As a kindergarten teacher at C.M. Finch Elementary, Cassandra Mervyn has a passion for not only teaching and introducing children to the world of education, but for bringing positivity and joy to their lives through arts and crafts.
She also runs the popular Facebook page Ms. Mervyn's ArtHouse, where she has been busy posting hopeful messages, craft ideas, and guided drawings throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She normally hosts art classes outside of school a couple times a year, but when the pandemic forced her to cancel the classes she had planned for spring break, Mervyn decided to turn the supplies and crafts she had gathered for the class into art kits for families around town to pick up and use, free of charge.
She gave away 30 kits by food donation — which was donated to local seniors through Peace Care Connect after having been sanitized — and another 20 kids to the Fort St. John Women's Resource Society.
"When things like this happen you wonder what you can do to help others. Technology allows us to post things and have a lot of people access it, but not everyone has the same technology and that's why I wanted to offer the kits so people could have something in their hands," Mervyn said.
While the art-kit giveaway happened early on, Mervyn hasn't stopped thinking of ways to bring joy to kids and families during this time. She created a YouTube page and posted a video of her giving a guided-draw session of an Easter Bunny, with many kids and families responding by posting their versions of the drawing in the following days.
This Friday, she will be recording a video through a local production company, guiding kids through making a ripped-art project, which involves only a glue stick and construction paper.
"I want to keep doing whatever I can, and how to offer things for free. Doing art is a nice way to take your mind off everything, and it's good for kids to be able to see and connect with someone they know even while they are stuck at home," Mervyn said.
She is also teaching her class, meeting with her students every day through Zoom for 45 minutes, and gives them one activity they can do together each time.
"It's been really great. Kids today are so used to seeing themselves on screens and in pictures, so they are comfortable in front of a computer. It's great to be able to connect with them this way and remind them that you're thinking of them," she said.
Email reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.