Pranks, Bands, and Bubbles Chapter Guide


By Kim Tamalonis





Sam, the story narrator, and his friends, notice bubbles spraying from open body orifices of rowdy boys. In this chapter, it is revealed that Sam’s friend Charlie has very strict African American parents who try to control their son’s every move.



When kids return to school after Winter Break, all Sam’s male friends have the bubbles, the visual result of hormones and energy mixing. At lunch, Sam spots his next-door-neighbor and friend Willa sitting with her new boyfriend, Carter.  Carter, known as the class bully, makes fake ID’s for his brother’s business.



Sam spends the summer after seventh grade at his grandparents’ cabin in the Adirondacks. Grandpa keeps a trailer in the driveway, which is equipped as a portable mini oil refining science lab. Grandpa specializes in researching bio-friendly fuels. Over the course of the summer, 13-year-old Sam learns to drive Grandpa’s old GM truck.



In the first eighth grade assembly of the year, Sam’s friend Oliver throws an overgrown tape ball. It veers and hits the old, frumpy, and pale school nurse.  Nurse Binny stumbles backward, trips and hits her head.



When the boys arrive at the hospital, they find that Nurse Binny is isolated in the Intensive Care Unit. At the reception desk, the kids meet a handsome well-dressed black man, who turns out to be the Nurse’s son, Stone Binny.

Oliver is sent to take care of his great aunt for the duration of his suspension. His aunt makes Oliver read romance novels by the author Cornelius York that are set on a secret beach.



While Carter, Willa’s boyfriend, is the class male bully, Lucy Finnegan is his female counterpart. Lucy despises Willa for winning Carter’s affection. Lucy’s father, a famous NBA coach, has just accepted a highly publicized position with the Jackson Hole Mustangs, the best team in the Western Conference, so everyone is expecting Lucy to move away. One evening, Sam receives a FriendPen message from Lucy requesting that he join her table at art the next day. Lucy’s art table turns out to be a ploy to alienate Willa. When Sam realizes what’s happening, he won’t be a part of it.



While Lucy’s father has relocated to Wyoming for his new job, Lucy’s mother goes on frequent spa retreats. In the absence of adult supervision, Lucy and he sister, a high school senior, throw wild parties. One night, Willa, Sam, Zach, Oliver, Charlie and their friend Lug all find themselves stuck at a Finnegan party, where they feel overwhelmed and out-of-control.



Oliver gets sick after drinking. The kids jump on Coach Finnegan’s bed and break it. They steal Bobby Gumps keys and devise a plan to get home.



The kids steal Carter’s older brother’s car keys and Sam drives everyone back to town. Oliver is vomiting from beer intake (he is the only one among them who drank alcohol at the party). Sam parks the car in front of Carter’s house and drops the keys in the mailbox. On the walk home, Charlie unleashes anger at his friends’ irresponsible behavior. He explains that if they had been stopped by the police, the repercussions for him, as a black boy in a stolen car, could have be much worse than for the rest of them.



The next morning, Lucy posts pictures taken of her sitting on Carter’s lap at the party. Willa sends Carter a break-up text. Later, Sam overhears his mother, a lawyer representing the sale of the local amusement park, tell his father that an offer has been made to turn Funworld into efficiency high-rise condominiums. Sam also hears that there will be an auction.



Mr. Swanson, the old man who owns Funworld, catches Sam and his crew scaling the Funworld gate and threatens to call the cops. He offers a compromise and tells them they can listen to a long-winded old man give a park tour, as an alternative to jail time. During the tour, Mr. Swanson explains that a major reason that Funworld has become unmanageable is because of the cost of fuel to run the rides.



Mr. Swanson explains that when he first met his wife, they were in seventh grade. She had moved from Namibia. When they later married, he promised her a Namibian diamond, but the two had never had the time or money to travel to Sfrica. It was their retirement dream.



When Mr. Swanson was a young apprentice, Funworld owner, Cornelius York, found himself in deep trouble from gambling debt. The Swanson family paid off the debt and bought Funworld, as Mr. York fled town.



At the end of the Funworld tour, Sam stays to talk to Mr. Swanson. He asks if he and his friends could buy the park’s fleet of Segway scooters before the auction. Mr. Swanson inexplicably agrees under the condition that Sam and his friends make all the money on their own. Readers later discover that Mr. Swanson has a terminal disease.



