As springtime has us warming back up here in Arizona, Free Arts decided it was a great time to rekindle our long-time partnership with the Desert Botanical Garden and bring the children we serve a Free Arts Day! When children were greeted at the entrance, they were paired with our Free Arts volunteer mentors and corporate volunteers—who were ecstatic to share the day venturing through the garden with their newfound friends. Many giggle-filled faces enjoyed the Butterfly Pavilion Exhibit, which featured many beautiful species of butterflies to learn about and see up close. One child couldn’t wait to tell everyone how many butterflies had landed on him (and in case you were curious, it was three VERY big butterflies)!
The fun didn’t stop there, though! The children also had the chance to plant their very own succulents. These succulents were truly special. Each child wrote their own private message on a piece of water-soluble paper to place in the soil of their pot, expressing an intention they could pursue while watching the plant grow from the same water and nutrients that absorb their private messages. The idea being as their plants grow, the intention they planted will grow with their succulent.
Though there were so many exciting things for the children to do in the garden, the most heartwarming takeaway from this event was found at the end of the day. As kids told us how much they enjoyed the plants, the butterflies, and getting to take something home, the thing that shined through the most was hearing the children describe how nice all of the mentors and volunteers were.