From January to early February, VAAMP seniors are working on a project with Lava Mae to make 50 to 100 hygiene packages for homeless people.
Lava Mae is a “nonprofit mobile shower service that provides free weekly shower service and hygiene essentials,” according to their website. Showers are 15 minutes, single stall, are cleaned after every use, and are open to everyone, with one of their shower trailers being ADA compliant and thus accessible to people with disabilities.
The project was started by art teacher Vanessa Guerrero who approached graphic design teacher Robert Smith with the idea. It’s a collaboration between Guerrero’s Commercial Art class, Smith’s Graphic Design class, and art teacher Tiffany Allen’s Art 1 class. The project is student-led with teachers giving advice along the way.
“I think it’s great that collaboration between the two strands in VAAMP because they don’t always meet,” said Smith. “I also think it’s cool that the art will go out into the community” as a “gift for people less fortunate than us.”
There are four teams on this project, with three being from Guerrero’s class. The first team fundraises money for the care packages and tote bags. They write and send emails for donations and also sell stuff for a profit. The second team creates instructions for Allen’s Art 1 class who will write letters for homeless people. The third team act as directors and check on everyone to make sure work is getting done. They will also set instructions for the Graphic Design students.
The Graphic Design students will design a logo and print them on tote bags that will hold the hygiene packages. The Logo Design team will vote on the logo to be used. The tote bags will then be given to Guerroro’s class who will deliver them to Lava Mae.
“We’re offering students an opportunity to be a part of positive change within their community while building their career skills,” said Guerrero.
“Living in California, people often just ignore each other on the streets and don’t care about each other’s well being,” said VAAMP senior Chuyi Fang who is on the Logo Design Team. “People with true talent end up on the street just because of one misfortune and then they’re being seen as less than human.”
“I feel like Lava Mae is a really inspiring project,” Fang continued. “Ms. Guerrero showed [the class] a TED Talk and I was touched by it.”