At school on Monday, all the kids in school are talking about an online article that reveals the separation of Lucy Finnegan’s parents. Sam and his friends start planning how to make money to buy the scooters.


Willa starts a community service club. She wants middle school kids to have access to the Buddy System phone number. The Buddy System is a service in the high school that links kids who are in dangerous situations with other kids who can offer safe rides.



Mr. Blue, the school band teacher, prepares the kids for a holiday concert. The concert isn’t a success. There is talk that Mr. Blue has lost his mojo.


The kids extend Segway working hours, over the holiday and earn over $1000.



Back at school, Charlie explains that they need a new plan for raising the rest of the Segway money. Miss Posey encourages them to form a band and enter a statewide garage band contest that offers large cash prizes. The kids reject Miss Posey’s rock band idea, on the grounds that they’re not good musicians. Miss Posey lets them know that they have a friend, who stays secret about his musical talent. The kids accept Miss Posey’s request to shovel her driveway on Friday afternoon.



At the teen center, next to Miss Posey’s house, they wait with shovels in hand for work instructions. While waiting, they hear guitar music riffing from within the building. Flabbergasted, they discover their friend Lug, wailing on an electric guitar on the stage. Miss Posey finds the group, as does Mr. Binny, Nurse Binny’s well-heeled son.


Mr. Binny tells Miss Posey about his mother’s past. He explains that in the summer of 1969, when his mother was just out of college, she and her best friend went to live at her parents’ weekend retreat, a Bethel, NY sunflower farm. That summer, rockers who were preparing for Woodstock and who heard about two cute girls with lots of empty rooms came knocking. The farmhouse ended up filled with bands, and afterward, Nurse Binny and her best friend Charlotte Jones went on tour with the Stargazers.


Stone Binny and his best friend Rutabaga Jones were born on the road. Now, as co-owners of a record company, Root and Stone were following Lug’s progress.


Readers also discover that Lug’s mother is deaf.



The kids convince Lug to start a band with them, so they can enter the Rock Band Rumble, win $3000 and buy the Segways from Mr. Swanson. Lug agrees to try things out with a garage band. He reveals that he lives alone with his mother and that his father left on the day he was born.







At Willa’s first community service club meeting, Sam is shocked to find that his mother and Mr. Swanson are the honored guests. Willa explains that the goal of the upcoming event, called “Pick and Plant Day,” will be to raise the funds to buy one ride from the Funworld final auction, which will be donated to the town for a small community park. Participants will get financial sponsors to support hours of picking up litter and planting flowers. A company that hears about the event, offers to donate seeds for the event.



When Zach doesn’t show up for school for a few days, Sam stops at his house and finds out that Zach has actually stayed home so he can finish writing lyrics for a song for their new rock band.



The crew asks Mr. Blue for help. Mr. Blue agrees in exchange for Lug’s reluctant participation in the school band. Mr. Swanson lets the kids use “the Lion’s Den, for practice.


Oliver breaks the news to the others that he has to drop out of the band because he’s failing his classes. The group makes a schedule to tutor Oliver every day, so that his grades improve.



Impatient with waiting for Lug to devise the score for the Bubblers’ original song, the kids decide the sound should develop organically as they jam. Mr. Swanson puts a stop to their sloppy practice. Lug finally completes a well-developed score. After submitting their Rock Band Rumble application the kids walk to the Rainbow Cakes Bakery to celebrate. Willa can’t go. On their journey, the boys encounter Carter and his band of bullies. They’re poking at Najim, the doctor’s son who seems to have special needs. A fistfight between Sam and Carter ensues.


Afterward, Sam and his friends finally make their way to Rainbow Cakes. When they arrive, the owner of the pizza parlor is complaining to the owner of the bakery about delinquent boys who just stole pizza pies. Sam gives the pizza man Carter’s identity.



Sam is summonsed to Principal Marcus’ office the next morning, where his parents, Carter and Carter’s parents are waiting. Carter has presented the story of being attacked by Sam in a way that casts Sam as the bully. Carter’s mother controls the direction of the conversation, so that all blame lays on Sam’s shoulders. Sam feels manipulated and incapable of defending himself.



The principal calls Najim and Dr. El-Shazly into the office. Unexpectedly, the very angry pizza man shows up at school, too. Suddenly, the story shifts and Sam seems vindicated, while blame is duly placed on Carter’s shoulders.



