auction on Oct. 13, 2012. To see or bid on the wondrous masks that both youth and professional artists created or to purchase tickets to the ball, visit www.DenverGov.org/GIVE.