Con­nect­ing girls through art

Central Leader - - NEWS - By ROSE CAW­LEY

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.

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