Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mishaps, Miracles, and Introductions

Class this week was about mishaps, "miracles" and introductions.

First, the mishaps: The batteries in my camera died the minute I turned it on. I forgot the magazines I had meticulously paged through and marked to show the BraveGirls some new techniques I wanted them to try. The fabric spray paint was acting temperamental. And there just wasn't enough time for everything I was hoping to accomplish. (Two hours goes so fast!)

Then, the "miracles": I showed them one of my favorite techniques. I was taught how to do tape transfers by Judy Wise. I have taken several of her classes at Squam Art Workshops and I could take 100 more and never learn all that she has to offer. She is a brilliant teacher and one of the kindest souls I know. So Judy taught me this technique and I taught the girls today and they felt exactly the same way I did about it the first time I saw it. "WOW" It's a tiny miracle.

I made photocopies at the library of images that I thought the girls would like to use in their journals, flowers and drawings of girls (FYI, they want me to bring dogs next week). We placed clear packing tape over the images and then turned them over and began to wipe the paper side with our fingers after dipping them in warm water. After a few minutes
of scrubbing, the paper begins to dissolve and peel away. The image is left on the tape. A miracle indeed! These images can then be layered over the painted pages in their books. They loved the way the image changed depending on the color on their page. We had a lot of fun making transfers and playing with them for the next hour or so.

And lastly, an introduction: Today I introduced the girls to Sarah. Sarah is the daughter of my friend, Ingrid. She is the same age as Ava and Cristina--she just turned 10. Sarah was born with Rett Syndrome. Rett Syndrome is a debilitating neurological disorder that mostly affects girls. It is the most severe form of autism. I explained to the BraveGirls that Sarah is trapped inside her own body. She may have trouble moving and speaking, but she understands, learns, and feels just like they do. She is creative and dynamic and brave, just like them. I told them there is enormous hope that Rett Syndrome will be cured and the symptoms will be reversed.

And I told them that they can help. By telling their parents and their teachers and their friends about Rett Syndrome they can spread the word and help create a "buzz" about Ingrid's organization, Girl Power 2 Cure. I love what Ingrid has to say about Girl Power: "I had never really liked the phrase “Girl Power” before. I thought it lacked substance. But on that first day, [when Sarah went to public school] within the walls of a kindergarten classroom, I witnessed real Girl Power in action. I knew in that instant that it would be these girls - this whole generation of powerful, nurturing girls - that would use their talents and creative energies to help raise awareness and find a cure for Rett Syndrome."

As soon as I told them about Sarah and showed them the Girl Power video, they started asking questions. They wanted to know more about Sarah. They wanted to know more about Rett Syndrome. And just like Ingrid believed, they wanted to know more about how they could help. I told them that today we would paint flowers on our hands or cheeks and take a picture for Sarah and Ingrid. I told them they could paint or draw the yellow flowers around their neighborhood or school and explain what Rett Syndrome is to anyone who asked. I told them next week we will be doing a special project for Sarah and her friends. And I told them we would think of ways to raise money. We could be a part of the Girl Power team who could one day open the door to a cure for Sarah and all the other girls like her, and their families, who are suffering and valiantly holding on to hope. I wish miracles really happened as easily as our tape transfers today. But maybe they do, and maybe we're all holding on to that hope...


  1. this warms my heart! i hope know when you wake up, go through your day and put your head on your pillow at night what an important lesson your teaching these girls! you are amazing!
    i was at squam in the fall of 2009 and 2010. i took 2 classes with judy for the 2009 and last year she was my roomie and what a dream come true.
    thanks for your kindness and sharing it with these amazing girls!
    xo and smiles~ jill

  2. Amy,
    I am so happy that you brought this important message about Sarah and other brave girls with Rett Syndrome to your group of brave girls. I am so impressed with all the work Ingrid has done to bring awareness to this important cause. Keep up the great work!