Former Art Buddies student returns to be a creative mentor!

Thirteen years ago, Adriana Garcia was an Art Buddies student at Whittier International Elementary School; and this spring, we were thrilled to welcome her back to Whittier as an Art Buddies mentor! Adriana is now a Social & Creative Media Manager, and spotted our social media post seeking creative mentors earlier this year.

When Adriana applied to be a mentor, she wrote, “Art Buddies impacted my life as a child; it was something I always looked forward to at Whittier. My mentors helped my creativity fly, and made it a reality. One way of showing how much I appreciate this program is by volunteering. I hope to make a child feel the way I did at that age! It was certainly magical for me.”

We asked Adriana to share a bit more about her Art Buddies experience as a child, and how it impacted her life...

Adriana Garcia with her Art Buddy Kristian Broin (2004); Adriana with Art Buddies Executive Director Scott Mikesh (2017).

Adriana Garcia with her Art Buddy Kristian Broin (2004); Adriana with Art Buddies Executive Director Scott Mikesh (2017).

When did you participate in Art Buddies as a student?

I was 10 and 11 years old when I first participated in Art Buddies. That was in 2004-05.

What did you remember/enjoy most about Art Buddies as a kid?

I remember enjoying the whole process of creating my costume. Putting things together and having so many supplies available was the coolest thing to me. Everything I could possibly imagine on my costume was there, so it was quite exciting!

How did Art Buddies make you feel? Did it make a difference in your life?

Art Buddies made me feel happy. I could be what I wanted to be, and it was possible to make it happen! I truly felt like a Queen when I was the Snow Queen. As a child, that power felt so real, which is why I appreciate this program.

Adriana with her Art Buddy Sue Shepherd (2005).

Adriana with her Art Buddy Sue Shepherd (2005).

Now as a creative professional, what inspired you to volunteer as an Art Buddies mentor?

What inspired me to volunteer was that I now want to be part of a child's experience with Art Buddies. I remember how fun it was. It made me want to come back to relive all of that over again, and help someone else feel what I felt when I was a kid.

What have you learned or experienced as a mentor that you maybe did not realize or experience as a student?

I didn't realize how so many people would want to come together just to be part of a child's life, as a way to impact and serve simply because they want to. As a child, I never understood why you'd spend an afternoon with a strange kid when you could be home doing other things. Now as a mentor, I see it as an important role because you're actually impacting a child's life in a positive way, and that is a feeling that money cannot give you. Instead of sitting around, why not make a difference in someone's life?

Anything else you’d like to share about your experience as an Art Buddies student or volunteer?

I'd like to encourage others to volunteer as an Art Buddy. It truly impacts a child's life; it impacted mine, and here I am, trying to do the same for another child.


Our sincerest thanks and appreciation to Adriana for sharing her story and returning to Art Buddies to empower another child the way she was empowered as a kid.

We hope to reconnect with MORE past Art Buddies students, to share their stories, connect them with our network of creative professionals, and inspire the next generation!

Were you a past Art Buddies student? Contact us to let us know!

Art Buddies accepts mentor applications every fall and spring. Learn how to apply to volunteer.