Leading the Way - Gabe's Story

When Gabe walked into Pacific Lutheran Church to attend the Spring Break programming, KBTC staff members were happy to see him. Gabe has attended several other KBTC programs in the past, like the Wapato Summer Camp, and staff have had the pleasure of seeing him grow over the years. As Gabe has gotten older, however, some of the PBS KIDS activities have lost their newness and excitement. While the other kids were taking part in Ready Jet Go! activities, blackout poetry and designing a neighborhood, Gabe began to wander. When the staff realized he was bored, they asked if he would like to get the group started on their Paint to Learn activity.

"I tried to explain how to mix colors," Gabe began as he sat cross-legged on the floor when the activity was over.

"I showed the kids how to make new colors by combining others. Then I showed them what negative space is and why that's important. You don't want everything to be in color because negative space helps other things stand out. I painted an orange tree and city buildings using cross-hatch," he leaned in close and whispered, "that's a kind of art technique where you use scratchy lines."

Gabe shared that he was nervous when the staff asked if he'd wanted to get the kids started, but he got over that feeling quickly the more he worked with the other kids.

"I just tried to think about things that would help them. I told them to think about shapes they see in the world and to start there. Then they could add onto those shapes. That seemed to help them."

Gabe didn't just get the kids started on their painting activity, he continued to lead them throughout. He explained techniques, colors, styles, and created his own art to use as an example. Gabe utilized past Ruff Ruffman and Odd Squad activities to help him teach the kids, moving him from past attendee to a role of leadership among his peers.

"Leading them was fun. I was nervous at first but I'm glad I did it and I'd do it again. Once I got started it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Now I know what I can do with my own art set at home."


"I like to call Spring Break 'blooming time' because it's spring and all the new flowers grow. That's what happens with the kids over break. They grow." - Honey, KBTC Staff

"I like to get the kids involved in designing their community. If they want a movie theater, we're going to work to get that to them. Many want better grocery stores, so we're working on that too. We want the kids to be proud of the community and come back it." - Tiffany, Fab-5

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