Art with Heart

Brittney Osborn


Art with Heart

The children of CityYouth Ministries will soon have a chance to show off their creativity and artistic skills at the third annual Art With Heart, a student showcase and fundraiser to be held on April 11. Executive Director Hannah Caddy came up with the idea for Art With Heart in an effort to connect the program’s fundraiser directly with the children it serves.

CityYouth Ministries is a faith-based, nonprofit organization that provides after-school and summer programs at no cost to approximately 100 students in the Jonesboro community. During the school year, students are bussed from Jonesboro Public Schools directly to CityYouth, which is located in Downtown Jonesboro on Burke Avenue. Upon arrival, students are provided with a warm meal, followed by worship time and a Bible lesson. The students then go into activity time with a variety of options such as art, music lessons, basketball, robotics, tinker time, book club, gardening and homework help with a certified teacher on staff.

Caddy says that while her role at CityYouth is rewarding, it does not come without challenges.

“There is so much about being at CityYouth that is rewarding,” she said. “You get to see firsthand kids experiencing a safe place to learn, to grow and to play. You see them flourish and become confident in their ability to interact with others, in their academics and in the different extracurricular activities that we offer them. You see prayers get answered, needs get met and families grow stronger when given support.

“The most challenging part is by far the overwhelming physical, spiritual, academic and social/emotional needs that children in our community face. I think our community would be heartbroken to know the hardships our children face.”

Hospitality Coordinator Amanda Smith says her favorite part about her work with CityYouth is building relationships with the students.

“I love the connections I build with the kids. Cooking and serving them dinner daily allows me to check in with them about their day and how they are doing,” said Smith. “I also love the support we get from the community. Recently, we’ve had some large food donations that provided our kids with food they don’t typically get to have. It was neat to see their excitement.”

CityYouth Ministries is able to provide programs at no cost to students with support from donations, community partnerships, grant funding, local churches and individual donors. The success of the Art With Heart fundraiser will determine if CityYouth will be able to offer their summer program for three or four days a week during the summer months. Leading up to the fundraiser, CityYouth students have been working to create art pieces using various mediums such as floral paintings on canvas while utilizing a Q-tip to create the flower petals. Caddy says this year’s masterpiece is unlike any other.

“Each one of our students had a fabric quilt square that they got to personalize to depict what CityYouth means to them or what they enjoy most about our programs,” she said. “Each square is being sewn together by one of our faithful donors. It will be displayed at the show and available for purchase. This is going to be a one-of-a-kind piece with so much love poured into it from the squares to the stitching together.”

All of the students’ artwork will be available for purchase at Art With Heart. Caddy wants to forge connections between CityYouth students and their supportive community through art and the fundraiser.

“We hope that having a piece of artwork created by one of our children would remind the owner of our kids and the important work that we do that is not possible without the support of the community,” said Caddy. “One sweet memory that we have is that one of our students created a piece that featured a black dog. While at the event, one of our board members who has two black labs, Teagan and Tex, saw the piece and purchased it. Later in the art show, the student who created the artwork was able to see that his piece was purchased by the board member, and they were able to connect. The student was so proud.”

Art With Heart will be held at Wildflower Event Venue, 3410 E. Johnson Ave., Suite M, on April 11. It will be a drop-in style event from 5-7:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Tickets are available for purchase by visiting, visiting CityYouth Ministries’ Facebook page or calling CityYouth Ministries at (870) 932-9398.