Explorations with Paint Love

The refugee girls in our Young Women’s Leadership Program found their voices during the first workshop of the year, thanks to our partnership with Paint Love. Pictured above: YWL senior Mary Par (left) poses with mentor Avani Patel (right) and guest artist Penny Treese (center). 

How can you refocus negative comments you hear (or think) about yourself into assets? Paint Love, a nonprofit organization in Decatur, Georgia, helped the young women in our Young Women’s Leadership Program (YWLP) explore that topic during their October 21st workshop.

YWLP provides 22 high school refugee students with Saturday workshops focused on financial literacy, career development, health education and personal exploration. The students are paired with American adult women who support them in their self-discovery, teach them new skills and help prepare them for college.

Paint Love focuses on connecting  young adults through various art projects with the goals of introducing youth to creativity and empowerment. Local artist Penny Treese facilitated and directed the YWLP art workshop to focus on self-expression through art.

Both YWLP students and their female mentors were asked to create five negative comments that they had made about themselves. Afterwards, they were asked to reflect and make the negative comments into positive comments, representing their ability to see the assets and strengths in themselves. One mentor, Abigail, shared that a negative comment she has heard about herself is that she is too loud. Her mentee, a student from Iraqi, offered that she was not too loud but, instead, she needed others to listen and hear her voice.

The art project overall brought awareness to the young women about their skills and abilities to overcome their self-doubt. Students and mentors created watercolor collages that represented their inner strength and creativity. They painted and used a variety of artistic mediums to create pictures that represented themselves and the positive comments they had written. The young women enjoyed the opportunity to be creative and write messages of empowerment about their gifts and talents.

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