Why I Volunteer: Marcy Metzler

One of the biggest challenges for volunteers who want to work directly with the children and youth living in PCHAS’ Group Homes is simply making a one-on-one connection with them.  This takes time, consistency and perseverance.  One new PCHAS Group Home volunteer, Marcy Metzler, thinks she might have found a new tool for making that one-on-one connection.

Alicia holds a painting she made with Marcy.

Alicia holds a painting she made with Marcy.

Marcy is a self-taught artist who works with a variety of media, including pastel drawings. Working with her own sons as they experienced art in their public school education, she realized what a valuable tool art is to make a one-on-one connection with others.  That experience inspired her to begin her own non-profit, Peace Art. With Peace Art, Marcy goes to places like a PCHAS Group Home or an assisted living facility for the elderly and helps individuals express their creativity through art. Marcy said she is inspired by an idea, an image: “Being God’s paint brush.”

“The work is much more about the one-on-one connection than the art.  The art is a tool for people to funnel their creativity and to help us establish a relationship,” said Marcy.

Marcy has brought Peace Art to the children in a PCHAS Group Home.  She visits the Girls Home for about an hour twice a month. The children at the Home are fairly shy, she says. Of the four times she has visited, only one of the girls has participated consistently; the other girls drop in and out as their schedules allow.

When asked what she has learned about the girls, Marcy says, “They are fabulous.  I love them.  They are at an age (pre-teens and teens) when it’s a little bit harder to make that connection with them.  That’s okay.  I don’t set my expectations too high.  My goal is to make some time for one-on-one connection in which they can share their creativity during our art project.  If I can make a one-on-one connection in the midst of that, that’s what it’s all about for me.”

Joselyn enjoyed using watercolor to create a floral design.

Joselyn enjoyed using watercolor to create a floral design.

Getting the girls to slow down and commit themselves to the art work is a part of the challenge, Marcy said.  One time she brought pastels for the girls to use and the TV was on. “The environment felt chaotic,” she said. “So I asked if I could turn the TV off, which the girls were happy for me to do.” When Marcy turned on classical music, she said “everything calmed down.” The girls began making pastel pictures using the names of their boyfriends and began talking about their relationships with their boyfriends.  Marcy said, “The Home Parents learned things they didn’t even know!”

Marcy has found that creating art with the girls helps her make a deeper connection with them.  “For me,” she says, “it’s the one-on-one connection that’s important.”

If you’d like to volunteer for PCHAS, please call the Reverend Nancy C. Mossman, PCHAS’ volunteer coordinator at nancy.mossman@pchas.org. Read more about our volunteer program.

Article By The Rev. Nancy C. Mossman