Art is not about getting it “right.” It’s about creating and possibilities. Infinite Possibilities. It’s about Yes.
Cathi Mezzopera, Founder and Director of A Kid at Art For the Heart™ provides fun and engaging art classes to her young preschool students, and in so doing empowers them to believe in themselves and to know that they can do it. She provides the YES, in a No World.
To many children, the world is full of possibility. Unfortunately, for some children who may be victims of the Opioid Epidemic, have developmental disabilities or who are otherwise disadvantaged seeing those possibilities may be more difficult. Cathi’s art instruction is not at all about “getting it right” because there is no “right” in art. The greater lesson is seeing and exploring the possibilities.
This lesson is one the children can draw on later in all facets of their lives, not just art.
Cathi has been providing art instruction to Geauga and Lake counties since 2001. She originally started “A Kid at Art” as a for profit business that evolved from Mommy and me classes, to classes for Homeschoolers, to classes for Public schools.
In 2014, Cathi continued to serve the community in an even more creative way. She purchased a bus, outfitted it as a classroom and went mobile bringing her classroom to the children.
Cathi’s mission is “to give every child in Geauga and Lake County a chance at a great start in life through active engagement with the arts during the early years of childhood development.” Unfortunately eventual school budget cuts would interfere with that mission. They may have been a setback, but budget cutbacks didn’t change the mission. She knew just needed to be creative to keep accomplishing it.
In 2016 Cathi founded A Kid at Art For the Heart™, a 501c (3) non-profit organization offering under-served and disadvantaged preschool children innovative, community-responsive art education. Their pilot program began in January, 2017 with funding from The Cleveland Foundation. They started with 40 Head Start students in the pilot. They have already grown to over 150+ students from Head Start, Geauga Preschools and other preschools in the surrounding area that they reach with their mobile classroom.
Their “inspiration-on-the-move” programming is delivered to the doorsteps of schools and human service organizations throughout Geauga and Lake Counties in their fun and colorful, fully-equipped mobile classroom.
Communicating and expressing feelings, emotions, and needs are difficult for any preschool child and even more so for many of the children with whom Cathi works. Geauga Preschools have adopted the “Zones of Regulation” curriculum which is geared toward helping students gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem solving abilities. Using a cognitive behavior approach, the curriculum’s learning activities are designed to help students recognize when they are in different states called “zones,” with each of four zones represented by a different color.
Cathi has incorporated the Zones of Regulation and associated colors into her own art curriculum providing an easy transition and shared language between school and art class. Art is, of course, free form but this structural foundation for communication helps young students to navigate their feelings and express them through their art.
The children are having fun, being creative, exploring the possibilities. The experience and learning that Cathi and A Kid at Art For the Heart™ are providing are making a difference, building self-esteem, teaching kids to believe in themselves.
Want to make a difference too?
There are a variety of ways for you to support art classes for the under-served and disadvantaged preschool children of Geauga and Lake Counties:
– Financial Donations
– Referrals – What groups do you know that would benefit from art classes?
– Fundraising Efforts – Are you an event planner in search of a good cause?
To learn more:
A Kid At Art for the Heart, Inc.
12012 Mayfield Road Suite #2
Chardon, Ohio 44024