#WhyYouMatter Exhibition & Reception

  • 2020-01-26, 08:29 AM
  • Editor
#WhyYouMatter Exhibition & Reception
by Jaime Shafer — On Tuesday, January 14th, the Churchill County Library hosted the first of two exhibitions for the #WhyYouMatter project. While attending the 2019 National Art Education Association conference in Boston, I was introduced to the #WhyYouMatter project. Immediately, I began thinking about how I could bring this to our town. The original campaign began in Chelsea High School in Detroit, Michigan after a tragic loss. Laura Naar, one of the art teachers at Chelsea HS, wanted to remind her students that they are all important while creating a more positive atmosphere at the high school. She and her colleagues came up with the #WhyYouMatter campaign. The campaign took off and is now in its forth year at Chelsea High School. It has been adopted in over 100 hundred schools internationally. With superintendent, Dr. Summer Stephens’ blessing, I began presenting the campaign to various community organizations. The support I received from local businesses and nonprofits was overwhelming. In approximately six months, I had enough financial assistance and community backing to move forward. Since the launch, I have been fortunate enough to maintain contact with Ms. Naar, who has continued to offer guidance throughout the project. Similar to my approach here, most schools are using this campaign to promote positive self- image. It also acts as a catalyst in developing a more positive culture by directly addressing the importance of all community members. The campaign emphasizes that every person contributes something to our community, school, or family. The project officially launched at the Back to School event hosted by Social Service in August 2019. Since then, we have photographed over 300 people. I have been fortunate to have tremendous support from the staff at Churchill County High School. The staff has contributed in numerous ways from helping to photograph people, hanging images, developing the lesson plan for the students, and being supportive as the project has moved forward. I could not have done this project without the assistance of these dedicated teachers and staff: Tami Harmon, Elaine Adams, Joe Wood, Lynn Strasdin, Terri Pearson, Rebecca Mayer, and Holly McPherson. In addition to the photographs, the high school and the community will welcome Mike Smith Live in March. Mike will speak to the community in a free event on March 2nd at 6 PM at the Fallon Convention Center. He will then join us at the high school to speak with our student body during three separate sessions on the 3rd. Mike is an accomplished entrepreneur and speaker. He has established two non-profit organizations and has led youth movements. He travels the world sharing his passion and reminding people that every decision we make can have a lasting impact on our lives. Mike will talk about how to motivate people and how to live with purpose. “What you do with your life will boil down to one question: what do you want to be remembered for?” (www.mikesmithlive.com) The project will continue throughout the remainder of the school year, concluding with another exhibition at the Churchill County Library in May. Additional photo sessions are scheduled for January 28th at Pennington Life Center and on February 6th at Western Nevada College. All photography sessions are free and open to the public. The Churchill County Museum will archive the images from the project.

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