Dream Center Kids Connect Through Hands of Friendship

A multicolored wall with the word “friendship” and dozens of plaster masks and hands adorned the Dream Center at our Family Dining Room Friday night as children and their families gathered for the ceremony that concluded a summer’s worth of work for the young artists.

Internationally renowned artist and sculptress Jennifer Forman Weinstein is the woman behind Face Tolerance, an anti-bullying project that aims to teach children to coexist through art. Now, she has designed a whole new project specifically for children at St. Vincent de Paul, Hands of Friendship.

An hour before the ceremony was due to start, Dream Center Supervisor Cynthia Bach encouraged the children to feel proud about their works of art.

“Today is a very special day,” she said. “Today we finally celebrate our hands of friendship!”

For Hands of Friendship, older children who participated in the original Face Tolerance project paired up with younger kids to mold a cast of their hands and help them decorate it with different objects meant to symbolize respect, love and dignity among other values.

The kids who participated spent 12 direct teaching hours with Jennifer working on their art. Jennifer, or Miss Jenny as the children call her, said Hands of Friendship helped bring entire families together.

“It was magical,” she said. “From the minute I walked into the Dream Center, I was enamored.”

As she sat before the ceremony signing certificates of participation for the kids and preparing the T-shirts that each of them would receive, Jennifer said the project was fruitful.

“It’s a blessing for me,” she said as she hugged one of the children. “It really did allow me to touch these kids’ lives.”

The ceremony featured words by Cynthia, Jennifer and by Jennifer Dominguez, one of the participants. Then, children were called one by one to receive their certificates and a T-shirt as proud parents cheered and clapped.

Programs like Hands of Friendship and other educational opportunities are made possible by volunteers who donate their time. To volunteer in the Dream Center or to learn about other opportunities to make a difference in the lives of children in Phoenix, contact our volunteer office at 602. 261.6886 or fill out an interest form online.