WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s an expression, “you never know what someone is going through until you walk a mile in their shoes.”
EmberHope Youthville is taking that to heart. Their art project helps children who have experienced extreme trauma and lets people Walk-A-Mile in their shoes.
“Poverty, drug addiction, mental health, and physical abuse are some of the main themes,” said Micala Gingrich-Gaylord, founder of the Walk-A-Mile art exhibit.
Much like the children at EmberHope Youthville, these shoes are in need of a new home.
The path that brought them here is not an easy one.
“We were getting one shoe, not two always, and being an artist, I wanted to use something with the kids that used those objects,” said Gingrich-Gaylord.
Gingrich-Gaylord helps the girls find strength through their trauma, creating powerful works of art and putting pen to paper to share their past experiences.
“As an artist, you want to use art as a way to transform issues, not just reiterate them.” Said Gingrich-Gaylord.
The children’s stories are leaving an imprint.
“You’ve got to go on the walk with these kids in a real way,” said Gingrich-Gaylord. “Advocacy doesn’t stop when you see an art show, or you give a check it’s much bigger than that.
Some of these young artists are seeing their true value for the first time.
“They (the children) will say to me, ‘I didn’t know anyone cared to hear about my story. No one cared about me as the individual, not the crime that happened, not you know the hurt but just me as a person,’” said Nickaila Sandate, EmberHope Youthville CEO and president.
The Walk a Mile art exhibit at Mark Arts at 1307 North Rock Road until May 21. It is free. Click here to learn more.