LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Before the pandemic, art instructor Honora Comer says she loved volunteering to teach art to second graders at Robert E. Lake Elementary School.
But when Clark County School District decided at the beginning of the school year to do full-time distance learning, students did not have access to art supplies that usually were shared at school. Comer, known to students as "Ms. Birdie," and second-grade teacher Ms. Cormier are helping students get art supplies just in time to make Valentine's Day cards.
“I was going into the classroom and doing paintings with them ... the shut down in March it put an end to it,” Comer said.
As the school district works out details of sending some students back for in-person instruction, students are still at home. Comer said she saw the positive impact that art activities had on students.
The pandemic didn't stop her from connecting with the students through art. Comer has already bought enough art supplies for one class of kids to have a virtual Valentine's Day paint party, and she says she plans to raise money to supply kits to more kids.
“We had to do it different,” said Comer, "So I did a fundraiser on GoFundMe to raise money and I went out and bought a bunch of art supplies and we gave them out to the kids so they could paint from home.”
Both Comer and the Robert E. Lake teacher Ms. Cormier said that the benefits of art instruction go beyond just the projects. Like many of us, the students are feeling the stress of this pandemic, and "art therapy" can help with that, she said.
“It's just a way of involving the kids,” said Cormier. “Giving them a positive way to express themselves.”
“A lot of people are saying that the kids are falling behind this year in school,” said Comer, “I disagree with that statement, I feel like they are surviving a pandemic. Just like the rest of us are,"
Students now have the supplies that they need to not only express themselves in art projects, but also to spread Valentine's Day love through art projects.
“They are excited about it," said Cormier, “In fact today, one (student) said can ‘I make a valentine? I just need to make one.’ Because they now have their supplies,” Comer said.
To learn more about the fundraiser, click here.