Written by Carolyn Greco, City of Dublin Volunteer
Jignasha Gandhi carefully cuts out giant flowers from thick art paper. Until four months ago Jignasha, a former electrical engineer, did not have experience working in an “Ooey Gooey Creations” class.
Jignasha, her husband and their 8-year-old daughter moved to Dublin two years ago from an assignment in Sweden. Jignasha’s husband is a design engineer on a current project with Honda. They are originally from Gujarat, India.
Every Monday morning Jignasha assists staff employee Kari Perman with the hands on art classes for 1 ½ to 5-year-olds. Jignasha places sheets of manila paper on large, short tables as the toddlers and their caretakers begin to arrive. She greets the 1 ½ to 3-year-olds and locates oversized t-shirts to protect the toddlers’ clothing from the washable paint. Once everyone is seated Kari explains to the dozen caregivers and children how to dip pipe cleaners into the bowls of blue, green, red and yellow paint and smear it across their paper. The noise level in the room quickly rises amidst shrill squeals and occasional tears.
“I like to spend time with the children,” says Jignasha, who had not previously worked with preschoolers.
She dips a toilet paper roll in a bowl of thick green paint, demonstrates to a little girl how to stamp her paper and then steps aside. Another 2-year-old isn’t happy about the green paint smeared on her fingers and waves them as if to say, “Ok, I’m done now. Wash my hands.” Almost on cue the youngsters begin to line up at the sink while Jignasha scurries around the tables to set up for the second project.
The children, their caregivers and the class delight Jignasha.
“The children are so innocent. I enjoy the things they say—and I learn so many things about painting from Kari,” she says. Jignasha duplicates some to the art lessons at home for her daughter who loves creating things.
“I like how the children act with their colors. They get crazy ideas—like the painted flowers. After the flowers dry you won’t believe how they look.”
As the children wave good-bye Jignasha is busy collecting paint bottles, putting them in the plastic bin, washing handfuls of brushes and setting up for the next class.
“It’s so helpful having Jignasha here,” adds Kari. “We have fun together!”
The Volunteer Spotlight series shines a light on the City of Dublin’s valued volunteers. To recommend a deserving volunteer, or to inquire about volunteer opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org.