I met Anna last December and helped her daughter get her art into an exhibition with me - the photo below shows us at the Auckland Outsider Art Fair - we are resting after an exciting opening. Anna is clearly moved by the situation and reflecting on the next actions she will take to help her daughter become a recognised artist. I shared with her my career pathway and gave her the details of the different government programmes (for instance the STAR programme) that allowed me to study partially via a distance programme at a Wellington-based art school.
...the follow on from that visit was that 2 months later Anna drove 300km and brought along her friend Sue who also has a disabled artists teenager. We spoke for 3 hours - the meeting was so full of joy and hope and we decided to meet again soon.
When we have more data we'll be able to carry out a qualitative analysis of the impact of these encounters - and explore ways to extend the difference we make. Really looking forward to it.
Some schools are so happy about our meetings that they write about us in their newsletter!
At the Berkley school we had a whole evening talking with parents - they shared their experience of bringing their children up - when a child has a disability, this is a source of great stress for the parents - and meeting a young adult that went through a similar childhood as their child makes a lasting positive impact - that is what parents tell us! We find out, sometimes through chance meeting with parents months later that they were energised and reinforced in their resolve to help their children through...