Ten children between the ages of 5 through 11 participated in a workshop called "Inner Ropes Course - Creative Team Building by Using Art for Big Purpose" at the Childspirit Conference at Asilomar, Ca., Oct. 8-10, sponsored by ChildSpirit Institute and by IONS.
The young people saw examples of collaborative paintings done by young people with a service in mind - to go to a prison, to honor the children of a rural community on a highway, to bring a message of peace to the world, to go to a hospital or nursing home.
I brought a 4' x 4' underpainting divided into four parts for transporting cross country, consisting of a golden sun surrounded by stars and galaxies with a red spiral in each corner and a red "X" in the middle, dividing the sun in the four directions. After telling the children that the word "Human" means "Divine Hand," I invited them to trace their hand on a piece of paper and fill it with an image of what they want to give the world.
Part of determining their gift was to look at what they love as the source of their offering. Messages such as "kids can change the world" and "kids can make a difference" appeared, as did yin/yang fingertips, abstract designs, pure energy, the solar system and a many layer heart. After everyone completed their hand image, new ideas started to come - mother earth with a girl and a boy on each side, little hands in the sun and the rhythm of hands delightfully interrupted by an animal presence.
Upon completion, the young people determined the "Big Purpose" for their painting - a homeless children's shelter. A participant at the Childspirit conference had just received a large grant to build a homeless shelter for children in Texas. The painting, entitled "The Home Within", will be shipped to the shelter, realizing the children's intention.