Bianca Valle just ended a successful sophomore year at , filled with sports playing, committee joining and club founding—but she wanted more.
She was looking for a group to join when she realized none of the clubs offered anything artsy.
“I really like art, and I really like giving back and helping people,” the 16-year-old said. “So I thought we should give art.”
That’s how Bianca founded the Art of Giving Club at Coronado High, which creates art to donate or to sell to raise money. She’s at the helm of the club as president, leading 20 members, all girls, although she insists “boys are welcome!”
“We made this huge collage—we all had individual canvases—and everyone painted a different letter in the word ‘Coronado,’” she said. “There were three rows and we had it framed.”
The art was auctioned at the school’s annual gala held at the , where it sold for $900. The club donated the proceeds to the Coronado Schools Foundation.
Other projects the group has taken on include donating artwork to the Polinsky Children’s Center in Kearny Mesa and San Diego County’s shelter for youngsters who are removed from their homes, and finger puppets for the Ronald McDonald House, near Rady Children’s Hospital in Serra Mesa.
Around Christmas, she was inspired after walking into a small store on Orange Avenue and decided to make finger puppets. Using felt, the club pumped out two to three puppets each to use in gift bags for children being treated for serious or life-threatening illnesses at the Ronald McDonald House.
“We sat around at lunch and made them — almost like a knitting circle!” she said.
For the Polinsky Children’s Center, one word spurred the club.
“I was thinking, ‘What do those kids really want?’ ” Bianca said. “And I thought, love!”
To achieve that goal, club members took a canvas and designated squares for each girl to paint. The end result? A giant heart that showed off everyone’s personality, which Bianca and some club members took to the center.
Giving is nothing new for her. She’s watched her dad help the local Little League, even now, when his children have outgrown it. Her mother blogs and helps out in the schools, so Bianca has followed in her footsteps as well.
“It’s really my parents who have influenced me,” she said. “They give back to the community.”
For her efforts this year, Bianca won the Islander Award for School Service, which is given to the top 5 percent of the student body. She received the honor at a ceremony at the Hotel del.
“It really blew me away,” she said. “I thought I wasn’t anywhere near getting that award!”
The Art of Giving isn't her only activity. She volunteers every Wednesday at the New Children’s Museum downtown, preparing crafts, and speaks at elementary schools about the dangers of drug use. She also is prepping for her future, with plans to visit New York University this summer.
As far of the rest of the summer goes, she plans to take a breath, if just for a moment.
“It’s time to catch up on everything,” Bianca said. “(This summer) is the calm before the storm.”