Painting Joy for Children

Ms. Poirier’s art students paint for Filipino children

Ms. Michelle Poirier and her students display portraits of the Filipino child whom they painted for The Memory Project. Seated left to right are sophomore Kaitlyn Scartissi, junior Jessica Rix, sophomore Cecelia Lindo, Ms. Poirier, junior Jonathan Aiello, senior Abi Edwards, and sophomore Madelyn O’Leary. Standing left to right are seniors Nicole Marella, Katherine Marando, and Abbiejayne Cristoforo; juniors Mikayla Kane, Trinity O’Connor, Daisy Littlefield, and Roman DeBono; and senior Laila Aboudrar.

James Mulkern, Staff Writer

Since 2016, Abington High School art teacher Ms. Poirier’s students have produced artwork contributing to “The Memory Project.” This nonprofit organization invites her and her students to create portraits for children in foreign countries who are facing dire consequences, whether it be poverty, abuse, or neglect.

This is the third year Ms. Poirier’s art students have partaken in the project. This year, these aspiring artists drew children from the Philippines aged 7 through 9. These Filipino children are in a state of serious poverty, selling dumpster goods to raise money for their village.

Pictures of these children, with their name and favorite color, were shipped all the way to Abington High School where Ms. Poirier’s students chose one child’s picture and painted a portrait of that kid.

Memory Project 2018-19 Philippines

“The students are encouraged to do their portrait in any art style they choose, such as water color or oil pastel. They also incorporate their kid’s favorite color into their work,” said Ms. Poirier. On the back of each portrait the Abington High student who painted it puts their picture. When all of the portraits are finished, a group photo is taken and the portraits are shipped to the children.

Ms. Poirier stated that her “favorite aspect” of the project is when her students receive a video back of the kids receiving their portraits.

Previous paintings students in her art classes have done have brought so much delight to children in Syrian refugee camps (2017-2018) and Columbia (2016-2017), so Ms. Poirier is aware of how special a painting can be to an individual child. In addition, she stated, “Getting the portraits and learning about the children is also fun.” Many of her students still have a connection to the children they drew last year.

Ms. Poirier said that this year’s students “were really excited to see the children of the Philippines receive their portraits.”  She added that after viewing the Philippines video with her classes, “there were tears, both of happiness and because of the reminder of how these children live.”

The Memory Project lets children in need know that people from across the world are keeping them in mind and are willing to spend time painting their pictures to brighten their lives.

Students who possess artistic talent or want to pursue a future career in art are encouraged to take art classes. Not only will they learn skills, but they can also use their talent to help children in need from around the world.

Visit the website for more information and how to donate.