Connecting girls through art
Every Friday, Eleni Latu sits in class watching the seconds slowly tick by, praying for the time when the bell rings.
But it is not so she can escape school, or because she can’t wait for the weekend to start.
It’s to rush down to Roskill Youth Zone at Wesley Community Centre for the Girls To The Front project.
‘‘I love this programme,’’ the 12-year-old says.
‘‘Normally you have to pay for these kinds of things but here we get welcomed in, we get food and we get to do something different each week.’’
Drawing is Eleni’s passion but she’s also been able to do screenprinting, sewing, and photography.
Connect The Dots Charitable Trust directors Andrea Gaskin and Selina Anderson started the project to give girls aged 10 to 14 a creative way to express themselves.
‘‘We’ve seen them come out
of their little cliques and become comfortable with one another,’’ Gaskin says.
‘‘We’ve had feedback from their teachers that some of the quieter girls have come out of their shell and now they speak up in class.’’
Gaskin says it is the only free arts programme of its kind in the area.
‘‘It is really important, especially at this age, that people have different ways of expressing themselves.’’
Anderson says it is important to get to youngsters before they arrive at high school where pressures can play a part.
‘‘We want them to be mindful of how they should see each other as a support network – not as rivals, or competition.’’
The programme has received funding from Creative Communities that will allow it to run for an additional 14 weeks.
Connect The Dots Charitable Trust directors Andrea Gaskin and Selina Anderson, at each end, are the brains behind the Girls To The Front project at Roskill Youth Zone.