Mahatma Gandhi said “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Michelle Cardulla, founder of Kids Art For The Support of Animals also referred to as KASA, organizer and facilitator of Kids Cook Mondays, which “encourages families to set aside the first night of every week to establish a routine of making healthy food choices by cooking and eating together,” in Rochester New York lives her life embracing this quote. When she sees a “problem to solve” she jumps in to identify and take action to solve it, finding creative ways to go over, around, or through any obstacle that might present itself. I had the honor to interview Michelle for this spotlight story.
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” Van Gogh
Michelle loves all things arts, all things kids, and all things animals. She has volunteered her time as a teaching artist for various Rochester City Schools, in a variety of community centers, and in other places and spaces throughout Rochester. Michelle was the co-founder of Lake Affect Magazine which showcases local artists of all genres. For over twenty five years she was the publisher and editor until she decided to leave a few years ago to pursue other passion projects. Michelle also founded MoKa, a kid-centric arts museum while no longer open was a space to showcase the art of children and give children a space to create art. Presently in addition to KASA, Michelle is sharing her time, talents, and joy with Kids Cook Mondays as an initiative of the Rochester Education Foundation on a monthly basis at various locations in Rochester New York. Michelle has written grants to help other organizations receive funding for programs along with grant writing for her own endeavors. It has been said that kindness is love in action. For Michelle because she loves what she does and loves to support others she shares her kindness wherever she can.
“There is an empty path in my mind, there is a spec of traffic, a girl with braids climbs a ladder of steps.” Kaylynn, age 5
Years ago Michelle went to a collective art show for students of the Rochester City Schools. She was completely blown away by the talents and beauty of the works of art that students had created. It took her breath away as she looked from one masterpiece to the next filled with words and images of majestic proportions. Being surrounded by the innate talent these children possess brought her great joy. Michelle also is fierce in her love of animals. To Michelle “Animals are some of the warmest, wonderful relationships we foster in life and all animal lives are precious to our well-being.” KASA provided an opportunity to unite children and animals. The artwork of these artistically gifted children is placed on apparel and home products to be sold with profits going to support community groups such as RocKats, Rescued Treasures, and other local animal rescues and shelters.
“He is letting go of hope and is slipping towards the fog patches below in grim fear.” Daniel, age 10
The poetry from Kaylynn and Daniel above are examples of the talent of children Michelle loves to share and spotlight. She sees the gifts they possess and uses a variety of mediums to help them learn and grow. KASA showcases the artistic talents of children while raising money to support community groups in Rochester that care for animals. Kids Cook Mondays provide the opportunity for family bonding, healthy eating, and learning of cooking skills. It is with honor we shine the Kindness Champion Spotlight on Michelle Cardulla, KASA, and Kids Cook Mondays. She is fierce in her mission to be the change by helping children, animals, families, and the Rochester community. We thank you for being you and bringing your awesome to the world.
For more information on the remarkable KASA and Kids Cook Mondays here is their information:
The Kids Cook Monday’s: https://www.rochestereducation.org/the-kids-cook-mondays#:~:text=The%20Kids%20Cook%20Monday%20%E2%80%94%20Rochester%20Education%20Foundation&text=The%20Kids%20Cook%20Monday%20(TKCM,by%20cooking%20and%20eating%20together.