Willa won’t talk to Sam. She has only heard Carter’s side of the story. Sam worries about attending the weekly community service club meeting, but he does and then he gathers the courage to stay after the meeting. After making up, Sam and Willa confess they both think Zack Is gay. For the first time, there’s a moment of electrified romantic tension between Sam and Willa that changes the nature of their friendship.



Zach breaks the news that he received the official confirmation that the Bubblers made it into the Rock Band Rumble!



Zach’s sister Livvy asks to writes an article about the band for the school paper. Oliver receives his mid-term report card. His grades improved except for history. Livvy offers to help him re-write a term paper.



For the first time since Coach Finnegan switched from the New York Empires basketball team to coaching the Jackson Hole Mustangs, the two teams go head-to-head, thereby pitting citizens of Shoreline against each other. The Mustangs win the game.


Sam tries to find a way to covertly let Zach know he thinks homosexuality is okay. Zach seems relieved, but doesn’t acknowledge the comment.



Lucy is enraged when kids at school are more interested in the front page article about the Bubblers than they are about her father’s big win. She leaves a nasty note on Willa’s locker, but Willa has bigger problems than a school bully.


Willa finds out from Miss Posey that the company that had offered to supply seeds for Pick and Plant Day has backed out of the deal. The nurse hears Sam and Willa discussing the seed problem. She offers the sunflower seeds from the family farm in Bethel, NY to save Pick and Plant Day, if the kids are willing to go to the farm to pick up the seed bins.



The kids, and others take a road trip to Bethel, NY to retrieve sunflower seeds, where they discovered old Wostock rockers squatting at the nurse’s farmhouse. While there, the kids have a wild time with The Stargazers. Stone’s father, the Stargazers’ bass player, Malcolm Binny, is not present. Mr. Binny is living on a secret beach in Central America.



The Stargazers coach the Bubblers. Lug’s talent astounds the older musicians. That night, everyone dances and sings around a bonfire, but the next morning, Mr. Swanson sleeps all the way back to Shoreline. The kids discuss how to repay the Swansons for their kindness. They discuss efforts to find Cornelius York, former Funworld owner and Mr. Swanson’s mentor. The kids have found a tiny reference to a Cornelius York in an online article about a motley crew living on a secret beach in Central America. Something about the text inspires Stone Binny to call his father for help.



The kids confront a new major obstacle with Pick and Plant Day. The NBA semi-final line-up is announced and the Jackson Hole Mustangs are scheduled to play against the New York Empires in New York on the same date as Pick and Plant Day, though the times are different. Livvy writes an article for the town paper pleading with Shoreline residents to pull-through and support the community service club event. Citizens come out in droves. The day is a huge success. Even Carter surprises everyone and shows up to help Willa with Pick and Plant Day, before turning around and going into the city with Lucy Finnegan as her date to the big game. After the game, Lucy gives Carter a birthday present: limited edition sneakers signed by all of the Mustangs. News crews catch the moment and air it on live tv, a moment which everyone in Shoreline, including Willa, watches from home.



Willa avoids communication at practice the next day. In school on Monday, all the kids in art check their buzzing phones and then stare at Willa. Sam does too and then yells at Willa not to check her phone. He’s afraid she’ll destroy QuickPik criminal evidence. Miss Posey confiscates Willa’s phone. After class, Sam tells Willa that Lucy has blasted a revealing shot of Willa to the whole school. Willa leaves in tears. Miss Posey brings the phone to the principal who calls the police. Judge Thompson comes to talk to the whole grade about the dangers of irresponsible use of media.



All week, Willa stays home from school and from Bubblers practice sessions. She won’t respond to communication of any sort. Sam does to give Willa a pep-talk. Sam describes to Willa the photo that popped up on everyone’s phone. From the description, Willa knows it was a fake Photoshop doctored image. Sam asks if Will had recording the phone chat with Carter, as evidence. She had.



On Friday evening, Willa is still absent when the band concert starts. Sam sees all the kids around him check their phones and gasp. He wonders what new scandal is happening.


Willa quietly slips onstage, once everyone is playing.   She disappears during intermission. Sam takes the opportunity to check his phone. Willa has blasted her entire recorded unedited video chat with Carter to everyone in the grade. While it includes the part that minorly embarrasses her, it’s clear the image that Lucy blasted wasn’t Willa. Willa’s blast includes her telling Carter how uncomfortable she is with his request and his efforts to coerce her, making him look bad.


