Christine Catindig, Philippines, Utica College, Global UGRAD 2016-2017
While it is true that the Global UGRAD Program helps its participants answer their questions about the world, the uniqueness of the program also lies in its ability to encourage and influence students to dare ask themselves challenging questions such as “What can we do to serve others?”
The arTEA Project is a Global UGrad alumni-led project that aims to serve young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Zulia State, Venezuela. arTEA is a combination of the words ‘art’ and ‘Trastornos del Espectro Autista’ (TEA) or ASD. The project was developed by three Global UGRAD 2016-2017 alumni, namely: Luis Hernandez Ramirez (Venezuela), Christine Grace Catindig (Philippines), and José Gabriel Barreat (Venezuela).
arTEA’s main objective is to help hone the artistic talents of young people with ASD so they can learn how to express themselves better, develop their personal independence, and successfully accomplish activities in an inclusive environment. In the coming months, the team will launch workshops on music, culinary arts, storytelling, drama, and plastic arts. This will be followed by workshops for parents, guardians, and mentors so they can have access to resources that will help them know how they can assist children with ASD.
As of now, the team works closely with five local partners: Cátedra Libre de Autismo –Universidad del Zulia, Fundación Peter Alexander para Niños Autistas del Estado Zulia, Centro de Atención Integral de Personas con Autismo (CAIPA), Facultad Experimental de Arte –Universidad del Zulia (FEDA-LUZ), and Universidad Católica Cecilio Acosta.
For the past months, the team has been growing and more volunteers have been communicating their readiness to promote inclusion through arTEA. The team is also making a positive noise on social media and will continue disseminating information to promote awareness on ASD in various social media channels.