As the country saw devastating images of the tragedy that struck Henryville, Brenda Jalaie was thinking about if she was put in the same situation.
The Zionsville Community High School art teacher decided to take action to help out the schools and restore art programs.
“I was focused on ‘Wow, they have no place’,” she said. “How do you teach? How do you have materials for kids to express themselves? They didn’t.”
Jalaie said she couldn’t imagine if something like that happened in Zionsville.
“I keep thinking of all the still life objects that I have in my classroom, and I’d have to resort all of those,” she said. “All of the posters and visual art things, those would be gone. People think that insurance will replace all of that. Sure insurance will replace the tables, desks and chairs, but it won’t replace everything. In an art room, all of their visuals and posters are either all soggy with mud and rain or in Ohio.”
After a few thoughts on what she could do to help the students in the tragedy-stricken area, she came up with a program, Restart the Arts.
“I asked the kids in my class what it would be like to have all of your normalcy turned upside down, to not even have another school to go to or home to go to,” she said. “They were totally on board. My first thought was to donate art supplies, but everyone I talked to kept coming back with a no because they had no place to store anything. So we decided to just raise some money.”
Jalaie, with the help of some students, have made buttons to sell to raise money that will be donated to Henryville.
“I was thinking of what would be cheap, fast and people will feel like they are getting something for their donation,” she said. “A few of my students have trucked through lunch periods making buttons. My hope is that kids will want to make art and turn it into this project. There are some girls in the 3D art class that want to make some for one of their projects, which is really neat. Kids have taken some home to their mom and dads, and then come back the next day to buy more. That is pretty cool. It’s like ‘Yay, parents supporting the arts’, and you’ve got to love that.”
Jalaie said she is not forcing her students to make the buttons.
“I never make things like this an assignment,” she said. “I’m hopeful by doing stuff like this, kids will see that we are an active participant. Hopefully somebody will be encouraged and inspired to do something because that’s what it’s all about.”
Jalaie said to donate, make a check out to ZCHS and put Restart the Arts in the memo line. Checks can be dropped off at ZCHS, 1000 Mulberry St.