Art Buddy Spotlight: Karisa Buechner, Mentor/Advisory Board Member

Karisa Buechner is a Digital Account Executive for Prime Therapeutics and has been an Art Buddy for 9 semesters. Not only does Karisa serve as a mentor, she is also an active member of the Art Buddies Advisory Board and Events Committee, and enjoys volunteering to help organize supplies before sessions begin and undertaking other fundraising duties as needed.

How would you describe Art Buddies?

Art Buddies is a mentor program that encourages kids to push their creativity to the limit. The task is simple enough, build a costume based on a theme. The end result is anything but simple. The kids create elaborate and beautiful costumes using duct tape, cardboard, plastic pieces, shiny and other stuff. It does help that lots of the mentors have creative talents! What happens in the process of creating the costume is the wonderful part of the program.

As you work with the kids, you learn about what is important to them, you share what you know about things and you collaborate on the creation that is to be. Working on the costume together allows you to have a common ground for discussion, no matter your buddy's personality. The project is yours, together.

I could always tell by the end of an Art Buddies session that my buddy had a great time, and genuinely enjoyed the whole experience. Even if they were shy, the card I received at the end showed that they loved the program.

Why did you decide to become active with Art Buddies?

I have always thought of myself as a creative person, but after college I was not working in a creative field. I needed an outlet for creativity, and I really enjoy working with kids. I began looking for a way to give back to my community through creative volunteer work. I found Art Buddies online, and noted that it was close to my then home, near Whittier school. The rest is history. I try to volunteer as much as I can.

What advice would you give to rookie Art Buddies?

Listen to your buddy. Really listen to your buddy, and incorporate their ideas. Sometimes it is hard to accept that your buddy just wants to use that tiny piece of cardboard with a button on it for their hat, instead of a top hat made out of feathers. The kids are the reason we are there.

Define what 1-on-1 mentoring means to you and how it impacts the lives of children.

I think 1-on-1 mentoring means being able to focus on your mentee in a way that you could not in a group. You have the time to really talk and listen to your buddy. I think that it makes kids feel special, and for kids with siblings or parents who don't have time to give them one-on-one time, it can have an even greater impact. Letting kids know they are special and have the potential to accomplish things builds confidence and encourages them to keep going.

Have you gained new friendships or expanded your network with adult Art Buddies?

Yes. I'm very happy to say I have made a few friendships in volunteering with Art Buddies. I have met some very inspiring creative individuals and just great people all around.


Art Buddies accepts mentor applications ever fall and spring. Learn how you can volunteer with Art Buddies at