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Hampton High School students participate in Memory Project

Update (July 30, 2015)

Ben Schumaker, founder and director of The Memory Project, notified Chris Fredericks of Hampton High School that the portraits have been delivered to the children and teens of Ghana. The following video was made to show how the delivery took place and to give the artists a glimpse at the recipients’ reactions: (Enter password “portraits")

In addition, photos were shared of the recipients and their portraits. (Look in the "2014-15 Ghana” folder)

“I think you will also be pleased to know that we were able to make a collective financial donation of $5,050 to help support the kids’ education, thanks to the participation fees you contributed,” said Schumaker.  “So please be proud that you helped to provide that gift along with the portraits.”

In collaboration with Communities in Schools of Hampton Roads and Site Coordinator Ti’esh Harper, 10 Hampton high school students were selected to participate in the Memory Project. This organization supports youth around the world who have been neglected, orphaned, or disadvantaged by creating a gateway for philanthropy.  The organization asks for art students from around the world to create one-of-a-kind portraits for the disadvantaged children.  Once the portraits are complete, the Memory Project staff delivers the artwork and a monetary donation. During the exchange, photographs are taken of the excited children, which are sent back to the artists.

HHS students participating include: Robert Hagan, Kimla Smith, Serenity Lawson, Malcolm Richardson, Miles Saunders, Makayla Perry, Kelly Freeman, Mohammed Issa, Angel Moreland and Jamison Waters.

The Memory Project was developed by Ben Schumaker as a graduate student of social work at the University of Wisconsin. In 2003, while volunteering at an orphanage in Guatemala, Schumaker learned that the kids had few special belongings to represent moments of their childhood. They had very few photos, for example, to serve as memories from their early years. Since Schumaker had always enjoyed making portraits in school art classes, he had the idea to get art students involved in creating portraits for the kids.

The Memory Project was officially born in 2004 and Schumaker still coordinates it full-time today. To date the project has created nearly 50,000 portraits for kids in 34 countries. The region of the world that Hampton was given is Ghana. The HHS artists are patiently waiting for the children’s reaction photographs, which they will keep as a memento of this cultural experience.

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