Tiedra Marshall and her husband LeVar signed up as part of a volunteer group from United Way to help sort and organize donations at Bell Family Shelter on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2018.
After the initial visit to Bell Shelter, Tiedra wanted to do more, and asked if she could bring in some projects for the children in residence. In addition to being a natural-born teacher, Tiedra is also a talented artist. She offered to lead art activities for the children, providing all the materials and hands-on instruction throughout.
As parents of four children of their own, Tiedra and LeVar are familiar with what it takes to raise kids in today’s world and know the importance of investing time for the family to share fun experiences together. Tiedra draws on her personal experience along with her expertise as a professional trainer for “Parents as Teachers” when helping others.
The Marshall children, two girls and two boys ranging in age from 7 to 15, sometimes accompany their mother to the Shelter and eagerly participate in the activities, helping the young folks in residence complete their projects. Tiedra plans projects which can be completed outdoors when weather permits, or indoors, accordingly.
“Art changes and saves lives. Through it we learn problem-solving skills, how to bring our ideas to life, and how to become immersed in another world,” says Tiedra. “It opens doors to what could be.“
Tiedra didn’t want those experiences to stop due to the COVID-19 situation, so she and her daughters, Lael and Tala, put together and delivered individual “do-it-yourself” art kits. All the materials needed and step-by-step instructions were included to make colorful paper twirlers. Shelter staff distributed the DIY kits to the youngsters in residence to complete individually, in a properly “social distanced” atmosphere, of course.
“Everyone deserves access to these possibilities. Bringing art experiences to families, especially during challenging times, hopefully offers families a glimpse of what can be.” – Tiedra Marshall