~ Drive-through pick-up event just one of many mental-health related projects for dedicated local volunteer ~
By Terry Harris
Marsha Granderson – better known as Ms. G – is often described as a Sussex County Community liaison because of all the projects for local kids in which she is involved. This week, the Sussex County native – who is also a QMHPC (Qualified, Mental Health Professional for Children) – said that she is excited to be part of a special project coming up Thursday when she and her sister, Dr. Phyllis Tolliver, Director of the Jessica A Moore Foundation, will hand out free art kits with a twofold purpose for local kids.
“On Thursday morning, July 23 at 11 a.m., we’ll be providing 125 really great free Art Kits for kids,” Granderson explained. “They’re being donated by Eliza Lamb – owner and director of Hopewell’s The Lamb Center of the ARTS, and we’ll be handing them out in Waverly at the foundation. We’ve even set up a safe, drive-through pick-up social distancing situation, and we’re really excited about it.”
Granderson explained that the kits, which also contain pencils, a mask and hand sanitizer, will be free for kids in Sussex and surrounding counties, and that while they’re intended to provide fun for the kids, there’s also a deeper purpose behind this project.
“Art is therapeutic,” she said, “and The Lamb Center for Arts and Healing is dedicated to helping communities and individuals thrive through the arts. I’m grateful that they thought of us here in Sussex County. I think it’s important to try to provide some type of therapeutic activity to keep the kids’ minds engaged – just to give them something additional to do other than the regular video games and the social media. This brings out the creativity and provides focus for them in this challenging time.”
Granderson, who has been described as a “nonstop, out in the streets making sure people have what they need” person, said that she thinks it’s always important to stay engaged with kids and families – “to put feet on the ground” – through projects like this.
“The children and the families’ mental health going through this [COVID-19] is important,” she said. “Since long before this pandemic, kids have been suffering trauma, loss of their parents, being removed from homes, staying with grandma, sex trafficking, it’s just endless.”
“It’s important to just raise awareness of what’s going on in their surroundings,” she continued. “I feel like having a connection, being visible, and having the kids being able to trust me that they can come to me if there’s an issue or a problem is crucial. It’s important to continue to build rapport with families to bridge the gap. And the COVID situation is just increasing amounts of depression, suicidal thoughts because of lack of jobs, and things like this which have made it even worse. That’s why getting kids out to get these art kits is so important now. It’s all about providing support and understanding, being mindful of their environment and what they are going through.”
“No matter how tough you think your situation in life is,” she added, “there’s always someone who has to face challenges that are even tougher than yours. Often it goes all the way down to simply trying to do basic things keep food on the table. But the world is full of good, kind, and caring people, and I try to lift spirits and just be humble. I say never let the negative spirits of others stop your blessings!”
Free Art Kits from The Lamb Center will be available for drive-up pick-up at The Jessica Ann Moore Foundation, 408 School Street in Waverly beginning at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 23. Granderson asks that parents please bring your child along for the pick-up if possible. For further information, or to reserve a kit for your child or to have a kit delivered if you do not have transportation call 434 – 851-7100 or (267) 226-8644.