IT’S THE SMALL THINGSWhile multiple studies have proven that the arts are indeed a therapeutic outlet, and contribute essentially to full cognitive development, reality has it that not all children, most especially in developing countries, have access. While the public school system aims to include aspects of this in its curriculum and everyday regimen, truth is, because academics are prioritized, sports, the arts, and any other enrichment program often become part of the extra-curricular umbrella, thus, compounding the cost to parents as well, which in turn, may sometimes deter the engagement of children.
The importance of having an artistic outlet to de-stress was recognized by Mandy Qua in 2016. A ballerina ever since childhood, and knowing that children in public school do not have access to such classes, Mandy set out to teach ballet at the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul provincial house in Parañaque. After seeing first-hand the positive effect this had on the children, she wanted to branch out more from solely teaching ballet to the arts in general to try and include the interests of all. In 2017, Arianna Borromeo joined in the program heading the classical and visual arts division that covers painting and art history. Martina, Mandy’s younger sister has chimed in as well and excitedly talks about how it has since evolved and grown further into digital media, and digital arts which encompasses the group teaching teachers Photoshop in the Bagong Tanyag Elementary School in Taguig for them to pass onto their students. These three artists are the leaders of Classikids, which through the years, has slowly, but surely grown to help and make a change.
At Classikids, the three girls (and volunteers at times) teach and hold cycles (each cycle is composed of a short curriculum) that focuses on a particular technique. For the visual arts for instance, a cycle teaches a specific artistic style or medium, and includes an aspect of art history, which Arianna (the head of this component) feels is an important aspect to fully understand the concept. For ballet, the children are taught the basic steps and warm-up techniques, and the cycle is geared to a culminating performance at the very end which they all look forward to. Classikids comes along to teach during breaks in the school year, and has gained the full support of the parents who are very keen on having them as it gives their children something to do in their free time, keeping them out of the streets. Asked what motivated them to start Classikids and what continuously encourages them to do more, Arianna is quick to respond, “The arts for them is not only about learning the skills and art history. It is a therapeutic experience for the children, and we are only grateful to have a part in it. It gives them an outlet for self expression.”
Classikids has also worked with various foundations who help and provide therapy to abused women, which Martina and Arianna consider to be some of their most memorable encounters. In doing so, when creating the cycle, they chose to focus more on activities that would have a therapeutic effect that the arts could give to teenage mothers and abused women. Seeing how much more expressive the women were at the end of the cycle, and how much more openly they embraced themselves with a heightened sense of self-esteem at the end gave the them a notion of fulfillment that what Classikids has set out to do is truly making ripples of change in the greater community.
Seeing adolescent girls so passionate about their interests’ concert efforts and come together to bring about change in the next generation and helping out is truly awe-inspiring. Here are three girls, busy with their own studies, who choose to share their own precious free time with those who need some added sunshine in their lives, by doing their own thing instead of jumping on the bandwagon of an existing program. The unique way Classikids touches the lives of those who benefit from it is something the rest of the world can learn from and emulate even in their own homes. This movement that Mandy, Arianna and Martina have begun is truly one that for generations to come, can and will hopefully continue to move minds and hearts.
*************To learn more about and/or support Classikids, you may visit their website at www.classikids.com.ph. You may also check out their Facebook page (Classi Kids Manila) or send them an e-mail to volunteer or for more information: [email protected].