Melanie Samra: a volunteer
The Art Circle would not be possible without the hard work and passion of its dedicated volunteer base. Tens of volunteers step forward each year to help run the weekly art activities and to organize the annual art show and fundraiser. In 2013 our program The Art Circle reached new ground with the help and support of volunteer Melanie Samra. Melanie came to Beth Sholom’s Tuesday program one January evening to see what it was all about. Melanie is herself an interior designer and active volunteer with Temple Har Zion. She was immediately taken by the warmth and enthusiasm of the art program participants and volunteers. She began coming weekly, each session bringing in art books, supplies and offering her own expertise to eager participants.
Melanie saw the importance and potential of the program, and offered to help in the organizing of that year’s art show. She designed the invitation (below), and helped in the set up and execution of the show. But it did not end there. Melanie felt that the program could be expanded upon, by being offered at Har Zion’s Out of the Cold program, which runs each year from November to January. Her hard work and passion has resulted in a push for The Art Circle’s growth for 2014. Melanie is hoping to head the Art Circle program at Har Zion in the coming fall season. The artwork created there and at Beth Sholom will culminate in a joint art show and fundraiser in 2014.
Melanie states in her own words:
“The OOTC art Circle is one of the most heart warming, experiences I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of. It is a program that not only meets their physical needs, but more importantly feeds their soul. Their troubles, their challenges, their heartaches seems to dissipate, and for those few hours they are simply artists. Their concerns have little to do with the reality of their day to day. They are there to paint, to draw, to escape, and for some to regain a lost youth. The Art Circle, is a product of all their hard work, the pride on their faces, when a piece sells, is worth every minute poured into the program. For others, the show has little importance, they create simply to create, to enjoy the process, yet equally rewarding.
I have met such wonderful people, both guest and volunteer. The one who stands out the most, is Melanie Cheskes. Her dedication to the program is unmatched. I watch her interact with the guests, they all adore her. She has an ease, and a sincerity that everyone relates to. Without her, there would be no program.
If I were to sum up this program in one word, it would have to be inspirational. I know I feel it, every time I step foot inside Beth Sholom for those couple of hours. I too transform, my reality, becomes theirs, and together we sit, we talk, we paint.
The Art Circle would not be possible without the hard work and passion of its dedicated volunteer base. Tens of volunteers step forward each year to help run the weekly art activities and to organize the annual art show and fundraiser.”