“Looking into your eyes, I can see life, from my eyes to yours I can feel it.”
By: Le’Jon A. Payne
What an amazing day, what an amazing journey. Working with the kids at JEHO was an experience I will always remember. From the moment we walked in we were greeted with love, warm embraces and big smiles. What was most interesting to me, is that I am a stranger, in a strange place, surrounded by children I don’t know. Who are very welcoming in a calm and mature manner. These children had never seen me before, they didn't even know my name, but to them, my purpose, the Necessary Arts visit was a meaningful opportunity, that was well worth the wait.
As the students lined up chairs and sat closely to one another, they waited patiently for the leaders of NA to tell them the next steps. We worked together as a whole group introducing ourselves as facilitators and then the students asked could they introduce themselves. This was a significant moment for them. It was very important, that every child had a name that went with their beautiful face and radiant spirit. It was important that they got the opportunity to introduce themselves to say their name, who they were, something special about themselves. It was important that each child from 2 years of to 17 years old, had a place. This environment, was definitely an environment of love, where no one was forgotten and from the youngest to the oldest, each person had value. I felt at home immediately, and definitely welcomed. It was now my turn to impart the feelings that theses wonderful and warm spirits had imparted to me, back to them. The concept of sowing and reaping. It was my turn to sow seeds that would empower these 40 young people through the arts to express themselves and allow their minds to be stimulated for mature growth, but most of all develop a confidence to believe and achieve whatever their pure hearts desired.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1, ACTION! As we transitioned into our acting class, I was amazed at the amount of confidence that the young performers had. Their confidence was radiant and each participants brought LIFE to each session. We began with a warm up, ZIP, ZAP, ZOP! The kids loved this warm up and within minutes took over the game and began to lead as experts. We then worked together in a small group to discuss emotions and how we can demonstrate our emotions without words. I performed a few scenarios for participants and they guessed what emotion my character was portraying. Again, the students were eager, they were soon leading and demonstrating their own scenarios.We soon began working on scripts. At first the participants were timid and weren't confident in reading the script aloud. So I decided to take it slow and read each line, act it out, and then allow each group to follow my lead. Soon after the participants were leading the group and didn't need my help. By the end of the session they had memorized the script and were ready to present in front an audience.
What is amazing about these kids is not who they are or the circumstances that they are experiencing, but what is inside of them. I love the fact that they had so much life inside of them and they were not afraid to give this life, this bright light inside of them to others. Necessary Arts provided a platform, that they loved, for them to be able to express themselves, to communicate, to say their name, to have another place in the world, where they had value and meaning, through artistic expression.
Reaching the unreachable. We would never be able to reach these kids within the confines of our own community. The gift of being able to travel to meet them where they are is priceless. A lot times, humble servants come to be a gift to others, but it is always the most amazing experience, when you have actually received a gift. These bright eyed, pleasant, beautiful faces, gave the gift of life from their eyes to mine, in JEHO. I do believe today we were able to reach our goals and we were rewarded for it, by watching their confidence run across the stage as they presented the life inside of them to others.