By Joan Baum
Karma Kids, a non-profit charitable art initiative based in Sag Harbor, is holding a Karma Kids Dance Party on January 30 at the Ross School that it hopes will raise not just money but awareness. Though barely a year old, the organization, founded and directed by Ross School parent Samantha Christie, in conjunction with another parent and Karma Kids board member, Sarah Stenn, is dedicated to inspiring young children to benefit children of need on The East End and globally by engaging them to make – and sell – their own art work.
The name Karma Kids has already proved resonant which is the causative idea inherent in the Karma concept: whatever you do, something will happen. Of course, only good karma is intended.
“If you give assistance, you’ll get double in return,” says Christie. “The kids get it and want to keep it going.”
When her son, six-year old Paolo Christie-Schrank was asked by his teacher why kids in his class should be involved in helping less fortunate kids, he replied “because we should.” “They understand that what they’re doing is a good thing,” Christie adds, noting that they willingly part with the art they produce.
Originating in a pre-K community-service art project last spring, Karma Kids evolved into weekly summer art classes at the Goat on a Boat Puppet Theater in Sag Harbor and then made its art fair debut in late August. The fair was “a huge success,” notes Christie, and part of the money raised went to the Bridgehampton Child Care Center in the form of a check that was presented at a Karma Kids Pizza Party in October.
A month later, Karma Kids positively charged the atmosphere with a November 16 fundraiser, Holiday Cards and Crafts For Haiti Sale, held at the Ross School Tennis Center, that netted $3,600.
“The Holiday Sale is going to be an annual event,” says Christie, with proceeds continuing to go to support the non-profit organization, Wings Over Haiti. In fact, Christie is considering flying to Haiti with Sag Harbor pilot Jonathan Glynn, who founded the Wings Over Haiti School in the wake of the earthquake. And she’s thinking that the next Karma Kids fundraiser might be a photography show and sale in a local gallery that will feature images taken with a disposable camera on a theme common to both Karma Kids and Haitian kids. Meanwhile, painting and crafts go on.
The Goat and Puppet Theater Karma Kids art classes, which typically contain 25-30 children, ages five to nine, meet on Tuesdays from 4-5 p.m. They are free and open to everyone and often attract local artists, such as furniture designer and woodworker Nico Yektai, who join parents and teachers in guiding the youngsters to create images that will sell. A three-step process calls for children to talk about who should be helped, what kind of art they will create and how the work will be presented. At the August Karma Kids fundraiser, for example, three recipients were selected: a school in India, a school for deaf children in Sri Lanka (with funding going toward the purchase of hearing aids), and the Bridgehampton Child Center (Karma Kids visit the Center once a month).
The Karma Kids Dance Party will be held exactly one year after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The goal will be to raise money for art supplies, including necessities for the photography project. The event, at the Ross School’s Wellness Center, will enlist the dedicated energy of J.J. Veronis, a Karma Kids dad and a professional D.J. There will be music, a disco ball, a bake sale and art work, including candles created especially to enlighten folks about Haiti. Kids and adults from “one to one hundred” are warmly invited, says Christie.
The Karma Kids Family Dance Party will take place on Sunday, January 30, from 2 to 4 p.m. Suggested donation $20. For further information about the Dance Party and about visiting Karma Kids classes at the Goat on a Boat Puppet Theater (located behind Christ Episcopal Church on Hampton Street in Sag Harbor) email firstname.lastname@example.org.