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    Wednesday, February 20, 2019-7:27:58A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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MYPros recognizes three local artists for help in typhoon recovery

LOCAL artists Peter Aldan, Yolani Camacho and Kimberly Mendiola, who collaborated with students in creating murals at the MYPros recovery center in Dandan, received the “Hope is Here to Stay” Award from the Marianas Young Professionals on Saturday.

San Vicente Elementary School librarian Meena Benavente earlier received the same award for her artwork.

According to MYPros executive director Gerard van Gils, the mural project in Dandan is part of the healing process.

“From the very beginning we know that emotional healing is going to be the biggest part of recovering from Yutu,” he said. “We were able to get everybody food and water and shelter. We worked on those core goals, but what about how we all feel? How we feel determines our happiness. It determines how successful we are in the recovery. How we manage stress is very important to the recovery.”

He said typhoon survivors were invited to participate in mural painting at the Dandan recovery center which is the former Marianas Baptist Academy.

MYPros was among the first responders after Typhoon Yutu slammed into the island, van Gils said.

Through the funds the group raised in partnerships with the CNMI government and other community organizations, he said MYPros was able to provide hot meals to thousands of people.

Local artists Peter Aldan, second  left, Yolani Camacho, third  right, and Kimberly Mendiola, second  right, were given the “Hope is Here to Stay” Award by Marianas Young Professionals for helping the community heal from the trauma and stress brought by Typhoon Yutu. Also in photo are MYPros officials Dr. Bobby Cruz, Gerard van Gils, Matt Deleon Guerrero, Nola Hix and Kaitlyn Neises.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio Local artists Peter Aldan, second left, Yolani Camacho, third right, and Kimberly Mendiola, second right, were given the “Hope is Here to Stay” Award by Marianas Young Professionals for helping the community heal from the trauma and stress brought by Typhoon Yutu. Also in photo are MYPros officials Dr. Bobby Cruz, Gerard van Gils, Matt Deleon Guerrero, Nola Hix and Kaitlyn Neises. Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

He said they also distributed emotional and therapeutic toys as well as other relief items through the Public School System. For their part, shelters received hygiene and cleaning supplies from MYPros, he added.

“We also cleared beaches and we removed fallen trees from houses. We have done so much work. We recover physically by cleaning up our homes. But we recover emotionally through arts,” van Gils said.

With the mural activity, he said the idea is to engage students and other members of the community in collaboration with local artists. “We let the artists do what they want and work with the kids. We give them resources — paints, brushes and walls as canvasses. We hope they will continue to do things that help heal our community.”

One of the artists, Peter Aldan, said van Gils approached him and he in turn approached Yolani Camacho and Kimberly Mendiola.

“With all the stress and trauma after the storm, [van Gils] wanted us to come together and start creating art that can lift the mood of everyone,” Aldan said.

At the MYPros recovery center, each artist was given space for their canvas, and with the participating students, they created art. 

“The main idea is to provide an outlet for the kids,” Aldan said. “It gives them a sense of ownership. It allows them to let out anything they have inside without words. We use art as an outlet and a venue that is welcoming and inviting.”