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Former Mount Vernon resident brings art talents to Parker

Chelsea Phaire

For Chelsea Phaire, art was a way to ease sorrow at a difficult time. When her grandfather passed away, she was encouraged to create a drawing of him, which was inserted in the elder relative’s pocket when he was buried.

Since then, she has drawn enormous benefits from practicing art, and they are gifts she shares with everyone she can. A former Mount Vernon resident who is now in the seventh grade, she visited Cecil H. Parker School bringing bags of art supplies for second and third graders, and then led 20 students in an art class.

It was all captured by a news crew from CNN, which named Phaire one of its Young Wonders, a small group of noteworthy young people the news station honors annually along with its CNN Heroes awards. The presentation was shown Sunday, Dec. 12, on CNN.

“Art is important because it gives kids the freedom to express themselves,” Phaire explained after giving the class at Parker. “It helps get them through traumatizing experiences. It helps them get through tough times, helps them recover from previous tough times and it also helps us express ourselves when we’re sad and angry.”

There is also joy in art, of course, and she encouraged students to explore it in their own way. Once they finished drawing the head of the character they were creating, Phaire told her young students the look of the body they added was up to them.

“You guys can do whatever you want,” she told them. “It’s your artwork. Go crazy!”

Principal Jacqueline Green thanked Phaire for the visit and the gift to the school’s students.

“We are grateful and honored that Chelsea chose the Cecil H. Parker School to receive such a heartfelt donation,” she said.

While Mount Vernon retains a special place in Phaire’s heart three years after the family moved away, her visit to Parker was only one stop of many she makes. She has formalized her giving in her own organization, Chelsea’s Charity.

The visit captured the hearts of the school community. Parent Liaison Nakia Hiland was struck by what a remarkable young woman she is.

“Her insight and her energy is just what our young people need,” she said.

Chelsea Phaire