Sumita Bose is a teacher of mathematics and a hobbyist from Florida (USA) who is spreading joy and hope. She creates colorful cards and crafts to bring encouragement to children and seniors who are going through life-altering challenges. Sumita hopes to bring “a ray of sunshine to those who need it the most,” and in this interview, she shares her inspiring story and insights on how art can make a difference in the world, and how kids can get involved in spreading kindness and compassion through art too.
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Finding the Light in the Darkness
Sumita was inspired to create colorful cards with uplifting messages after being diagnosed with an incurable illness that restricted her social life. She realized that medically compromised children must also feel the same sense of ”sadness, distress, and frustration” that she felt. However, Sumita found solace in art and she started sending to different charities and children’s hospitals her encouraging cards.
“In 2012, I was diagnosed with an incurable medical condition that restricted my socialization and doing the activities which I loved to do. This confinement led to sadness, distress, and finally frustration – I used to crave anything that would warm the cockles of my heart. It made me realize that being an adult it is very difficult to fathom the irritation and frustration so how much more will it be affecting medically compromised children. Through making colorful cards with inspiring thoughts my effort is to bring in a ray of sunshine and hope, and convey the message that they are not alone in their fight,” Sumita confesses.
Supporting Charitable Causes
Sumita collaborates with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (cancer research hospital based in Memphis, Tennessee, USA), “Give Kids the World Village” (a non-profit ‘storybook’ resort in Kissimmee, Florida, USA), “Mycharity4kids” (the Chesney family’s non-profit organisation, which raises awareness about blindness, based in Miami, Florida, USA), “Cards for hospitalized kids” (a charitable organization that spreads hope and joy through cards across various children’s hospitals in America), and “DOROT” (a charitable organization from New York, USA, caring for seniors).
Besides, Sumita sends her encouraging cards to various nursing homes in the USA, and she donates her art and crafts to charities for auctions to raise money for their noble cause: “Simply Amazing” (a non-profit organisation from Florida, USA, whose mission is to provide art and craft supplies to children living in foster care), and “East Side Elders” (a non-profit organisation which provides help for seniors in Minnesota, USA).
“Generally, my search is for charities run by people who have gone through or going through life-altering challenges,” Sumita says.
A Small Kind Gesture Can Make a Big Difference in Someone’s Life
Sumita shares a particularly meaningful experience she had while creating and sharing her art. She made a card of a rainbow smiling through the clouds with the message “Thinking of you” and left it near the door of a senior lady in her neighborhood who was scheduled for spine surgery. The lady was touched by Sumita’s card and even framed it and hung it on the wall next to her bed to help her heal faster. Sumita felt “a wave of positive emotion” flowing through her, knowing that her small handmade card had such a big impact.
“Once I came to know from my doctor friend that a senior lady living alone in my neighborhood was scheduled for spine surgery. I knew her by face but never spoke to her. I created a card of a rainbow smiling through the clouds with the message – “Thinking of you” and left it near her door. A few days later during my evening walk, I saw her standing outside her house. I greeted her and asked her if she had received my card. Her eyes twinkled with joy. She called me, gave me a hug, and said – ‘Oh it was you; I was wondering who this angel is! You know I framed your card and hung it on the wall next to my bed. It is helping me to heal quickly.’ I felt a wave of positive emotion flowing through me. Just a small handmade card made such a big difference in her life,” Sumita recalls.
Sumita believes that each one of us is special and unique, but sometimes we need someone to remind us how amazing we truly are.
“Once I had drawn a Superman card and sent it to a special need boy whose age was chronologically 19 but cognitively 6 years. I had written the message – “ You are awesome”. He used to be morose and rarely smiled. His mother was deeply moved and sent me a thank you card along with his photograph laughing heartily clutching my card. Probably he felt that he can also be someone special,” she shares.
Art as a Universal Language that Brings Happiness
Sumita considers that art can promote empathy and understanding among people from different backgrounds because art is ”a universal language” that spreads positivity and joy into the world.
“Language can be a barrier in communication, but art is a universal language. It is a reflection and expression of the mind. It can invoke the same feelings across the boundaries of countries and cultures. The combination of colors can connect diverse people, promote positivity and brighten up the mood of another person in any part of the world,” Sumita says.
She continues by telling that happiness may be found via art and that a smile on a child’s face has “a ripple effect” on the family.
“Art brings beauty to the world. Apart from beauty, my art focuses on bringing joy, encouragement, and hope. A smile on a child’s face has a ripple effect on the family. Happy parents become happy employees thus making a happy atmosphere at the workplace. This happiness goes on like a chain reaction. When I receive a message that my small effort has made some difference in a person’s life it gives me immense happiness,” Sumita thinks.
Sumita believes that kids can get involved in the spread of compassion and goodwill via art, and she encourages them to make cheerful cards with heartfelt messages and send them to orphanages, children’s homes, or old age homes. She says that parents and teachers alike play a crucial role in shaping children’s self-confidence and openness towards arts.
”The kids can create cheerful cards, write an encouraging message, and give them to their friends, parents, grandparents, and neighbors. If possible, they can send their cards to an orphanage/children’s home or old age homes. (…) The parents and teachers can first encourage the children to embrace art in whatever form and shape that they like (commonly a child thinks ‘My drawing will be bad and will be laughed at’, which should be dispelled). Then the child should be guided towards using positive and encouraging thoughts towards the artistic objects they create,” she says.
Sumita tells us that anything drawn from the heart is art (HEART), and she advises children who are interested in pursuing art to start any artwork with an open mind and positive emotions.
“My realizations are that thought is the most powerful tool, and skill is not the final word in art. I feel anything drawn from the heart is art (HEART). Hence, every human being is a born artist. Starting any artwork in an open mind with positive emotions is the correct approach rather than thinking what others may think about our skill level,” she advises.
Sumita’s ambition for the near future is to put together a gallery show that will feature artworks of sick children and lonely elders. She wishes to spread the belief that love, kindness, and compassion instill hope.
“I want to spread joy and positive vibes in the world through ailing children. I am planning to organize an art exhibition displaying the artwork of ailing kids and lonely seniors. I want to put forward the message that love, kindness, and compassion inculcate hope,” she shares.
Fun with Mathematics
Sumita combined her love for children with her teaching experience of more than 20 years and wrote “Fun with Mathematics”, a book that lives up to its name and encourages the 8-11-year-olds to discover the secrets of mathematics through puzzles, games, amazing facts, and magic, all based on mathematical concepts.
Divided into 10 chapters, “Fun with Mathematics” offers, in a playful manner, opportunities for kids to learn tricks and shortcuts to fast calculations, and to have fun with optical illusions and engrossing patterns. And yes, the book also contains jokes related to mathematics!
Sumita thinks that mathematics can be learned in a fun way: “I believe in the equation, Mathematics + Fun = Outstanding Performance. When learning is enjoyable children become interested in the learning process and are motivated to learn more. This book develops that interest and motivation. It is suitable for those children who love mathematics as well as for those who are scared of this subject”.
Take a look for yourself at Sumita’s “Fun with Mathematics”, and let me know in the comments what you think about her inspiring story and how you intend to bring Joy and Hope to the world.
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