When the Bubblers are called forward for their solo performance during the second half of the concert, Willa reluctantly steps forward. Her classmates cheer in support. A power outage cuts the performance short, but not before Mr. Blue urges the audience to go into New York City the next day to attend the Rock Band Rumble.






Sam and Zach arrive to the Edith Street Music Hall at the same time. As they follow another band inside, they both notice rainbow medallions on the sneakers of one of the boys’ from the competing band. Sam and Zach take different interest in the rainbow medallion. The boy introduces himself as Mark, from Social Riffraff. Sam gets mad a Zach for befriending the competition.


The Bubblers make it through a preliminary challenge. Social Riffraff turns out to be the best band. In the waiting room, Zach and Marc continue to talk. Lug suspects something about Mark that he does not disclose to the others.



During the first and second round, Social Riffraff comes in first. Lug tells the others he needs to trade some of the Bubblers’ points to do something crucial. They’ve been warned that bands that trade points never win, so everyone gets mad at Lug. Lug trades points for web surfing time. He directs the group to keep it a secret from Zach. The Bubblers win round three, but their score is lowered because of Lug’s move.



While the contestants and audience think they have a grasp on winners and losers, MC Lil C makes an announcement that shake up the proceedings. Ultimately, it is revealed that Mark was a professional child musician, which disqualified Social Riffraff. The Bubblers win the competition.



Lug explains that when he was small, he watched Little Marky Z’s musical ABC videos. Jealousy took hold of Lug over the happy life that he saw Little Marky Z lead in the series. As a small child, Lug thought that if he was better on the guitar than the boy in the video, maybe he could have a video series, too. The experience triggered Lug’s early need to succeed.


Lug tells them that when he traded points for web surfing time, he also read local news. Lucy’s father had won a custody battle and his kids were getting sent to Wyoming. There was also an article about Najim el Shazly, who was “special” in a way that no one had expected. He had scored the highest recorded score of all time on an IQ test. The article reported that Najim was looking into ways to turn sunflower seeds into fuel.


Root and Stone Records offers the kids a recording contract and plan a Bubblers summer tour.



Mr. Swanson stays away from the preparations for the final Funworld closing party. On the day of the event, the kids pitch in to help and they come dressed as clowns. Mark comes with Zach. Zach finally comes out to Sam. Sam vows to support his friend. When the Stargazers arrive, Quinton Bartok is problematically swigging alcohol from a water bottle.


Later, from Sam’s post at his pretzel stand, he sees Mrs. Swanson push a sleeping Mr. Swanson in a wheelchair to the front of the area that will fill up with the audience. Sam abandons his job to go talk to his mentor who he can tell isn’t well.



Once the program starts, the Swansons dramatically present the Segways to the kids on stage and they make a major announcement to the citizens of Shoreline about changes in the Funworld sale. They tell everyone that two new buyers will restore the amusement park rather than destroy it. The new buyers, Nurse Binny and Rainbow Cakes owner Charlotte Jones plan to employ a team of unemployed Grammy winning rockers to revitalize the amusement park. The Swansons make one more shocking announcement. They gift two percent shares of Funworld to each of the Bubblers, with the expectation that they use their power to initiate community outreach programs.


Then, the kids make their own surprise announcement. They call up a totally unexpected guest: 112 year-old Cornelius York who happens to be Malcolm Binny’s neighbor on the secret beach in Costa Rica. Malcolm Binny rolls Cornelius York up onto the stage. It’s a joyous reunion for all.


Quinton Bartok stumbles out and demands that the concert get started. However, once underway, he collapses on stage. The Stargazers call young prodigy, Lug forth. The little man saves the day. Next, the Bubblers get up and sing a tribute to the Swansons, after which, the Swansons excuse themselves from the audience. Mr. York and Great Aunt Merriweather follow the Swanson’s lead. Before the song is over, the kids notice flashing emergency vehicle lights in the distance and wonder if they’re for Quinton Bartok.



The ambulance has come for Mr. Swanson. Sam visits Mr. Swanson, just before he dies. Paparazzi photographers attend the funeral. Afterward, Livvy asks her friends to reconvene inside the church. She presents them with an early edition of the next month’s Rock Report, the oldest and most highly respected national rock and roll magazine. She shocks her friends when she shows them the magazine features the Bubblers on the cover. Inside, the issue is dedicated to stories Livvy wrote about the band and to an extensive final interview with Mr. Swanson.



