On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Color me ECSTATIC!

I am so excited! My volunteer Arts and Crafts proposal was accepted by the directors and supervisory staff at Juvenile Hall. This is a first and breaks all protocol. I have taught Arts and Crafts as a volunteer at Juvenile Hall for years, but the model has always been:
1) mandatory participation 2) one activity 3) follow the directions 4) no talking between tables 5) bring in/count out only low-risk materials, etc.

My suggestion was to do things completely oppositely: 1) participation is voluntary 2) each participant is GIVEN a free sketchbook to fill, own and take home 3) offer several activities simultaneously with help and instruction on each 4) use a small activity room and encourage conversation 5) bring dinner into the room and offer the program throughout the dinner hour 6) offer something totally new such as carving rubber stamps with sharp gouges.

I plan to provide materials and instruction on zentangling, manga, rubber stamp carving, collage, drawing and seasonal activities such as making cards to celebrate Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, etc.

But here's the shocker: The staff came up with the idea to embellish the program and make it even more attractive and privileged by offering DESSERT with the meal! Yay! That means ice cream, cake and cookies, treats that are sparsely used. Juvenile Hall uses a daily point system. I had asked if there was any way the boys could earn extra points for voluntarily participating. No to that, but dessert was thrown in, the very same incentive idea.

I requested an August 11 start-up. I've already ordered 20 sketchbooks in various styles, black manga pens and carving tools and hope it all arrives on time. I'm starting to gather up all the supplies I have stockpiled for the various projects and will put together a book of tutorials to follow. I need to make a poster for the housing unit. I need to make plans, I need to calm down.

Let's face it: Juvenile Hall is a jail for teenagers. Offering them choices and sharp tools and dessert on top of it is a real change. I cannot wait to get started. And you will be hearing all about it..... you already knew that, right?


  1. This is going to be great for these teenagers. I am so happy for you that your plan was accepted. Will be looking forward to how things go !!

  2. Best of luck! You may be onto something.

  3. Hi Ginny -- And I can't wait to tell you!

    John -- That is my hope.... If I was locked up (or even stuck in an airport), I would pull out my art journal. Wouldn't you?

  4. This is so totally wonderful! Congratulations, congratulations, and more congratulations, Barbara--I'm going to be eager to read about how it all goes!


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