Texas Connects Us: Charity Uses Art and Education to Help Kids

Take a moment to stop, listen and put yourself in someone else's shoes.

That's the idea behind a revealing exhibit inside the Big Thought offices in Dallas.

"The whole prompt was, 'What is something that changed you? What's something that made you shift your whole being?'" said artist Camryn Busby.

The exhibit is compiled of student photography and audio recordings detailing personal, often painful, moments in their lives.

For Busby that meant talking about family struggles with mental illness. For artist Karla Done it meant opening up about witnessing the downtown Dallas police shooting.

The exhibit is one aspect of Big Thought's mission to use art and education to close the opportunity gap among children in Dallas.

"It starts with the core belief that every child who is born has greatness in them regardless of ZIP code or race," said CEO Byron Sanders.

The nonprofit just named Sanders as its new CEO, and the southern Dallas native who grew up around domestic violence says the mission is personal.

"For me, I saw myself in our work," Sanders said. "These kids have so much to give, so much internal greatness, but a lot of folks have written them off."

Big Thought programs offer in-school and after-school activities. They focus on providing a creative space to help kids cope with whatever they have going on in their lives and give them a place to find their voice.

"They don't tell you no. They want you to create something new true and raw," artist Karla Done said.

The goal is to help students look beyond society's expectations to become the next big thinkers and leaders.

"They're family. They make you feel like family," Busby said.

ONLINE: Click to learn more about Big Thought's programs.

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