We are excited to share news from our grantees as they continue to provide great programs despite all the challenges we are facing. This week, we welcome Kristin Hill, an alumni of the YAP program who runs the instagram account @theyoungartistprogram.
Your organization works with a small group of young people from the LGBT community over multiple years. How were you able celebrate your graduates last year and then to reach out and engage new participants for your new cohort during COVID?
Sadly, we had to celebrate separately because of COVID, but Mel and Sam (Lead Teaching Artists at the time) did drive-bys with decorated cars and lots of honking. Each of us got flowers, balloons and a little goodie bag of gifts with self care items. We took socially distant photos in our caps and gowns..it was cute!
Recruiting primarily happened over social media, particuarlying instagram. Our hope is that our caring and kindness for others would shine through on our social media–and it did! We were able to recruit and get a whole new cohort of 8 students.
What approaches are you using to create community among these new folx in our socially-distant/virtual universe?
We still hold the program on zoom from Tuesday-Friday, which is a space where people can come to play games, work on their individual and group art projects, and connect with each other. Mental Health Mondays; a story series where we ask questions in our stories to our followers and respond and share back, has been a great way too. We really want people to know that we care about them and that we’re always open to chat, so we started asking our followers questions about self-care and mental health on Mondays. It’s been really good to hear people’s answers and to help us all feel like none of us are in this alone.
Having to do things virtually has also brought us some really fun new ideas! We’re currently doing a virtual art auction, something we probably never would have done if there wasn’t a pandemic. We had an opening night over zoom and played games and shared space virtually with the community, it was so fun and sweet!
What have you learned during COVID that you will use even after COVID has passed?
It’s still possible to find connections and to care for people virtually. Virtual hugs are still valid!
How are you caring for yourself and other program members during this time?
For myself, I try to take at least one day a week for myself. That can mean making art and jewelry or watching Bob’s Burgers. I’m trying to maintain some sense of normalcy and make sure I’m living the life that I want.
We’re all really trying to do our best to care for people over text and zoom calls. I think compliments go a long way! I try to uplift everyone in the program and spread the love and joy.
Best. Snack. Ever.
Dominos Lava Crunch Cakes with a little ice cream on top.. Best thing in the world! I encourage everyone to try it 🙂
Part of a continuing series featuring our 2020 Bartol Grantees.