If one were to visit Boys & Girls Clubs of Rochester on 500 Genesee Street, he or she would likely find Mr. Stewart in the art studio giving instructions on a fun new medium.
A regular art-room volunteer – often more than three times a week – Mr. Stewart enjoys the diversified instruction Club members receive in the art program. “Having art for three to four hours is incredible and serves as a tremendous outlet for kids,” said Mr. Stewart. “It’s evident that the kids experience a ‘hiatus’ when they spend time in the art room.”
In addition to being able to unwind and use the space as a form of escape, Mr. Stewart believes the art room serves an even greater purpose – a symbol of hope for the future. Many talented artists spend their time in the art studio working on mastering their craft and gaining confidence that they can have a future in art.
During his two years of volunteering, Mr. Stewart has introduced Club kids to new forms of art, the most popular being origami. Members of all ages have learned modular origami, which focuses on forming 3-D shapes like cubes and stars. A few students have even been able to master a high level of origami known as the Bascetta Star, created by Paolo Bascetta. A combination of mathematics and geometry, these shapes can often exceed 12 sides.
“I continue to be impressed by how quickly some Club members understand the concept and can create the complex shapes,” said Mr. Stewart.
Mr. Stewart is also a volunteer at the Stillwood Study Center, a nonprofit that assists with and promotes programs for children and adults in the community and focuses on multi-cultural arts and music.
“The quality of the materials is top notch,” said Mr. Stewart. “The hands-on experience the kids have using those next-level supplies really pays for itself. When they begin to explore their futures in art they will already have had the practice and greater appreciation for the techniques.”
Mr. Stewart’s impact and volunteerism is not only felt in the art room. Thanks to his generosity, Club members enjoy “Pizza Friday” the last Friday of every month. Mr. Stewart started the tradition as a way for members to have a special day that they could look forward to – and they certainly do! When kids see the Domino’s pizza bags being carried into the kitchen they’ll line up for Kids’ Café 15 minutes before it’s served.
Movies in the art room has also started to become a tradition. Mr. Stewart brings in his own projector and shows films on the art room wall. He truly cares about the kids and creating the best, most comfortable environment for them.
“Mr. Stewart has provided a great deal of support for the art room and we’re very appreciative of his generosity,” said Ms. Sarah, art coordinator. “He goes above and beyond for our kids.”