From Lava to Dating Alicia Keyes

Sometimes, something happens that reminds us of why we put in the hours, donate the money and give so much of ourselves.

The other day at Astor’s St. Nick’s Holiday Fair, an annual event to kick off the holiday season – one of the students in the Residential Program was handed $20 by his dad to spend as he wanted. He went through the show, looking over things with the careful eye of a true connoisseur and chose his purchases wisely.  When his items were all totaled, they came to $19.  He turned to the person at the register and without missing a beat asked her to keep the change. It was his donation to Astor.

Malik G, Lava

Lava, by Malik

 Sure, it was in the spirit of the season and we could just as easily tell you he had learned the lesson of giving, but we think there was something else going on here. This child was giving back to Astor, telling us how important the school is to him. It was his humble way of saying thank you.

We’ll take that report card any day!

Patrick Madden is giving back too. This accomplished, local Rhinebeck painter, volunteer and consultant at Astor, opened the children’s eyes by showing them the technique for squeegee paintings (we kid you not). Madden told them, “Don’t paint a bird. Paint what it feels like to fly.” An hour later, Astor had an amazing entry into Paint What You Feel, with names like “Lava” to “Dating Alicia Keyes” and the kids had opened their own pathways to their feelings. They simply “got it.”

Dating Alicia Keyes

Dating Alicia Keyes

And our guests at the Sugar Plum Event also gave back.  Thank you. As the children proudly shared their artwork on the walls of the Gallery, the pictures were “snapped up” in record time.  The gift of giving was reciprocal.

Small moments perhaps. But it’s those moments, put together that make Astor Services for Children & Families what it is.

If you’d like to give back to the school or support the Children’s Recreational Art Program!i=2472793406&k=67GDrF5

Their work really is quite extraordinary.