How two friends are sharing their passion for art and babysitting with the community.
When eleven-year-old Maddie Wood and ten-year-old Mica Álvarez-Orr first heard about UTown@UBC’s “Just for Kids! Community Grant” they knew that it was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate their passion for art and babysitting. Both girls were born and raised on the UBC Campus and wanted to share their time and talents with their community.
Calling themselves “M and M Studios,” the duo planned a two-hour workshop at Old Barn Wesbrook Community Centre for 5-7-year-olds to come together, play games and craft a paper jellyfish. With the awarded grant funding, they were able to rent an event space and purchase craft supplies, snacks, masks, and hand sanitizer.
After the last of the participating kids took home their jellyfish crafts with big smiles on their faces, Maddie and Mica sat down with us to share their experience in running the event:
Teanna, UTown@UBC – How long have you been friends?
Mica – I think at the beginning of last year we started playing. We were like, “Wow, we are actually very similar, we should actually hang out.” So, we planned these regular Tuesday playdates.
Maddie – Then this one time, my Mom, she showed us that there was this “Just for Kids! Grant” and we were like “Oh my gosh, this is the perfect time to show what we do!” Because a couple of weeks before, we put up these flyers for the same kind of thing, but we got zero emails.
Teanna, UTown@UBC – What is it about your community that inspired you to think of this event?
Mica - We wanted to put on this event because we have a Babysitters Club… And we didn’t have the support and the stuff, and we didn’t know enough people to start babysitting. When Maddie told me about this opportunity, I was like, “This would be a great thing to boost our babysitting customers, and to also try something new.”
Maddie – Yeah, for other people to get to know us!
Bowen, UTown@UBC – What was your favourite part of planning or running the event?
Mica – My favourite part was just to collaborate with Maddie on all of the fun stuff. I was really excited to see all of the kids and to hang out with them. Maddie and I both really like babysitting, but there was no chance for us to babysit yet because we’re too young.
Maddie – My favourite part was probably making the flyers together and designing it! Our flyers are really colourful and really bright — you can’t miss it!
Maddie and Mica designed this flyer to promote their event at the local Community Centre
Bowen, UTown@UBC – What advice would you give to kids who would want to apply for a Community Grant?
Maddie – It’s a great opportunity to show what you love and other kids who are interested get to show that they have the same interest as you. It's just a really great way to expand to more people with the support. You should always do something that you personally love. We love teaching kids and taking care of them. Plus, we both love art and rainbows. That’s why we have our rainbow shirts.
Mica - Also it's a really fun thing to do and it's really easy. You don’t have to worry about running out of budget very quickly, because you’re not supplying the money…. I also think, just go for it…you don’t need to plan out every second. We literally planned out every single minute of the day and it backfired on us… we didn’t need all that planning.
Maddie - Just go with the flow. If something goes wrong you can always just fix it, and try again another time. If you don’t get a grant then you can always try again next time.
Mica and Maddie showing off the backs of their rainbow “M and M Studios” t-shirts
Teanna, UTown@UBC – Is there a message that you want to send to the kids in your community who attended today’s event?
Maddie - Thank you for coming. You guys were really well behaved and so fun to work with.
Mica – I know that some parents were probably really worried about letting their kids in our hands, because we’re only ten and eleven, so I would understand the worries. But there’s adult supervision, it's free, and what's the worst that can happen? Not every ten and eleven year old is irresponsible.
Mica aspires to be a teacher one day as she helps a participant with the jellyfish craft
Maddie leads the kids in a fun group game
Inspired by Maddie and Mica’s project? Share what you are passionate about with your community with up to $500 of available funding. Our current Community Grant cycle is now open for applications on a rolling basis until December 1, 2022. Learn more and apply for the Inspiring Community Grant.
Interview by: Bowen Wright & Teanna Bailey, Community Event Programmers