The Memory Project is a nonprofit organization that invites art teachers and their students to create portraits for youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents and extreme poverty.
The Memory Project wants the portraits to help the children feel valued and important, to know that many people care about their well being and to act as meaningful pieces of personal history in the future. For the art students, the program wants this to be an opportunity to creatively practice kindness and global awareness, said gifted services coordinator Shauna McCranie.
Northumberland students were assigned the country of Syria for their portrait drawings, noted McCranie. The students enjoyed capturing a likeness of the children from Syria.
“This year we had a very special opportunity to create portraits for Syrian children living in a refugee camp on the Syrian border,” she said. “Their families have been living there in tents for years, ever since it became too dangerous to live in their hometowns.
“The children have so little in the refugee camp—so much of childhood lost. We therefore wanted the portraits to be fun, meaningful and personal gifts, which help to show them how much we care about their well being,” said McCranie.
Since 2004, The Memory Project has created more than 80,000 portraits for children in 35 countries. The Memory Project organization makes a video of each delivery to share with all of the art students and teachers involved. They then add a personalized introduction for every school.
Northumberland students who participated in the Memory Project this year include Taylor Rice, Emily Rice, Mia Bundy, Kendra O’Malley, Tahi Wiggins, Ashley Burgess, Jean Jett, Mya Bundy and Austin Vandelocht.
Many thanks to the Northumberland High and Middle School art departments for their assistance, Eddie Barnes and Michael Stevenson, art educators, said McCranie.