It's been well over a decade since Urban Hope began its summer camp program, fostering Savannah's children with activities that support both growth and education. The addition of a gardening and art program last year proved fruitful.
The Camp Urban Hope Fine Arts was presented in partnership with the City of Savannah Department of Cultural Affairs Weave-A-Dream program and welcomed 15 participating students to study art under retired engineer turned professional painter Bill Rousseau. Another 20 students got their hands dirty to learn the basics of gardening and food nutrition. These programs are in addition to the ongoing scheduled summer camp program, which welcomes 75 children in all.
The additional classes offered provided useful skills as well as important life lessons, said Cassie Beckwith, board member and volunteer with Urban Hope.
"It taught them patience," Beckwith said. "They learned how to work together and grow together. The gratitude wasn't always instant, but they learned to love the process."
Beckwith works as the director of marketing at Hansen Architects P.C. and spends "every other waking moment" involved with Urban Hope. She sees firsthand the positive impact the nonprofit organization has on the students it reaches. That influence will be on display for the public July 28 during the second annual Garden and Art Show.
All participating campers will display art and showcase the vegetable garden and other plantings. For the show, each student priced their own work, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to both artist and organization. Some young artists priced to move at around $40, while others aimed high hoping for upwards of $400.
"It's also a lesson in economics, supply and demand, and confidence" said Beckwith, laughing.
During the event, Big Bon Pizza will be in the garden for dinner purchases and King of Pops - Savannah will help keep you cool. Children's author Laura Henderson will also sign her newly released book.
There's been a lot of talk in Savannah recently on how the community can heal and change with the recent uptick in crime. This is how, said Beckwith, by supporting Savannah's youth.
The event is free, family friendly and open to the public. She encourages all to come, engage the young artists and talk about their work. While these kids still have a lot to learn, they also have a lot to teach.
IF YOU GO
What: Urban Hope's Garden and Art Show
When: 6 - 9 p.m. July 28
Where: Whitefield Center, 106 E. 37th St.