Creativity at TLC

By Olivia Loveday

Students at the Leadership Center (TLC) have the opportunity to develop new skills in English, Community Development, Business and Entrepreneurship, where two aspects are vital: ingenuity and inspiration. Some of the women have decided to fill a gap in the mechanical sector, others turn to the culinary industry, perfecting the crisp of their soon to be best-selling tajadas. During my time on campus, I’ve also had the privilege of seeing many students empower their voices using their hands. They put pen and paintbrush to paper, or their fingers to strings and piano keys, expressing themselves in a musical and colourful way. 

Creativity, especially that which is artistic and crafty, has innumerable positives. It goes hand in hand with culture, a way to connect to our environment and allows us to communicate facts and emotions. It has been shown to decrease anxiety and increase confidence also contributing to endorphin releases. It has the potential of opening doors and developing into a profession, an avenue some of our alumni have already gone down in recent years. Take Yudy, the subject of one of our recent Graduate Stories, whose jewellery making courses snowballed into a community development project empowering women and leading to their financial independence.

I sat down with Joanna (J), a soon to be graduating second-year student, and Martha (M), a first year student. I asked them about creativity and how their time learning with Leadership Mission International has allowed them to deepen their interests in art and music. 

Johana, 24, holding up some of her art

Tell me a little bit about yourself!

(M) I am from Zambrano, I found out about LMI thanks to Mrs. Hannah (Bryant), who told my sister about the NGO. After failing to get in 2017, so reapplied last year and was luckily successful!  My favourite subject is art and sewing. 

(J) My name is Johana Feldman and I come from La Mosquitia. I found out about Leadership Mission International (LMI) through my pastor, Luis Segundo. I love Maths, and it has been my favourite subject here. 

What is it about art and painting or music that you enjoy in particular? 

(M) I love instrumental music and how it relaxes me. That being said, I don’t have a specific favourite type of music. I tend to focus on what the song is telling me. I’ve also started learning to play the piano but I’m still a beginner. I found a book in the library last year and started teaching myself. Now that my English has improved, I can also understand the book better. I want to continue and persevere in order to be able to play at church!

(J) I am a shy person and doesn’t like to talk a lot. I can express my emotions through my painting or my drawings, that’s what I love about it. I can’t say ‘I love you’ to someone. I have the ability to show my affection by making something and offering it.

What inspires you to paint/ play music? 

(M) I want to be able to play it at church, for God. It also relaxes me before exams, and helps me deal with personal issues. 

(J) Nature and also there is something in my heart that tells me to do it. It’s a thing of beauty, and people can look at your paintings, and feel something enriching. It’s a gift to be able to make someone smile through your work. 

What does the word creativity mean to you? 

(J) It signifies seeing something simple that you make into something beautiful. 

(M) When I hear that word I think about a person taking advantage of their abilities and their gift to inspire others to better themselves and impact others in a positive way through their abilities (art, music…) 

How has TLC helped you explore your creativity? 

(J) We know that here on campus, everyone is incredible encouraging, whether it’s the students or the staff. We are always hearing ‘you don’t know if you don’t try’. That’s how TLC has helped me discover and develop this new part of myself. One day last year, I was just in class paying attention but my mind was also on different things. I started sketching a small drawing and it has spiralled from then. I discovered that I loved creating things, using my imagination, and I will keep at it because it’s something truly beautiful and enriching. 

(M) We have a lot of different activities to put into practice the abilities that we have and develop them. On our first day here, Mrs Karla and Ms Gibelly explained to us that we should take advantage of everything that we have available to us on campus. The first thing that came to my mind was that I needed to play the piano! I wanted to use the tools given to me to share at devotional, at bible study and in church. I also focus on sports such as basketball and football. I feel very lucky that I have the opportunity to read here, with the TLC Library. I don’t have anything like that at home. I haven’t even gotten into the baking and the sewing! 

Before I started my education here with LMI, I didn’t know that I learn all these new topics and subjects, and discovered that I love using with my hands. For example, I’ve developed a skill and taken advantage of it during events on campus, helping with decorations. 

Something that is very special here, is that for each activity we are as a great team, allowing for better results. You never work alone, so we can accomplish so much. It’s incredible to learn to do that. Even if you have the ability, you can always improve and your team-mates lift you up. 

If you could learn any new skill/ topic on campus what would it be? (1st Year specific)

(M) I would want to learn more about building objects, using skills such as woodworking. I was inspired seeing my teachers saw and sand a table for the staff lounge and would love to be able to make similar things!

What’s next for you? (2nd Year specific) 

(J) This summer, I am working with Tree Life in Copan and contributing to community development projects. After my internship I want dedicated 3 months to learn more about art, how to paint, and perhaps develop professionally as an artist. I’ve also given a lot of thought to becoming a physical therapist or a chiropractor. I’m very excited about the future!

Thank you for taking the time to read this article about life on campus and our students. For more information about how you can support our mission, don’t hesitate to explore the rest of our website!