Chezuba and Neha have our back

Recruiting highly skilled volunteers can be challenging for an all-volunteer charity with acute strategic planning needs. These past several weeks, we have been assisted by Chezuba in finding the right talent, and develop a comprehensive fundraising strategy adapted to our mission and vision.

Chezuba is a platform that empowers individuals to make a meaningful impact on their communities and beyond through volunteering. It was founded with the vision of creating a bridge between skillful, passionate volunteers and organizations striving to make a difference. Chezuba believes that volunteerism is not just about giving back; it’s about personal growth, community building, and creating a ripple effect of positive change.

Chezuba helped recruit Neha Panchal. Her strategic thinking acumen combines local commitment with global sensitivity that matches our values and networking. Hailing from the vibrant nation of India, Neha is a multifaceted development sector professional with a profound passion for community advocacy and a deep love for the environment.

Neha Panchal is not only a dedicated professional but also a passionate advocate for environmental protection and community service. She proudly co-founded the Vadodara Garden Lovers Group, a community of over 4000 members dedicated to nurturing green spaces. Additionally, she is an active member of the Creative Group of Women of Waghodia Road, where her passion for community service and environmental preservation continues to shine. Her commitment to community service is further exemplified by her role as Director of Community Services at the Rotary Club of Vadodara Heritage. With a wealth of experience in the development sector, Neha’s professional skills shine brightly, encompassing proposal development, documentation of MOUs, project compliance management, reporting, and program evaluation.

Neha Panchal

Neha’s dedication goes beyond her professional pursuits, as she has an extensive history of volunteering domestically and internationally across a wide range of causes, including animal welfare, arts and culture, children, disaster and humanitarian relief, economic empowerment, environment, health, poverty alleviation, and social services. She is the Volunteer Fund Raising Strategist for our Collection.

Hands full

Most of us have a so-called dominant side. We have heard that a left handed person might have a competitive advantage in sports, or challenges in other activities such as writing from left to right. How do you feel about your dominant side when you draw? Did you ever try to draw or paint with your other hand, or both? Maybe you are ambidextrous to some degree, and never pushed your limits as to know to which extend.

There are different ways to explore this. The simplest one is to draw simultaneously each side of one symmetrical object with each hand, like a jar, or a butterfly. It can even be just simple abstract lines that you draw to concentrate on your movements and not a figure, like in this exercise presented by encaustic artist Ruth Maude. You may find that you naturally slow down your dominant side to accommodate the other.

For more advanced level examples, you should follow Colin Darke, but if you do, go to his social media accounts. You will find more of his drawings there. Warning, an Irish contemporary artist has the same name, but with a very different artistic outlook. If you get as good as Colin, you might be able to draw an asymmetric picture with both hands, or even a different subject with each.

Now, if you are ambidextrous and you think you have a super power, you have never heard of quadridextrous Raja Cenna from the Netherlands. What she does is so mind blowing that it feels like you need to see her live to believe your own eyes.

Double draw exercise, by Alisa Burke. Source: AlisaBurke., September 2023.

Craft that rocks

The great thing about making craft with pebbles is that you can go about it with complete simplicity, or you can venture into a complex journey while collecting and sorting them, making sophisticated designs and images. Pebbles are generally easy to find, and you can use only one or hundreds of them in a single art piece. You can paint them, assemble them, or pile them up artistically.

When painting pebbles that you found outdoor, you need to clean and dry the surface before you apply acrylic. You might also decide to add varnish. This will not only make them shinier, it will make them more durable. See a detailed guide with design ideas and references prepared by Melissa J. Will a.k.a. the Empress of Dirt.

It is even more fun and challenging to use only pebbles and nothing else, except for a surface or terrain where to put them. This is land art, and part of the challenge is to let go of it after dedicating possibly hours of physical and mental work. We found two inspiring artists who have mastered this art each in their own right, one with abstract geometry and the other with realistic figures.

Jason Foreman is known as Sculpt the World and his photographic work is as impressive as his land art with pebbles. He also made works with sand, shells and water. Justin Bateman works in portraiture inspired by celebrities or famous paintings. Looking at his works, one can only wonder how he stores and sorts the pebbles. His abstract and conceptual works in other media are just as impressive. He offers mind blowing poetry and surreal drawings for children.

Finally, we need the help from Japanese readers, because that is where we found the most engaging rock balancing sculptures on the web, at the Ishi Hana Club.

Beach stones. Photo: David Bleasdale, 2005. Source: Wikimedia, 2023.

Children characters in comics

Something is brewing in literary studies, specifically among the comics and graphic novel scholars. Could it be the genre’s reckoning with its lasting and deep connection to childhood? If so, this is a good sign, as it reflects the maturity of the field, which painstakingly overcame the stigma of a literature of lesser importance. Stigma it endured for too long in the past.

At the centre of this momentum is a dynamic group of researchers, led by Maaheen Ahmed, at the Ghent University (Belgium). They initiated informed discussions about children characters in European comics, and the influence childhood had, and still have on writers and illustrators. They put in place the appropriately named COMICS project. In their own word, the project “advances the hypothesis that children in comics are distinctive embodiments of the complex experience of modernity, channeling and tempering modern anxieties and incarnating the freedom denied to adults.”

The instigators will host a conference this September 18 and 19th in Ghent: Comics, Children and Childishness. A rare coming together of literary criticism and the history of childhood, it promises to be an innovating event.

Another comics studies conference, this one covering a wide range of contemporary concerns, is to take place this week on July 27-29th, at the University of North Texas. Themed Comics on the Margins, it is hosted by the Comics Studies Society.

To follow progress in comics studies, see the academic journal The Comics Grid.

