Any Given Child is hosting two weekend-long volunteer events to help every child in Trenton receive art supplies for the school year. This first one was this past weekend and the next one will be happening this weekend.

The organization is set to bundle 10,065 art supply kits to students K through 12 in all Trenton public schools.  Jacqui Ivey, Owner of the Conservatory of Music and Performing Arts Society and Founder of Compass, said this is a result of the need due to COVID-19.

“During virtual learning back in 2020…many of the students were without art supplies at home. Even when school started, teachers were not able to share bulk items across classrooms because of the COVID pandemic,” Ivey said.

The art supply bundles include colored pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners, plastic rulers, wooden rulers, watercolors, scissors, glue sticks. This last weekend’s event saw TCNJ’s Bonner Program and Lawrenceville public schools coming to help.

Laurie Barstow, a Washington Elementary School art teacher, was also helping package the art supplies her students will receive. “This is a dream of mine come true. It’s like a Christmas miracle. That’s what I call it to get art supplies for almost nearly 11,000 students in the city of Trenton that every student is going to have a sketchpad pencils sharpener,” Barstow said.

Arts for Any Given Child is a part of a nationwide program and arts community. It is connected to 27 different sites initiated by the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Trenton’s very own site is located at the historic Conservatory of Music and Performing Arts Society Building. This building has hosted Trenton music programs for a century.

“This has been a music school for over 100 years,” Ivey said. “We want to continue to legacy. And this is a great way to showcase not only how important the arts are, but also to be able to make it possible for young, our young people to have the tools they need.

Those who volunteered this week found the event rewarding. “It’s a wonderful experience, Suzette Lyon-Robinson, a volunteer, said. Suzette Lyon-Robinson and her son were part of the morning shift putting together some of the first art packages to go out. “It’s very humbling. I want to try and give back more…and find more opportunities just like this in a community.”

This weekend, there are still more volunteer opportunities happening from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at their headquarters at 540 East State Street, Trenton, NJ. To volunteer reach out to Jacqui Ivey at compas.campus@gmail.com.

“When the community comes together, “Ivey said. “We can do a whole lot more. We can accomplish a lot more and today is an example of that.”