My husband, Mark Buckley, at the Lupus Foundation of America, Heartland Chapter's WolfRide GranFondo, "TAME THE WOLF."
Mark completed all 112 miles; the very first time he attempted this feat!
The Memory Project allows for orphans worldwide to receive portraits by American students. (CBS)
The Memory Project is a unique initiative in which art students create portraits (drawings, paintings, graphic design, etc) for children and teens around the world who have been orphaned, neglected, or disadvantaged.
To do this, the artists receive photos of kids waiting for portraits and then work from those photos to create the portraits. Next, we deliver the portraits to the kids as special gifts, and we also take photos of them holding the portraits.
The goal of the project is to inspire caring, global friendship, and a positive sense of self.
Given that kids who have been orphaned or neglected usually have few personal keepsakes, the purpose of the portraits is to provide them with a special memory of their youth, to honor their heritage and identity, and to help them build a positive self-image. We want to help the kids see themselves as works of art.
Regarding the art students who make the portraits, this is an opportunity for them to open their hearts to youth who have endured many hardships, and to promote the value of sharing kindness with others.
The project was developed by Ben Schumaker as a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin.
In 2003, while volunteering in Guatemala, Ben encountered a man who had grown up in an orphanage. This man explained that he did not have any personal belongings from his youth. He suggested that Ben help the kids collect special items that would contribute to their sense of identity and self-worth.
From this, Ben envisioned that having portraits made by art students would be a way to connect American youth with kids from other countries in a meaningful exchange of caring. The Memory Project was officially born in the fall of 2004.
In total, art students from the USA, UK, and Canada have created more than 25,000 portraits for children around the world.
Each child in our program ultimately receives a couple portraits made by different artists. This provides each child with a small collection of portraits honoring her or his unique identity. Thus, the number of children who have received portraits through the Memory Project is roughly half the number of portraits produced.
The children's immediate reactions to the portraits tend to vary by age. Young children are most noticeably thrilled to receive them. They hold their portraits proudly and show them to everyone around.
Teenagers usually prefer to receive their portraits privately in a place where their peers are not crowded around to see. While their immediate reactions are not as easy to assess as the younger children's, they often display the portraits in their lockers or even prop them on their pillows.
In general, kids of all ages react most strongly to high quality portraits that are true to their likeness.
"I want to say thank you on behalf of all the children for your wonderful project. I grew up at a children's home in Mexico; I was one of those children whose memories were not captured. I am very sure that the children will always remember everyone in the Memory Project who is helping them keep a memory of their childhood with a portrait." - Betty Flores
If you are a teacher whose students would like to make portraits, please contact:
Director: Ben Schumaker
Ben is dedicated to fast, reliable communication and nearly always responds within 24 hours. If you do not receive a response within 24 hours, please call to follow up (since schools sometimes block email, Ben wants to make sure he is able to communicate with you).
The Memory Project
PO Box 369
Sun Prairie, WI 53590
Please visit the website for more information: http://www.dailygood.org/more.php?n=4247