Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Project Update: AIDS Access


We've partnered with an organization called AIDS Access that promotes awareness within the community about AIDS and provides assistance to youth with AIDS by means of programs like art therapy, leadership training, etc.

This past weekend, we had the opportunity to attend a weekend camp sponsored by AIDS Access, at a local Buddhist temple, where we were able to interact with the youth leaders.

We sponsored an art therapy class where we taught techniques for sketching, painting, and using perspective. They were given time to find something that inspired them, sketch it, and then paint it. Their work came out beautifully and we were all very pleased with the results; they are very talented. We plan to sell their paintings, along with other items they have crafted, in two weeks at a booth on the local Walking Street (Saturday night market) to raise money for the Aids Access program.

They had also expressed a need for the youth to learn marketing skills so they would have a better way to sell the craft items they make at local markets. So we also sponsored a simple marketing class during the camp where, among other things, we taught them a series of simple English phrases to help them in their selling, for example: "This is for a charity.", "Please make a donation," etc. They really seemed to enjoy themselves during the market simulation game we played and they had fun selling their folded paper products to the volunteers for Monopoly money.

In return, they let us join in their game when they played what we can only think to call, "The Powder Game". Here's the gist: everyone sits in a big circle and passes around a marker while music plays. They didn't tell us what would happen if we got stuck with the marker when the music stopped, only that it would be a surprise... perhaps we should have been more concerned with what happened to us if we didn't have the marker when the music stopped! When the music stopped, whoever had the marker would draw a slip of paper and read its message. The slips contained things like, "people with long hair," "all the volunteers," and "people wearing bracelets". The person who drew the paper then got a handful of baby powder poured into their hands and had to go around the circle and "powder" everyone who fit the criteria listed on the paper. Being 'powdered' consisted of them wiping some of the baby powder on your cheeks (or, if there was no room left there, on your forehead or nose!). Whatever powder isn't used up by the time he or she finished powdering everyone else, that person had to powder themselves with. It was so much fun! We were covered in powder!

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