VALRICO, Fla. -
I remember art -- one of those "fun" classes that came around once a week in school that they used to call "specials." Who knew that all the while we were coloring and stuff... We were actually learning.
"They get a little bit of math, they get a little bit of science," said
Shelly Valdez, an art instructor at Lithia Springs Elementary School in Valrico. "We do writing, we incorporate words sometimes, so I kind of feel like we encompass all of the different subjects in art."
So sneaky those art instructors... especially the ones who've been at it awhile -- like Ms. Valdez -- who's now into here 11th year of teaching. These days, she's taking those lessons a little further.
"We're also going to be teaching them that they can use their art to make a difference in other people's lives," she said.
"And," she added, "we're going to be using it as a way to raise money for people that are less fortunate."
In fact, this class is making pinch bowls to give away as part of the Empty Bowls project --a national program designed to highlight hunger in our midst.
A March 9th fundraiser for Brandon's Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO) will feature a soup dinner and these handmade bowls -- to be taken home as a reminder that nearly one in eight people right here in our community struggle with food insecurity every day.
"Kids really actually have a heart for helping and they really like to be involved and doing something," said Stacey Efaw, ECHO's Executive Director.
And if that something is artful -- all the better!
"It's a very creative process for me," said student Haley Manigold. "So I like to be creative."
Creative yes -- but also aware.
"We can't just say it's good enough," said 5th grader Logan Beatty. "But we have to try to make it as best as we can."