The Village Project
A Community Outreach Project
written by Debra Bailey
“We saw a need… and found a solution.”
A few months ago I spent several hours in the ER with my granddaughter. In no time, she was restless. We checked out the magazine rack to find nothing that would entertain an 8 year old. After drawing on all the scrap paper from my purse, turning twisty-ties into stick figure puppets, and thumb wrestling I was out of games. I asked the receptionist if they had any books, crayons or anything that might help my child pass the time. Sadly she shook her head and
responded, “No, sorry… I wish we did.”
This was the beginning of what became The Village Project, based on the African proverb, ‘it takes a village to raise a child.” If we each do a little, we can contribute to the greater good and well being of the entire family or community. I brought my idea for providing an activity book for children that could be donated to the hospital to my co-workers at Brown & Brown Insurance. The project was embraced with a great deal of enthusiasm.
The Village Project will provide activity books and crayons which will be donated to Holy Cross Hospital to be distributed free of charge to children throughout the hospital – whether the child is a patient, or just visiting with a family member. Additional books will be donated to the auxiliary volunteers to be sold in the gift shop. Proceeds will fund an additional project to benefits families during their stay at HCH.
We could have easily purchased an ‘off-the-rack’ coloring book. But, we wanted this project to offer more. The Village Project activity book is being designed based on the villages of New Mexico. And, of course, every good book needs a cover design.
After securing commitments from several of our local artists to donate their time and talent to young artists, an art contest was created. Students from grades K-12 are invited to submit a drawing, sketch or painting expressing the Village Project theme. The entry that is chosen as the Grand Prize Winner will be published on the cover of the activity book, which will be named, “Our Village.” Entries from the winners in each of the 4 age groups will be published within the book.
Contest information and entry forms will be distributed in the local schools over the next 2 weeks. Entry forms and information is also available at the Brown & Brown Insurance office in Taos.
1st and 2nd place winners of the Senior Division (grades 9-12) will win private art lessons from Professional Artist Leigh Gusterson and
Professional Artist Ed Heffernan.
The top two contestants in the Intermediate Division (Grades 6-8) will be given private art lessons with Professional Artist, Karen McCurtain Blair.
The winners of the Elementary Divisions K-5 will win art sets.
The contest winners will be announced and each art entry will be displayed at “The Village Project” Event on Oct 12th at Stables Gallery.
Partnering financially with Brown & Brown, Safeco Insurance Company has donated $6000 to The Village Project. Hundreds of hours have been donated by the staff members of Brown & Brown. We expect the activity books to be published and ready for delivery by early November.