What would lead Madison, Wisconsin’s, Ben Schumaker to visit an orphanage at the base of a volcano in Nicaragua carrying 62 pounds of painted portraits? A labor of love—one he started in college called The Memory Project.
Schumaker told CBS News that he wants to give the orphans “a sense of personal heritage” since they have no parents to give it to them. The orphans’ photos are taken by someone in their area, then those pictures are sent to Schumaker who sends them to high school art teachers around the U.S. The teachers make it a class assignment to paint portraits of the orphans.
Schumaker has found that after staring into the eyes of the orphans in the pictures, the American students develop a sense of connection to their subjects and compassion for their needs. “If it can raise the net level of compassion in the world by that much, I’ll be happy,” he says.
The Memory Project has distributed over 4,000 portraits to orphans around the world—and continues to open the hearts of teens in the United States to the needs of the less fortunate.
Those who are kind reward themselves.
Help me bring joy to others, Messiah.