High school students and teachers from 12 local school districts participated in the Memory Project this year by creating 32 portraits of children living in Nigeria.
Participants include Aubrey Skiver, Breanna Cooper, and Leia Lynn of South Webster High School; Amadea Everman and Mrs. Tiffany Moore of Clay High School; Olivia Hilton, Emilie Johnson, Rebecca Morgan, Abigail Webb, and Mrs. Kelly Montgomery of Valley High School; Bree Lodwick of Oak Hill High School; Kathryn Nelson and Ella Kirby of Notre Dame High School; Olivia Jenkins, Avla Abrams, and Mr. Charlie Haskins of Green High School; Isabella Fitch, Emily Cram, and Ms. Anne Caudill or Minford High School; Miranda Kilgallion of Portsmouth West High School; Mahayla Blevins, Karleyann Stephens, and Ms. Mary Hess of Glenwood High School; Kylie Underwood of Portsmouth High School; Linden Crabtree, Tayler Freeland, Jasmine Bowen, Hannah Jones, and Brooklyn Hawes of Northwest High School; and Malachi Foreman, Tiffany Sexton, and Amanda Salmons of Wheelersburg High School.
The Memory Project is coordinated locally by Sharee Price, Gifted Services Coordinator at the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center, in New Boston, Ohio.
The Memory Project is dedicated to promoting intercultural awareness, friendship, and kindness between children around the world through the universal language of art. “I always look forward to seeing the portraits and having students complete them near the Christmas holiday truly embodies the spirit of giving to others during this special time of year,” Price said.
The Memory Project is a national project that was founded by Ben Schumaker in 2004 and has involved over 310,000 youth in the programs it provides. It is a unique initiative in which art students create original portraits for children who have been abandoned, orphaned, abused or neglected and who don’t normally have keepsakes of their childhood. The project strives to give them something precious they can keep and to give them a sense of self-worth, knowing that someone cared enough to take the time to create a portrait of them. Local high school art students receive photographs of children who are waiting for portraits, then work in their art classrooms to create the portraits. The portraits are delivered to the children and a video is made of the event.
"We are deeply grateful to art students and teachers from Scioto County for their heartfelt dedication to these efforts. With help from Ms. Sharee Price, we've been fortunate to have art students from your area schools involved for the past 16 years, creating special portraits for 417 children in 15 countries. Looking at all schools nation-wide, the Scioto County area group is the only one that has been involved in this project every single year since 2007. I’m tremendously appreciative of that,” commented Schumaker.
The portraits will be delivered to the children in Nigeria in early 2023. “It is our hope that this worthy project which enriches the lives of so many children in other countries will continue for many years to come”, Price said.