By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ)–Teens here in America are using their artistic skills to help the children in other countries who are victims of abuse, neglect, or extreme poverty.

It’s called the Memory Project, and as Mike Schuh reports, the Catholic High School of Baltimore has pitched in.

The Memory Project is a unique initiative in which art students create portraits for abandoned, orphaned and neglected children and teens from around the world.

In Madagascar, the people are poor and their income every day is about a fancy cup of coffee costs.

Now, Elaine Hummel and her students at the Catholic High School of Baltimore’s National Art Honor Society are creating portraits for children in the Madagascar area.

“I wanted to participate in a project that would make a difference in a world that seems so overwhelmed by negativity. I wanted to show our students how small things can mean so much to a child half way around the world by using their gifts of artistic ability,” said Hummel.

In order to paint children like 6-year-old Ny Antsiva, each student had to donate $15 to the Memory Project.

Much of the money was sent to the school in Madagascar  .

“When I first got the project  I  was really excited to do it because I like service projects that help people  outside the continental united states so that was pretty cool and just to help someone who is much less fortunate that  I  am,” said Hanna Haley.

Twenty-five portraits and the money was  shipped to Africa. In return, catholic high received a video seeing the pure joy in children reacting to their own image.

“I think it was better than expected,  I  think it moved all of us,” said Hummel.

The project was so moving that they are in the middle of round two.

“We’re currently working on pictures of children from Romania, drawing pictures of them,” said one student.

“I never thought drawing a portrait would wake so many unknown emotions within me,” said another Catholic High School of Baltimore honors student. “It’s not about drawing a portrait to the best of your abilities, it’s about creating a special bond with the child and learning about them through their characteristics. For me, my time and care towards the child will live in me forever.”

Since 2004 the Memory Project has created more than 80,000 portraits for children in 35 countries.

 

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