While Henny Binny and Charlotte Jones aren’t ready to open the doors of Funworld right away, they open for the Fourth of July. They fuel the rides with sunflower oil, discovered by Najim el Shazly as a possibility and refined by Grandpa. Up on the Ferris Wheel, it turns into an unforgettable evening for Willa and Sam, as they kiss for the first time, just as fireworks explode over Long Island Sound.

Some ways to help…

I have asked some children in the program to create art for the backdrop of a public service announcement. The announcements will address Church World Service’s need for jobs for refugees. If any of you have a forum (print or online), where you could post one of the announcements (and/or future announcements on a range of issues), please let me know.

Children will earn points for their participation in the BPF that can be exchanged for rewards. I’m looking for sustainable reward options to include in a booklet.

One program, Friend Link, will match English speaking kids with refugee children who need to practice speaking English. At the high school level, kids will meet in Manhattan for occasional afternoons at a museum. Needed: train tickets and lunch vouchers.

Volunteer financial and legal guidance.

Enabling grants that will kickstart the program, from contributing to postal fees associated with sending kids’ art back and forth to helping with establishing a small staff of 1-3 people.

Greenwich Academy Alumnae Magazine

Link to article on Greenwich Academy website



Alumna Profile: Kim Tamalonis ’91

It’s probably fair to say that Kim Tamalonis ’91 was born to be an artist. Daughter of long-time and much beloved GA art teacher Sherry Tamalonis, Kim says her earliest memories are of working next to her mom at the kitchen table, making art. Indeed, her mom inspired her to pursue to her passion and become an artist, and art teacher. But Kim is inspired by many things, most recently by the refugee crisis and the refugees that have resettled in our area. Kim wasted no time jumping in and finding a way to help.


Now a Middle School art teacher in Rye, NY, Kim says, “Social responsibility and multicultural awareness factor heavily into designing my art curriculum.” After reading the many reports in the summer of 2015 about escalating violence and dire circumstances in Syria, Kim says she felt a call to action. “As the 2015-2016 school year started, my Rye Middle School students embraced the challenge to use art to aid Syrian children. The kids collected 100 pounds of supplies from their homes, which were sent to children in the Za’atari Refugee Camp through Seattle based non-profit, Studio Syria.” The lesson continued in the classroom, where students made pocket-sized sketchbooks, and after school they ran bake sales and raised money in other ways. “Finally, at a Rye Arts Center exhibit, the kids sold their artwork and raised over $3000, which they donated to the New Canaan, CT based Blossom Hill Foundation’s programs for children in conflict zones,” Kim proudly shares.

Kim was impassioned by the experience, and the refugee stories she continued to hear tugged at her heartstrings. With refugees having arrived in our area, she saw it as an opportunity to arrange a day of art appreciation, friendship, and fun. “I planned a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to benefit Syrian, Ethiopian, and Eritrean children.  I worked in collaboration with Church World Service’s Jersey City Refugee Resettlement Office, the United Nations Association-NY (UNA-NY), the Metropolitan Museum, an amazing group of GA and Brunswick alumni, parents of alumni and teachers, and many other generous friends.  The day uplifted all participants with joy. Young kids to the most erudite museum administrators spent the afternoon laughing, learning, creating, bonding, and spontaneously singing in celebration,” Kim shared. The museum visit began with Metropolitan Museum President Daniel Weiss addressing the group before educators led the children to the Islamic galleries, to make art. “At the end-of-day send-off ceremony, UNA-NY Executive Director Ann Nicol presented the children with backpacks filled with school supplies.  GA past parent Hadi Hajjar offered the children games, toys, candy and useful items, like clocks and diapers.  I sent each of them home with art supplies.  The event was an extraordinary show of solidarity, humanitarian values, love and support by all involved,” Kim recalls.

So extraordinary in fact that Kim has been inspired to continue her work with refugees. She is organizing a gathering, perhaps a potluck dinner, and has her sights set on creating a book or other compilation of photos, art, and stories that she would like to use to raise funds for humanitarian aid. And she is already working on developing a foundation with a focus on bringing children together through art and social service.  “No matter what the children’s circumstances, participants will make art or use their art to help another population of kids, thereby forging new alliances and break down barriers,” Kim shares. She envisions the foundation impacting children’s groups nationally and abroad, and plans to include art education as well as opportunities for creative expression.

