First, let's go back to my junior year of highschool. I had just spent a couple weeks of my summer at debate camp. The topic that year was about how to increase public health assistance to Africa. My partner and I's topic was on female genital mutilation, which was one of the horrific things I studied day after day and debated over weekend after weekend. Others included things such as black market abortions, child soldiers, and sex trafficking. I found my heart absolutely breaking as I learned more, and I found myself desperate to do something. I tried to attempt a massive event on my own, and unfortunately when I hit some obstacles, my 16 year old idealistic self was left defeated. The summer between my junior and senior year, I found myself specifically attached to sex trafficking. I read books, did research, and realized that God had put this pain on my heart for all the victims trapped in the underground world of brothels and forced prostitution. My heart aches for justice for these women, and that desire lead me to pursue pre-law so that one day I can really make a difference through international law. I have been in college now for two years, for a total of about 20 different classes, in which almost every single one of my research papers and presentations have been over something to do with sex trafficking. I am in no sense an expert, but I know enough after four years of research to break my heart every single day.
Let's go back even further to whenever I was little. I adored painting, drawing, sewing, sculpting, and making jewelry with my grandmother. At the time it was just something fun to do, but little did I know that it sparked a passion for art in my heart. My mom gave me an old polaroid camera when I was little and I would go take pictures of my friends, simply because I was in awe of the process of instantly printing images. I was by no means creative with my child photography, but it's still something I can look back on now and see how I ended up where I am today. I took art all through highschool and was so very close to going to college for art and photography. My senior year, I learned just how much I love painting and really developed. I wasn't outstanding or anything, but I grew a lot as an artist that year. Unfortunately, once college started, I simply did not keep up my creative outlets. The only thing I continue to do is photography, if only because it's not as time consuming as painting or drawing. I want art back in my life!
Okay, back to the present. I am part of an incredible small group for college students and young 20-somethings that is affiliated with an incredible church in south Austin. I am nothing less than incredibly blessed. Our small group is uniquely talented, filled with artists, photographers, musicians..all who have a huge heart for Jesus. Our church has a partnership with an organization in Haiti called HELP or Help End Local Poverty. Our church as a collective helped to build an orphanage and sponsor every single child in that orphanage. And that's awesome and incredible, but God's work isn't finished. There's the issue of older children that grow out of the orphanage being at a huge risk of being sucked into the human trafficking monster. So, what we are now doing is helping to build homes for these at-risk youth, sponsering them until they can get jobs, and even providing some jobs in the process. Each home will hold three people and a "house mom" and the best part about it is how affordable it is! One home only costs $5,500. That's a tiny $1,800 to save one child from being bought and used and tortured for who knows how long.
Well, our small group of around 12 twenty-somethings have made the commitment to build one of these homes. After the home is built, we will be able to see the house on google maps, visit the youth who live there, and develop relationships with them over time.
The first thing, we as a small group have decided to do to raise the money is by organizing a benefit. We are having a silent auction at Domincan Joe's on June 4 that will showcase awesome artists, including art from the artists in our small group. Every single penny spent will go towards the house. We will have a band there, organized by the worship leader of our church. We will (hopefully) have the director of HELP, all the way from Haiti, there to talk a little bit. Domincan Joe's offered to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the night. Wow, I am so blown away by how this is all coming together and how generous everyone has been helping out a group of young kids. God really is great, and will help you when you do His work!
I am not positive on all of the artists that will be featured there just yet, but I do know one who has been EXTREMELY generous and great with giving us not only priceless advice, but is donating a couple of his own pieces that are truly collectibles. I also know that from my small group, Bethany and Levi, Marie, Taylor, and myself will be donating two pieces each. But I am sure you guys would like to hear more about Ty Clark.
I totally encourage you guys to go look him up and learn more, but I will give you a short synopsis. He currently is the founder of Veritas, an apparel brand worn by Ed Westwick (Chuck of Gossip Girl) in the December issue of Cosmo, Sophia Bush, and other celebrities. Here's their project statement and some of their apparel that I personally like!
The Veritas Project is created to support humanitarian efforts across the globe. At the heart of Veritas is a deep burning passion for culture and community. We believe that in every form of art there is healing for the soul. Veritas gives 20% of our profit to support a number of humanitarian causes.
Ty is also an outstanding artist that I would love to have a collection of his pieces. I am not going to try to explain them, because I surely would do his work a great injustice. To find more of his work, look him up under his artist name "SAMO4PREZ" Take a look..
and my personal fav...
I am beyond honored and excited to have my own work displayed in the same benefit as his. Wow...
Anyways, that is just ONE of the artists donating pieces to be auctioned off for the home in Haiti. I'll do another post whenever I have a solid list of all the artists.
I am going to be totally transparent right now and let you guys know how special this is for me personally. I started crying whenever I talked to Ethan about this, but this cause, this specific benefit.. it really is everything that I am passionate about wrapped up into one cause. God, Justice, Service, Community, Art. He absolutely will use you and your specific gifts to honor His Kingdom if you put your whole heart into it. Even if you put your half heart into it, He'll spot you the other half. I have spent the last two years of my life going back and forth wondering if I made the right decision to not pursue art, but I realize that I was wondering the wrong thing. I should have been praying, asking God to show me how to use all of my passions as a tool for His Glory.
Now I just need to finish finals and start my pieces... (and do my part of the organization of the benefit!)
"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
over and out.