Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) Presidential Ambassadors collaborated with Breakthrough Manchester to put on an inspirational Hero Art Day program for Breakthrough students at the Derryfield School in Manchester on Saturday, Mar. 5.
The SNHU Presidential Ambassadors are a group of 12 students who act as liaisons between the university president and the student body. Recently, the group has started to do more outreach to the greater Manchester community.
Breakthrough Manchester is an academic and leadership program that works with a group of approximately 60 middle school students to teach and inspire them.
High school students teach the students throughout the summer in various academic subjects including math, English, foreign languages, and science. The teachers develop lesson plans and work with students to supplement their regular education. During the school year, students and teachers meet on a few Saturdays that the program calls Super Saturdays.
Seniors Melanie Friese and Alicia Frazier, two Presidential Ambassadors, coordinated the event with Breakthrough Manchester. As leaders in the SNHU community, the Presidential Ambassadors wanted to meet and talk to the children and teenagers about what it means to be a hero and the characteristics of a hero.
The SNHU Ambassadors bought small canvasses, paint, and paint brushes for a painting activity. They led the painting activity in which the students painted their heroes, a representation of their heroes, or a characteristic of a hero.
After the activity, the students and ambassadors gathered in the McIninch Room in the Derryfield School to see the performance of Rob Surette, an artist famous for his speed paintings. Surette performed his show, “Be Somebody,” in which he speed paints many easily recognizable figures from history, including Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, and Abraham Lincoln.
“It was a pleasure working with the SNHU Ambassadors for this event. All of our experiences working with SNHU have been wonderful,” said Becky Berk, Director of Breakthrough.
“Working with the Breakthrough program was a great experience,” said Frazier. “Painting and talking with the kids about their heroes was eye opening and grounding. Heroes ranged from mom and dad, a surgeon, and Batman!”
Rob Surette’s performance was paid for by Jayme’s Fund for Social Justice, a southern New Hampshire not-for-profit dedicated to human rights, bringing hope to children in-need, and providing young people the opportunities to get involved in their communities and make a difference in the world.
Surette said, “If I reach just one kid in the audience, it makes this all worth it. I would rather perform on a Saturday than have a day off.”
The idea of the day was to get students to focus on heroes and the characteristics of heroes, and then to make them act on their dreams. The entire day was an inspirational event that encouraged these students to pursue their dreams, be an inspirational person, and make a difference in the world.
The SNHU Ambassadors’ work with Breakthrough Manchester is just one example of how groups of SNHU students reach out to the greater Manchester community, and make a difference. The positive impact that SNHU student organizations have made is immense and it is clear that they are still continuing to expand their work.