NAHS and the Memory Project

Alejandra Torres

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The Memory Project is an organization OLP’s chapter of the National Art Honors Society partners with annually to create beautiful portraits of children who have faced numerous hardships – e.g. war, extreme poverty, neglect, natural disasters, and orphanhood. Students receive pictures of the kids and teens along with their name, age, and favorite color. Using this information, the artists compose portraits over the course of about three months. The artists are given total artistic license for the background but are asked to create the portraits as realistic as possible using any medium of their choice.

Once the portraits are completed, they are shipped back to the children and a delivery video is made by the Memory Project Staff. Seeing the children’s faces and reactions during the delivery videos makes all the long hours and hard work 100% worth it. To date, OLP students have created close to 300 portraits of youth from Haiti, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Vietnam, El Salvador, Colombia, the Philippines, Thailand, India, Paraguay, Ghana, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Bolivia, and most recently Syria. Some of these countries were actively at war during the time the portraits were delivered, making it impossible to know for sure if the portraits would even get to the children. As a whole, the Memory Project organization has created close to 100,000 portraits for children from 43 countries all over the world. The goal of the project is to provide children in difficult situations with a material possession they can call their own and to instill them with a sense of self worth. Additionally, the Memory Project strives to promote global awareness and compassion.

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