Anthony Menor and Artreach, a CoachArt partner

 In Art, CoachArt Volunteer Spotlight, Inspiration, Los Angeles, Our Mission

“Art can bring a lot of light to people’s lives.”
~Anthony Menor, founder of Artreach

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In 2018, as an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles, Anthony Menor wanted to volunteer as an arts tutor, but couldn’t find a UCLA student club with that focus. So he decided to start one. Artreach has been connecting UCLA students with kids since 2018. When Anthony discovered CoachArt, he recognized that Artreach could be a good partner for us. Anthony and Artreach have led cool classes for CoachArt kids.

Anthony was born and raised in Oahu, Hawaii, and is currently finishing his last year at UCLA with a political science major and global studies and film minors. We spoke with him about his experience, and our conversation is below, edited and condensed.

CoachArt: Is community service a tradition in your family?

Anthony: It definitely has been. In Hawaii, my dad was a part of the Lions Club, the international community service organization. I grew up going to Lions events, and I was active with Leo’s, which is the high school branch of that club, and now I’m the president of the Leaders 4 Life Hawaii Club. I think this reinforced my interest in community service.

CoachArt: What kinds of community service have you been doing while at UCLA?

Anthony: I’m the founder and president of Artreach, an organization at UCLA that does arts mentoring in different communities. I’m also a mental health mentor at UCLA, through an organization called Wazo Connect (https://www.wazoconnect.com/), and I’m interning at the Thai Community Development Center, which is a nonprofit that serves immigrant and minority communities. I’m also trying to get more involved in social work, so I worked with the homeless this summer. I really like making art, so that’s kind of my release.

CoachArt: How did you get involved with CoachArt?

Anthony: When we started Artreach, we thought it’d be great to partner with an organization that was already providing arts mentoring to a community that needed help, and in our research CoachArt stood out. It’s a combination of CoachArt’s great programming, staff, and most importantly the kids.

CoachArt: What are some of the things Artreach has done with CoachArt kids?

Anthony: We’ve done about 20 workshops so far with many different art mediums. We leave it to the kids and our ArtReach volunteers to decide what to focus on, and we never do something twice. We’ve done sculpting, food art, styrofoam, paint stamping and sewing. Some of these workshops require a lot of logistical coordination, and some of them are pretty challenging for the kids.

CoachArt: How do you recruit volunteers for Artreach?

Anthony: We’ve had to figure that out over time. At first it was boots on the ground, every type of way. I gave speeches in UCLA lecture halls to get people to join. I’m not a natural public speaker, and it was pretty scary, but it worked. We put posters and flyers all over campus, and we sent out mass emails, and used social media. UCLA has quarterly student organization fairs, and that changed the game for us. Once we had a dedicated board, things became a lot easier, and now at the beginning of the year a lot of people show up. In the past year I’d say about 20 to 25 Artreach members actually participated in a workshop. They’re mostly undergraduate students at UCLA, but we’ve also had a UCLA Extension student and a grad student.

Anthony leads an Artreach class for CoachArt kids

CoachArt: Do you envision a career doing some kind of direct services?

Anthony: Yeah definitely. I wanted to study political science because I wanted to understand how government can help communities that are underserved. That’s what I’m most passionate about. I’m just trying to explore different ways I could serve those needs. So one route could be social work. It could be the nonprofit sector. It could be in the public health area too. I care a lot about mental health.

CoachArt: What kind of art do you make in your free time?

Anthony: I’m passionate about music. Recently I set up a Bandcamp account and started sharing it. I play a MIDI keyboard, and I use GarageBand software. I like sampling people’s voices, sampling instruments someone else is playing, and sampling real life sounds, like a basketball bouncing or the slamming of a door, because I like weaving together all these different elements of life into a cinematic scene, because I really love film too. I love using the music to get listeners to imagine a scene. I tie in recordings of my therapy sessions too, so it’s kind of experimental. I’m working towards finishing an album. It’s important to me to share with people who might be going through the same thing, trying to help them cope and live positive lives and love themselves. That’s my goal with youth arts mentorship with CoachArt. Art can bring a lot of light to people’s lives to give them hope and make them feel less alone. That’s one of the big themes of my life.

We’re grateful to CoachArt partner Anthony Menor for sharing his experience with our community!

MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR FAMILIES IMPACTED BY CHILDHOOD CHRONIC ILLNESS

CoachArt’s mission is to create a transformative arts and athletics community for families impacted by childhood chronic illness. Our vision is that one day every family impacted by chronic illness will be connected to a community of support and an opportunity to learn and grow together.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, CoachArt is providing lessons online for all group activities and one-on-one lessons. Learn more about CoachArt’s online programming for kids and teens impacted by chronic illness.

CoachArt offers free art and athletic lessons to chronically ill children and their siblings between the ages of 5-18. We currently serve families in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Portland OR, San Diego, and the San Francisco Bay Area, with more cities coming soon. If your child has been diagnosed with a chronic condition, we invite you to fill out a student eligibility form to learn if CoachArt is right for your child.

WAYS TO HELP

Do you have an artistic or athletic skill to share virtually with a child impacted by chronic illness? Become a CoachArt Volunteer.

Learn how you can get involved with CoachArt to help kids impacted by chronic illness.

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