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The Carthage Press
  • Art Feeds planning for Carthage move

  • A Joplin group that uses art to help children deal with trauma and do better in school is hoping to offer its services to the Carthage school with the highest number Hispanic students and students receiving free or reduced-price lunches.
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  • A Joplin group that uses art to help children deal with trauma and do better in school is hoping to offer its services to the Carthage school with the highest number Hispanic students and students receiving free or reduced-price lunches.
    Officials with Art Feeds, a group that got its start in Joplin and recently went national, held a meeting in Carthage on Wednesday at Cherry's Art Emporium on the Square to find those in the community willing to help out and donate money to start a chapter here.
    Meg Bourne-Hulsey said her group wants to start offering its program this coming semester in one of  Fairview Elementary School's classes, with the goal of expanding to all of Fairview students by the spring semester and to all the public elementary schools, as well as St. Ann's School, in the near future.
    "This fall we'll be with over 5,000 students every week in Joplin, but in Carthage, no one has seen the programming in action yet, so being in Fairview in a small classroom gives us the opportunity to show what we do," Bourne-Hulsey said. "Then hopefully we'll expand to the rest of the school and to the other schools. There are five public schools and St. Ann's, so that would be our goal ultimately."
    Bourne-Hulsey said her program started in 2009 by using art to reach behaviorally challenged students in the Joplin school district.
    She said her program would have likely remained small, except for the events of May 22, 2011 in Joplin.
    "So because of the tornado we went from just special needs and behavior disorder classrooms, marginalized students, to whole-school programming and that helped us recognize the need for expression and emotional wellness in education as well as building creative capacities," she said. "That gave us a really great platform to see, but now the curriculum and program we've developed, we think is useful anywhere, whether that's inner-city Chicago or a really rural area where students are in chronic poverty."
    Art Feeds uses volunteer teachers to help students express themselves with art. She said the program uses therapeutic arts and creative education to help students deal with trauma and express their emotions and feelings so they can better deal with these emotions and move past the trauma.
    She said Wednesday's meeting was to identify people willing to help with the program and find the money to pay the $28,500 fee to form a chapter.
    "It's not just the curriculum, it's about building the environment for the kids," she said. "We treat them as equals, we have a 4-1 ration with our educators, so with all of that, we couldn't just hand over a pile of papers to anybody. So we built this curriculum website where educators have a unique user ID and login, they have their entire semester of lessons scheduled that has been developed with an art therapist and with a mental health professional and a certified teacher."

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