Source: Gyphy on Pinterest, 2023.

Donate a motorized vehicle

We are partnering with Donate a Car Canada to accept your vehicle donation from anywhere in Canada. Donate a car, a truck, a RV, or even a boat. You will be provided free towing, or you can drop off your vehicle to maximize your donation.

When you donate your vehicle to our charity through Donate A Car Canada, it will either be recycled or re-sold (depending on its condition, age and location). Donate a Car Canada will look after all the details to make it easy for our charity. You will receive a tax receipt after your vehicle donation has been processed!


Red car on the road. By Mathieu, c2000. Source: CDIC-CIDE.

Feet in the sand

Summer settles in over the northern hemisphere, and many of us will have the chance to enjoy good times at the beach. Below is an image from our collection that depicts a family having such a good time, feet in the sand. Family times at the beach build lasting memories.

Did you know that making sandcastles can lead to a life of travels and even earnings? There are dozens of amateur and professional sandcastle competitions, mainly but not exclusively, in the United States and Canada. They also take place in the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, and in Australia. According to the Guinness World Records, the latest world record for the tallest sandcastle is currently held by the resort Skulpturparken Blokhus, in Denmark. It measured 21.16 meters and was made of over 6 tons of sand.

Find illustrated descriptions of festivals and competitions in the United States, in Susan LaBorde’s article on her Happy Beachcomber website. She is a dedicated beach enthusiast. The Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting Classic took place last week, and you can see what the masters crafted there by visiting their Facebook page. At ehCanada  you can see a calendar of this summer’s events in that country.

Sand has its own museum at the Sottori Sand Dunes in Japan. What an amazing place. See the good tips they give to encourage us to get right into the action of sand sculpting.

If you can’t make it to the beach, there are always imagination and… sandpaper to save the day. You can make amazing drawings using chalk or oil pastel on sandpaper. Stacey of Capturing Parenthood has all the sandpaper art tips for us. There is also much more to do artistically with sandpaper, as we found out from Jackie Myers’ article on the Art of Education University website.

I go to the beach. By Sahana, 2021. Source: CDIC-CIDE.

ERIC inspires us

We collect and preserve cultural objects made by children, and we make those objects available for research purposes and for public interest. We believe it is important that children take part in the conversation about what they create, what they value, and whether they want to preserve or share memories or not.

For this reason, the CDIC’s board of directors has recently decided to publicly commit to upholding and promoting the principles laid out in the Ethical Research Involving Children (ERIC) Charter. The statements included in the Charter were collectively developed by the Centre for Children and Young People at Southern Cross University, Australia, and UNICEF’s Office of Research, Innocenti. It took several years of discussions and hundreds of researchers participated in the consultations that resulted in a compendium now available online in several languages.

Academic research in the humanities has increasingly used participatory methods, and the movement for open sciences has gained momentum in recent years. Meanwhile, children’s human rights have yet to become common knowledge and universally acknowledged. At CDIC, we believe it is important that collection contributors and collection users know that we care about children’s agency and well-being above all.

ERIC Charter cover image. Source: UNICEF Office of Research, 2023.

SHCY conference 2023

Well over 150 childhood and youth historians took part in person or virtually, in the Society for the History of Children and Youth’s conference this past few days, at the University of Guelph, Canada. All about childhood then and now, and what to make of it, the organizers granted us the opportunity to set up an information table, so that we could introduce our mission and collection to attendees.

The atmosphere was friendly and the hybrid sessions, and panel discussions aplenty, over two and a half days. This was a great opportunity to see historians in action in their “cultural habitat.” We were thrilled to contribute an image from the collection for the conference poster and program.

#ArchivesUnited – International Archives Week 2023

Each year, the International Council on Archives holds a world wide awareness campaign that promotes this invaluable human activity. We join the effort by reminding our followers and supporters to take good care of their personal archives, including their children’s contributions to their family history, and for the greater good in our collective experience. Take action by donating items to archives such as ours, so that future generations can be inspired to do the same.

This year again, for International Archives Day, June 9th, we take the opportunity to launch our fundraising campaign until November. Use our CanadaHelps donation form. Past support helped us make the collection available and searchable online, as well as attend community and professional events, where we meet people and build awareness for the cause.

When kids fought inflation – Canada, 1947

A war, mass migration, rampant inflation, street protests, and democracy versus communism. This combo is too familiar almost everywhere on the planet these days. Sadly, it is not the first time in history, which some say repeats itself.

But wait, add kids and chocolate bars to the mix, and you get a unique moment in Canadian history.

From a 2022 article by Taylor C. Noakes, in the Canadian Encyclopedia, we learn that in 1947, hundreds of kids took angrily to the streets in several cities in the country. Their cause? They were protesting against the drastic price hike of chocolate bars, from five to eight cents.

What began as a seemingly benign and somewhat amusing burst of discontent, eventually turned out to be taken seriously, to the point that the local police intervened in some cases. Within just a few weeks, with popular support, children made candy bar sales drop by no less than eighty percent.

Only after the Toronto press reported on a presumably communist infiltration among the youth, did the public opinion turned against protestors, and their recriminations silenced.

Filmmaker Phillip Daniels made a fantastic documentary about it, back in 2003: The five cent war. The film gives a voice to some of the protestors, half a century after the fact. Two children’s books about the event are also on the market. Maggie and the chocolate war (2007) by , Michelle Mulder, and Candy bar war (2121) by Lindsay Ford.

Spoiler: In real life, the price of the chocolate bars never came down again. In the end only grown-ups told that story. We looked for them, but unfortunately we did not find any children’s drawings coming out of this moment in Canadian history. Sad.

Sad. By Yvon, c1965. Source: CDIC-CIDE.
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