On Saturday, November 16, employees from UBS participated in a corporate volunteer day to help kick-off our ongoing program at Dewey Elementary Academy of Fine Arts. Dewey is located in New City and educates about 350 neighborhood students in kindergarten through eighth grade.  The one-day corporate project included a variety of activities and games focused on world geography to get students excited to participate in our soon-to-launch ongoing program. Saturday, December 7, was the first day of the ongoing Art Around the World program, and despite the freezing temperatures and 9 a.m. start time, the students clearly were thrilled for Chicago Cares once again.

I started the project on Saturday by introducing myself and asking if any of the students had participated in the Chicago Cares corporate project a few weeks back.  To my surprise, many of the students had and were enthused to share what they had done: “We created our name tags! And picked countries on the map to learn about!” I later discovered that making their “name tags” had involved actually learning to write their names in hieroglyphs after talking about Egypt, which ties directly into our ongoing-program model. When I shared that we would be following a similar structure, studying a different country or region and creating a related craft each week, the students could hardly contain their excitement.

Our first day of Art Around the World was a blast. Every student, regardless of whether they were in kindergarten or seventh grade, created an awesome toucan craft after reading about the Amazon rainforest in “The Great Kapok Tree.” All my volunteers were patient while we worked out our first-day kinks, encouraged creativity within their groups, and helped every student feel important and supported. And the entire group was sad that this was Chicago Cares’ only Saturday program in December, but eager for January 18, our next project date.

While I’m looking forward to celebrating over this holiday season, I’m also very excited to return to Dewey in January. I hope you’ll join us!

Dewey Elementary Academy of Fine Arts