Alana Kora is a 14-year-old rising freshman who lives in California. She recently started a YouTube channel, where she posts arts and crafts videos for young disabled children. She started this through Harmony Foundation because it involves two of her favorite things to do: helping people and art.
How do you go about choosing art projects to showcase in your videos?
I usually choose my art projects depending on the weather or season, so that kids can decorate and showcase their houses with the crafts they created.
What type of art projects do you make tutorials for? How is it connected to the target audience you are trying to appeal to?
I usually create tutorials for coloring and crafts that are really easy and not too complicated. Since my target age group is more on the younger side, I usually do simple 5-15 minute crafts.
Take us through the process of designing an art tutorial. Do you develop the procedure yourself or use existing resources? What planning/preparation goes into creating your videos?
First, I usually surf the web for easy art and crafts projects. My main go-to website for crafts is Pinterest. Then after choosing my project, I look more into the details of how to make the project. If it is too complicated, I usually add my own twist to make it easier for the kids. Then I make a lesson plan, which consists of: all the items I need, how it will help or learning objectives, and a list of all the procedures and steps required to make the video. After I have completed this, I buy all the materials or use what I have at home. With all the items, I then set up my camera and start recording. At this point, I have completed about 75% of the tutorial. After the video has been recorded, I record a voice over so that the instructions will be more clear. Last but not least, I edit the video and sent it over to Hannah Thomas for her feedback. Once she has told me her feedback, we upload it on to Youtube for kids and teachers to use!
How are students with special needs able to interactively engage with your videos amidst the COVID-19 pandemic?
I like to add fun music and do funny movements during the video to get a laugh out of them. I also think doing a project that is not too hard but requires concentration can keep them engaged and excited to make their crafts.
Why is it so important to provide children with special needs a creative outlet to express themselves?
I think it absolutely important for children with special needs to have a creative outlet to express themselves. These wonderful kids may have a hard time talking and having fun with other kids, and what better way to express themselves than through art. It is important that kids don’t bottle up or feel congested with their feelings because it can hurt them both physically and mentally. Through an outlet, kids can reduce anxiety, stress, and emotional pain. It can also benefit kids by increasing and developing interpersonal skills, self-esteem, and awareness of their feelings.
What differentiates your art tutorials from others that aim to teach art?
My art videos not only plan to help kids do art projects, but also for them to have fun. During this Covid-19 disaster, I think it's important for these kids to take a break out of their day to do a 10 minute art exercise to develop important functions of their brain like mental flexibility and self-control.
What are long-term goals you expect to accomplish with your initiative?
I plan to teach classes on Zoom in the future. I want to be able to practice my communication skills, so that I can talk to and teach kids and adults in the future.
What profession do you see yourself pursuing in the future?
In the future, I plan to be in a medical profession. This is mainly because of my love for helping others.