This fall, each of our Villages were given the opportunity to explore the joy of painting. Artist Nancy Wolfe, longtime SOS Children’s Villages Illinois supporter and wife of Board President, Jim Wolfe, brought paints and canvases to our children and offered an interactive class and workshop.
Youth in Care Taught the Joy of Painting
With canvases, paints, and brush sets, the workshop began with the basics of a painting’s composition and topics like focal point, harmony, balance, and more. Quickly the focus of the workshop shifted to encouraging the children in our care to focus on creativity rather than being critical of what they were painting. Nancy, the workshop’s instructor, helped each child explore painting their canvases with hearts to remind the young artists to focus on what it is they want to say with their art. By the end of the workshop, each child had finished an entire piece and felt very accomplished.
Visiting our Villages? Don’t forget to check out the art from these workshops displayed at the sites.
Jim Wolfe and Nancy Sundstrom Wolfe Show Support for the Villages
Jim and Nancy are far from strangers at SOS Children’s Villages Illinois. Two years ago, Jim and Nancy sat down with a journalist for Hinsdale Living Magazine, where they shared how they heard about SOS Illinois and what it means to create opportunities like this workshop for the children at SOS Illinois.
“I found out about SOS Children’s Villages Illinois from a friend who was serving on the board,” Jim shared in the article. “Historically, my company had been involved in supporting a lot of Chicago-area organizations in various ways, but I felt that by consolidating our efforts and support, we could make a bigger impact, so I had been researching how to do that.”
Attending an information dinner at SOS Ilinois, meeting some of the children in the program and learning about the organization’s structure and purpose, made a deep impression on Jim. He shared, “I remember about half way through the dinner, I said, “OK, just tell me what you need. I’m on board.” Jim is now the President of the Board of Directors, and is a big believer in the SOS Illinois model of care.
“Keeping the siblings together, having a full-time Foster Parent living with them in a home environment for the length of time they need, not having them shuttled through a sequence of different foster homes—it all works. It takes a tremendous amount of money to do this, but societally, it has tremendous payback: We are able to stabilize and educate these kids so that despite a difficult beginning, they stay in school, enter society, and give back.”
Jim and Nancy are living examples of what it means to jump into our mission. When reminiscing on a previous art workshop with our children in foster care, Nancy shared, “We did all kinds of things…some one day projects, some four-day projects. In the beginning, some of the kids would just peep in the door, too shy to come in.” Nancy recalled. “But after a few weeks, the trust was there and they really joined in.”
“The best thing you can do is to just get to know SOS (Illinois),” Jim summerized. “Visit the facility in Lockport—just minutes from Hinsdale. Volunteer for an event. Attend a dinner. Just meeting the staff and seeing how SOS Illinois works, ideas will come to you of the best ways you are equipped to help.”
Painting Contributes to Health and Wellness at SOS Illinois
Painting with Nancy is just one way that the youth in our care have enjoyed the peaceful, creative practice of art-making. As part of our Health & Wellness program, the SOS Illinois community explores different ways to nourish the mind and practice self-care through artistic exploration. Check out other stories on our blog, like this one, about Health & Wellness initiatives, and consider making a gift to a community to be used to help our families