2015 -2016 End of the Year Service Project

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During the 2015 -2016 school year...

Shayla served as an Americorps member with The Literacy Lab. Shayla was a literacy tutor to about 22 students in grades K - 3 at Benjamin Orr Elementary in South East Washington, D.C. While completing her 1700 service hours she was also exploring her love for painting.

As the school year developed, the relationship between self-esteem/self-image and learning abilities became very apparent to her. Many students who were academically deficient felt similarly negative sentiments towards themselves as people.While students who demonstrated higher academic achievement also displayed higher self-esteem. So Shayla decided to show her students their potential through a combination of extra tutoring and affirmations. She began sharing her art with students and eventually made deals to create portraits of several students across all grade levels. 

Over the last 3 months of the school year, students posed and chose color schemes for these portraits. These created moments where students were required to reflect on their growth over the school year. Many of these students gained multiple levels in reading and their personalities began to blossom even more.