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Listen to Reggae and paint for children’s health

For those looking for a creative outlet in their service learning endeavors, look no further than FGCU’s very own Project Art Therapy for Children’s Health. PATCH’s mission is “to provide free art projects to children with disabilities in hopes that they will increase their motor skills, communication, and self esteem.”

“Children with disabilities do not often receive the same interactions with others because of their communicative boundaries,” said Vanessa Trincado, the president of PATCH.

PATCH has been around since 2011 and has gone through three presidents in its time.

Trincado, a sophomore psychology major, took over PATCH in the 2015-16 school year after becoming involved with the group as a freshman.

“Art for anyone is therapeutic,” Trincado said. “For the children, it’s their pride, their work, their self-expression.”

PATCH’s upcoming event, a SOWFLO secret show on the library lawn from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 16, was made possible by PATCH member Colby Heuseveldt, who contacted the local rock Reggae band and got them to come for free.

SOWFLO was recently named the No. 1 Southwest Florida Reggae band by the SPOT Magazine Awards, which was voted on by more than 25,000 online voters.

The free concert at the Veterans Pavilion, which is rumored to include free band merchandise, is open to the public. The National Society of Leadership and Success, International Organization, Enlighten Us, Students for Sensitive Drug Policy, the Republic Organization and others will be tabling at the event.

The mission of the concert is to promote Autism Community Day at Gulf Coast Town Center. The 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. event on April 16 will benefit My Autism Connection. Specifically, it will go toward fundraising for MAC’s Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills. The program is intended for middle and high school age students on the autism spectrum to help them make and keep friends.

The money earned will benefit the families who cannot afford to enter their child in the PEERS program. MAC’s goal is to fundraise $45,000, but a portion of the proceeds will be going to PATCH.

“The program is costly, so we need to do as much fundraising as possible,” Trincado said.

PATCH is aiming to raise $63,000 to ensure MAC makes a better portion of the proceeds.

“I got the opportunity to go into Tanglewood Elementary and do arts and crafts with students once a month,” said Lindsey Connelly, a junior elementary education major. “That was where I found my passion for children, and I actually declared my major as elementary education that semester.”

The most common service-learning opportunity PATCH offers is doing arts and crafts style projects with children, who have disabilities, at local area schools. But, other opportunities includes things like the SOWFLO secret show and car washes.

“I am so thankful I found PATCH because I have been able to watch so many children benefit from the events that have been able to participate in,” Connelly said.

For more information, check out PATCH on Facebook and Instagram, or email Trincado at vatrincado4166@eagle.fgcu.edu.

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