— St. Luke’s United Methodist offers an outreach ministry that hosts frequent art workshops for children and teens.
The art pieces were all framed in black and hung in two rows, the descriptions typed out and accompanying each one — giving the space a true sense of being an art gallery.
It was, in fact, the Maxey Community Center, on Klondike Street in Winter Garden, where students were recognized Friday, March 20, for their crayon and black tempera-paint creations depicting assets and dreams.
The students created the art last year at Lakeview Middle School and during the Police Athletic League’s summer program. St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, near Windermere, brought the program to the children through its ArtWorks outreach ministry. Organizer Renee Schneider talked to the students about community assets and then asked them to draw someone or something that fit that role. Participants also worked on a picture of their dreams. And then they wrote a paragraph about each thought.
Last week, the community gathered to see the works of art and to take part in various activities. The Black and Gold Quintet, from Ocoee High School, performed, as did the vocal group Faithful is Her Heart. Dinner was served to those in attendance, as well.
Here are some of the children’s assets and dreams:
Amaria Manning, 13: “My dream is to improve Zanders Park. This will make my community better because we will have a nice clean place for kids to play. If they make Zanders Park better, more people will want to go there. It is the only park in our neighborhood so it should be nice.”
Kesha Lantigua, 11: “My asset is the Fourth of July event. I like it because all of the neighbors come to see the fireworks. They shoot off their own fireworks too.”
Valerin Arias, 11: “My dream is for the community to have a nail salon. This community would be way better because there aren’t any nail salons close by. Almost all girls love getting their nails done!”
Bubba, 12: “In the hood Tony’s store is an asset. Tony sells sodas, chips, juice and donuts. I like having Tony’s because I can walk there. He sells things we need and like.
Bubba, 12: “My dream is to have a pizza restaurant in our community. Most people like pizza, and it’s real cheap. My grandpa wants to open a pizza restaurant. I hope I can help him. I don’t want to have to drive so far to get pizza.”
Keniyah Chestnut, 10: “My asset is my great-grandma working in the community garden. I chose it because eating healthy organic food is important to me. My great-grandma grows squash and carrots in the East Winter Garden Community Garden. Fresh food tastes extra good!”
Keniyah Chestnut, 10: “My dream is to have people clean up and paint over graffiti. Freshly painted walls and buildings make the community look better. Good people will move in. Also, people in the community will have more pride and take better care of everything.”
Alicia Adams, 12: “The Father-Daughter Dance is an asset in my community because it brings fathers and daughters together. When I went to it with my dad it was so much fun! My dad and I walked out of there knowing so much more about each other. I hope that every father and daughter gets a chance to do what my father and I did.”
Ty’ya Benyard, 12: “My dream is a chicken restaurant. This will make the community better because everyone loves chicken. I think there should be more restaurants. I think a lot of people would like that.”
Ty’ya Benyard, 12: “My asset is the Heritage Museum. This is a positive influence because people can learn more about Winter Garden’s history. I had to do a scavenger hunt for Lakeview Middle School about Winter Garden. The Heritage Museum helped me get a lot of answers.”
Kelshya Thomas, 15: “Ms. (Sebrenia) is an asset to my community because she helps out in the community all the time. She helps others when they need it. She is also a role model to some of the kids."
Kelshya Thomas, 15: “My dream is to have a dance center. A dance center will better the community because it will keep kids involved in something positive and out of trouble. The dance center should teach hip-hop and competitive dance. Many kids would have fun learning how to dance.”
Emanuel Battle, 11: “My asset is my mom Delores. She sells Kool-Aid in my neighborhood. After football practice my friends and I stop by her house and buy some Kool-Aid.”
Omarian Robinson, 12: “My dream is to have a Key Master Arcade. I like it because you can get good prizes such as an iPad, silly bands, iPod, Beats headphones and a Galaxy phone. It gives me something to do. It doesn’t cost that much and I won’t be at home bored.”
Diego Ranya, 9: “My asset is Jose Razo. He fixes bikes. This asset is a positive influence in my community because it helps kids. When kids have bikes that are fixed they can ride to their friends’ houses. They can have fun together. We can swim at each other’s houses or ride our bikes to the pond.”
A’liyah Bryant, 12: “My dream is to have an animal shelter. Every day I see lots of stray animals running loose in our community. They don’t have homes or food and they get run over and killed. They really need homes!”
Liyan Hassell, 10: “I wrote about my teacher Mrs. Jennifer. She is a positive asset by teaching kids in my community. She also lives in my neighborhood and knows the kids. She teaches us about the Bible. She takes us on trips every month. We go to the beach if we have good behavior.”
Liyan Hassell, 10: “My dream is to be a champion gymnast and win first place with an Olympic gold medal. Then I could help my community with all the money I would get for reaching first place. I could build houses, feed people or donate things to people. … This could also work for other girls in the neighborhood. It would give them something fun to do. They could win a medal and win a lot of cash.”
Destiny Samon, 14: “Our community garden is an asset because people can grow their own fruits, vegetables and flowers. The food is fresher, more organic and healthier. I would like my community plot to have flowers and strawberries.”
Destiny Samon: “My dream is to have all the houses in our community fixed up and to have no abandoned houses. Houses that are in disrepair are dangerous. … If all those houses were fixed up, our neighborhood would look so much better and people would be happier and safer living there.”
Dekayla Brand, 14: “My asset is Mr. Robert. He fixes bikes. When you need your bikes fixed you can take it to him and he will fix it for you. Then you go and pick it up. Now you can ride your bike with your best friend!”
Noel Moore, 11: “The farmers market is an asset in our community because it helps people have fresh clean groceries for a great price! Also the farmers market has great treats, such as Icees, popcorn and wonderful fresh-squeezed orange juice.…”