Troubled Teens Gain the Confidence to Try

Confidence n. 1. trust, reliance 2 belief in one’s own abilities 3 an invisible force

I teach art here at Oxbow Academy. My goal is to get our boys to try something new and different. I’m always hearing the same excuse: “I can’t draw!” Well, isn’t that why you take a drawing class? To learn how to draw? I have seen so many amazed faces when students are able to execute their ideas on paper.

Recently one of our grads wrote: “I just want to say Mrs. Erin ever since your art classes I’ve been exploring and doing a lot of freehand stuff. I’m getting pretty good 🙂 lol Thanks for the classes. They sparked an interest for me that i didn’t know I had.”

Maybe it is an interest. Maybe it is confidence. Maybe it’s the “permission” to try something new. Whatever it is, it is powerful beyond words. It is also a beginning. Our students may not realize it at the time but  just trying something that they thought they couldn’t do empowers them to do more! 

This week I saw a young man  make enormous strides therapeutically. This is a young man who has struggled and struggled to keep his head above water. It started with small successes, trying new things. Art was just one of them. During equine therapy this week I watched him take out one of the Arabian horses.  Her name is Miss Priss and she is feisty! He wanted to ride her so bad. He wanted her to be “his” horse.

I watched him in the round pen while she bounced and pranced. I watched him calm himself down, breathe. I watched Miss Priss begin to calm as well.  For the rest of the session he continued to ride her. Every time she sped up He calmed her down.  He stuck with it! He rode her until the end of the evening.  When he climbed down from the saddle he was absolutely glowing. His smile stretched from ear to ear and there was no stopping it.

I don’t know if he will love riding horses for the rest of his life.  I don’t know if all the kids in my art class will go on to be artists!  I do know that when they try and when they feel the confidence that comes from trying and being successful they will go on to do and be whatever they put their heart and mind to being. by Erin Nester, Admissions Coordinator, Art Instructor