English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once said, “What comes from the heart, goes to the heart.”
These simple words perfectly characterize a service-learning project that connected art students in Sara Koblentz’s class at G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton with disadvantaged youth in the country of Rwanda.
In 2004 a man named Ben Schumaker started “The Memory Project” service-learning project as a way to provide disadvantaged youth with a unique memento that honors each person’s self-identity and aims to build self-esteem as well as inspire caring and global friendship.
GRB art students received photographs of children living in orphanages in Rwanda.
The art students created unique portraits of each student in their photograph using a medium of their choice. Once finished, the GRB students’ portraits were hand-delivered to each Rwanda child and a photograph was taken, capturing the special moment when the child saw the portrait for the very first time.
The project doesn’t end there though.
Each art student that created a portrait received a picture of their subject seeing the portrait for the very first time.
The project spanned several months with the GRB students receiving the return pictures of the Rwanda students at the end of the school year.