Long Island, NY
What do you like to do with Thrive?
I love inspiring the students to express themselves in new ways and to never give up
How did you first get started with Thrive?
I met Jeremy through training martial arts with Kekoa. Since Kekoa knew I was an artist also, he recruited me few times to help paint some details on some murals that Thrive Collective was doing, though at the time they were 20/20 Vision for Schools. Earlier this year Jeremy contacted me asking if I was interested in working with them and I ended up starting with them in January.
What was something unexpected that’s happened in your work?
Knowing that the two schools I was working with were a part of an anti-gun violence initiative, it was inevitable that gun violence was a part of my student’s reality. One day one of my 6th graders who was always really boisterous, sweet, creative, and eager to work or help out was notably quiet and sullen. When I asked her what was wrong it turned out that a family member had been murdered while away in another country; she knew too much about it and started to just ball out crying. Immediately I reminded her that it’s okay to be sad and to never be ashamed to express how she feels. I also told her that she should think of all the positive things she got to experience with them and just knew of that person; to be thankful of that time they were in her life. I gave her a hug and told her she could always talk to me whenever she needed. It was definitely an intense moment I didn’t expect to happen, but I was also glad I was there for her.
Enjoy Marissa's Thrive Collective Portfolio
What was your favorite or most memorable moment working with Thrive?
It is hard to pinpoint one specific moment throughout working with 183 and 42Q, but I think overall it would be every class when my students never wanted to stop working or let me go to the next class. Although it proved difficult for me in getting my supplies ready to jump to the next room it was wonderful to see so many just in the grove and enjoying what they were making. It was also equally wonderful to hear when they couldn’t get the mural off their mind or how someone proclaimed they would get so many ideas just by having me around. I guess in the end it was all just memorable.
Why is art important to you?
Art is one of the most amazing forms of expression and has an endless amount of potential and options. There is nothing better than sparking an idea in someone else and giving them the tools and confidence to bring that to life.