Blossoms from St. Martin

Sheina Herrera lives in St. Martin, where it’s 85 degrees every day. “The weather never changes,” she said. When she moved there from West Orange over the summer with her husband so he could attend medical school there, she didn’t want to leave behind her work at Friendship Circle, where she has led art classes since 2014.

Call it a COVID silver lining, but as long as Friendship Circle programs run virtually, she can still teach.  

“I like the creativity of it,” she said. “I like to connect the creative part with helping kids develop skills through the projects.”

She designs projects using a variety of media and focuses on improving fine motor skills. When there’s a canvas involved, as there was this past Sunday, it’s not just painting but also dabbing and patting with Q-tips, and schmearing. 

Sunday’s project, painting blossoming trees to connect with the upcoming holiday of Tu B’Shvat, celebrated January 17 this year, attracted about ten participants in the 21 and over group, known as Josh’s Club, and about as many in the teen/preteen group. 

Herrera pointed out that while online, participants don’t have their teen buddies to guide and help them, as they do when programs are in person. “Online they were on their own. I was very impressed with what they accomplished and so proud of them!” After seven years, she said, “I know all the kids. I love their reactions when they see me. It’s such a good feeling for me as a teacher!”

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