Profile of a CCISD Graduate, Part 2

Profile of a CCISD Graduate, Part Two
Posted on 05/19/2020
CFHSHelena Pippert and Kelly Putman have had an interest in the arts from a very young age.

Helena spent her time illustrating her own books and taking piano lessons from her grandmother. Kelly attributes her interest to great art teachers throughout her schooling.

“I had a really awesome teacher at Stewart Elementary,” said Kelly. “I remember we did all of these after school activities where we would study art from different cultures and recreate the pieces which I loved doing. It expanded my outlook on different ways of learning.”

Helena’s and Kelly’s passions merged in 6th grade during art class at League City Intermediate where they bonded over their love for creating and honing their skills.

“We sat next to each other that day and have been friends ever since,” said Helena.

When the pair reached Clear Falls High School their interests expanded, and they began looking for ways to give back. Kelly’s mom introduced them to an after-school program at a local elementary where she worked.

“In January 2019, we started working with 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which is a program that offers after-school care for families who are on the lower-income scale or can’t afford daycare,” said Kelly. “It started out as once a week we would go to La Marque Primary School and do some art with the kids there.”

Kelly and Helena felt a calling to expand on the activities and lessons they were doing with the students.

“We wanted to increase our ability to help these kids. We wanted to offer them the same opportunities we had growing up through art classes and really put in the time and effort into what we were doing since so many of them didn’t have access to this stuff at school or at home,” said Kelly.

This is where the idea of starting their own non-profit came to life. They created a business and went through the process of applying for vendorship and writing a grant through 21st Century.

The pair was awarded $3,600 in funding for the 2019-2020 school year to continue and expand their program, which they named Create 4 Life.

“We immediately went to a bookstore and bought loads of coloring books and educational books so that we could start doing new things with the students,” said Helena.

They would spend two hours a week volunteering at the school. As there were approximately 150 students in the 21st Century program, they would rotate them and work with around 8 students a week.

“Our goal was to teach them things like texture and patterns, and work with them to learn how to draw from real life,” said Helena. “But as much as it was about expanding their skills, it was also about how to strengthen their relationships with one another and to build their creativity and confidence within themselves.”

They quickly began to see the positive influence their teachings had on the students through creating, thinking outside the box and overcoming insecurities. They knew they had a bigger role of being someone that the students could trust and look up to.

“There were a couple of children who really struggled when they would try to draw something and think they failed,” said Helena. “It was nice having the ability to sit down with them individually and talk them through it while looking at their art piece. I would tell them that mistakes can be turned into something beautiful with art and that it’s okay to make them.”

During the current COVID-19 crisis, they knew they wanted to find a way to continue to connect with their students.

“We got guidance from the other program sponsors and decided to film some art lessons the students could do at home and posted them to the 21st Century Facebook group,” said Kelly. “We also made a Create 4 Life YouTube channel so we can even share these lessons with the larger public.”

As for the future of the program after they graduate, Kelly and Helena are hoping to inspire other students who may be looking to continue their legacy or start initiatives of their own.

“I think art provides an outlet for some of the energy that kids have and a space where you can focus and create something positive in your life where maybe you don't have so many positive things going right now,” said Helena. “Especially in a time like this, art is so important to have.”

Kelly will be attending the University of Cincinnati to study industrial design and Helena will be attending Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee to study biology.

The public can view their art lessons on YouTube and follow their work on Instagram.
©2018 CLEAR CREEK INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT | Powered by: SchoolMessenger | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Login