Kristin Baione wants to help children who suffer from illnesses by giving them opportunities to make elephant-related art. Her vision is to establish an elephant art therapy program with the dual benefit of aiding sick children and promoting awareness and research into ethnoelephantology, the study of how human and elephant lives are intertwined.
“Children should not feel stuck to a hospital bed and should be given a reason to smile despite an illness that may impose on their happiness,” says Kristin. “I also want to help elephants because one of the causes for the depletion of elephants around the world is the lack of care or knowledge humans possess for the species.”
Kristin and her Baltimore Collegetown LeaderShape family cluster experienced for themselves the powerful and therapeutic benefits of art making. “We spent a day with Art With a Heart, hand-painting wooden signs for community gardens throughout the city,” Kristin says. The event took place in a vacant lot that had been transformed into a vegetable garden. Baltimore City children had planted the garden with hopes to harvest fruits and vegetables. It was a gratifying day for Kristin, knowing that their signs would help display the hope and dedication of the residents who tend the gardens.