Photography courtesy of Bvlgari and Save The Children

What a wonderful life we lead. As we close out 2022, I encourage you to plant seeds of interest for the upcoming year, because you never know just how beautiful and fulfilling an experience may bloom. It may take days, months, years or even decades, but every element that goes into creating an impactful moment in your life is manifested with cosmic intention, thoughtfulness and care. Ponder with an open heart, and trust, because the universe will lead you to what your soul is truly searching for.

Growing up in the US, I often saw Fresno in the media, which sparked my interest in visiting the central Californian city. However, I never knew that my eventual visit would be for such a meaningful cause as the Bvlgari Save the Children Arte di Bvlgari after school program. I have been working with Bvlgari as a Corporate Social Responsibility Ambassador since 2020, and one of my major responsibilities as ambassador is to sustain Bvlgari’s partnership with the humanitarian aid organization which focuses its activities on the world’s most vulnerable children, and, by extension, their families and communities.

Bulgari and Save the Children embarked on their partnership nearly 15 years ago when the jewelry brand created a specially dedicated product range, alongside providing funding for programs that further the organization’s mission: provide children with a healthy life, education and protection from harm. In 2019, the partners created the Arte Di Bulgari after school program, providing arts enrichment to elementary school children via community-based arts programs, helping them develop self-confidence, self-efficacy and self-awareness, while promoting positive youth development. Arte di Bulgari provides this creative outlet to 1200+ students in both Texas and California.

Since its start, the Arte di Bulgari program has celebrated International World Children's day with a unique project created for and by the children. This year’s theme “World of Wonder” brought me to Fresno to meet an incredible group of third graders. Before entering the classroom, the Save the Children team took us on a tour of the community to give us a sense of how vital the various programs are for its students. The San Joaquin Valley, where Fresno is located, is considered the breadbasket of the world as it is the home of the majority of the United States' agricultural production. Many of the children’s parents and grandparents are agricultural workers or migrant farmers whose wages hover at the poverty level, which makes it extremely difficult to provide essentials like food and school supplies for school age children. Housing is scarce as rents are high, which creates scenarios where multiple families must share small spaces, and or fall victims to lack of shelter. As with many impoverished communities, gangs are a serious threat to the wellbeing of teenagers, and drugs, crime and incarceration often rob children of parents and family members.

In working with Save the Children, it is absolutely clear that the overall health of the children is the number one priority. When I walked into their classroom with my project partner, local artist Bobby Martin, it felt like walking into a living room. The space was safe, bright and colorful, and the children were absolutely alive, free to be themselves, to be curious, clever, to share their opinions. I was deeply moved by their attentiveness, the way they care for one another, their familiarity with one another, and their sense of responsibility for their fellow classmates and community members. I was inspired by their unique point of views of what a world of wonder means. It was so meaningful to watch them transfer their visions to their canvases, painting their emotions, hopes and dreams through images of nature.

To elevate the children’s artwork, with the help of a network of friends, we partnered with Helena Soubeyrand, a brilliant and generous visual artist based in Paris. One of our goals with each World Children’s Day Arte di Bvlgari project is to demonstrate the power of collaboration in art and the creative fields. In unifying over 80 of their imaginative water colors with Helena’s digital illustrations, we are able to highlight their vibrant interpretations of a wonderful world.

In celebration of the children’s Arte Di Bvlgari 2022 World Children’s Day project, we organized a cocktail event and corporate social responsibility panel in Bvlgari’s San Francisco boutique and displayed a selection of the children’s original work as well as the final collages. My fellow panel members included the absolutely brilliant Bvlgari CMO, Laura Burdese, and Save The Children Chief Development Officer, Luciana Bonifacio. It was an honor to share the podium with them and listen to their experiences in the field. We were especially blown away by the audience Q&A, which included an elementary school student, and really delved into various aspects of child education and the role of corporate social responsibility in sustaining the area of interest. A sincere thank you to all who participated, your thoughtfulness is beyond appreciated.

I have volunteered with charitable organizations in the past, and used my platform to sustain charitable causes, and my work with Arte di Bvlgari is yet another truly fulfilling experience. Working with both the Bvlgari and Save the Children teams provided a valuable learning opportunity and an occasion to connect with professionals across various expertise. I really appreciate the team we’ve become during the process of developing the Arte di Bvlgari projects. Perhaps you are interested in volunteering? Maybe sustaining an organization whose purpose aligns with yours? Why not dedicate your resources or time to a worthy cause in 2023?

I will never know the children’s individual stories, but I witnessed their joy as Bobby and I led their “World of Wonder” activity. Sunsets, butterflies, cats, trees, rainbows and candyland, life is more wonderful when you are provided with the resources to dream and thrive. I end with this quote to my little friends in Fresno: 

“So, I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.” - Paulo Coelho