Kim gives GA credit for nurturing her love of art, her love of education, and her deep appreciation for world cultures. Kim, who came to GA in Group VII, says Patsy Howard was a particular inspiration and encouragement to her, both when she was a student and when she returned to GA as an art teacher after graduating from Hamilton College. She was also greatly impacted by Tracy Kauffman-Agro ’75’s Current Events class and Carol Dixon’s World Cultures class. “Penny Liu and Jeff Schwartz inspired a love of writing and offered opportunities for community building by appointing me Greenwich Academy Press Editor-in-Chief and Daedalus Art Editor,” Kim says, adding that she has been inspired by so many GA women, both alumnae and teachers.

Ten years after returning to GA as a teacher, Kim transitioned to teach art in the Rye City School District.  “I have spent the last eleven years discovering wonderful qualities that are unique to middle school girls and boys,” she says. “My students are enthusiastic, idealistic, and ready to merge interdisciplinary ideas in their artwork.”

In addition to teaching and her volunteer efforts, Kim is still creating her own art and helping others to create as well. “The world is filled with wonder,” she says, “But also with problems that governments alone cannot fix. If each of us uses our talents, resources, and drive to address issues of interest, we’ll move forward individually and together.”



       Alumnae eNews December 2016



Big Picture Foundation

Children at the first Big Picture Foundation 12/16 meeting at Peachwave Frozen Yogurt.  27 kids attended, including 2 who arrived  from Syria in August.

Up-to-date Big Picture Foundation information can be found at:



Table of Contents

  • Mission
  • Motto
  • Projects and Programs
  • Incentive Program
  • Junior Officers
  • Goals for Year 1
  • Goals for Years 2-3
  • Goals for Years 3-5
  • Basic Rules
  • Test Run Projects
  • Press
  • Resumé
  • Conclusion

* Please click here to view some ways to help


(nonprofit status pending)

Mission:  Big Picture Foundation will empower middle and high school age children to use the arts to create an interactive global community.  1. Children will use the arts to communicate with other national and international groups of children in order to make friends, build networks, and learn about world cultures.  2. Children will use the arts to help other children by request or when unusual emergency situations arise.  3. Children will build their understanding of current events, geography, politics, global social issues, and contemporary art.

  1. Children will use the arts to communicate with other groups of national and international children:  Every matched group will have a blog page, where they can post pictures and videos and where they can write to each other.
  2. Children will use the arts to help other children when problems arise from natural disasters, wars, or other unusual emergency situations:  Children will create new projects or join established projects to accomplish goals.  Children could knit hats for children who have lost homes in natural disasters.  Children could organize concerts or plays that raise funds to enable Big Picture Foundation endeavors. Children could sell their art to raise funds for programs that help children in need.
  3. Children will learn about world cultures, current events, geography, politics, and global social issues:  Participants will identify their partner group’s geographical location on a map.  Groups will ask each other questions to learn from each other. The Big Picture Projects’ website will include a world news blog, updates about past, current and future projects, and a section about artists who use art to draw attention to social issues.  Kids (and eventually supporting members) will have access to an event series, including lectures, studio visits, and workshops.

Who can join?   All interested children will have opportunities to connect with children from different locations. In many cases, children will take the initiative to start projects.  They will define their projects, organize their work time, and communicate with partner groups under the supervision of their chosen adult advisors.  While children may initiate the projects, a range of established art initiatives will enable global youth to connect with each other and to collaborate on art related endeavors.  Classroom art exchanges, youth initiated projects, charitable community events, and one-on-one interactions between children of different backgrounds will develop compassionate world citizens and will connect international communities.

Why join?  Big Picture Foundation will create a free and easy system to enable children’s art exchanges, children’s global communication, children’s art outreach endeavors and other related activities.  Also, Big Picture Foundation will offer an exciting incentive program to encourage children’s efforts.

Where in the world will kids work on projects?  Everywhere!  Actual projects will happen wherever a national or international group initiates activity. Children, teachers, parents, administrators, camp counselors, and community leaders can all start group projects. Projects may develop at school, around the kitchen table, at a library, or wherever else space and supervision exist.  However, at a central power hub, a core group of junior officers will have specific responsibilities.  They will oversee Big Picture Foundation’ worldwide activity under adult guidance.


Using art to develop collaborative world citizens and creative problem solvers.


A variety of projects and programs will offer interested children a range of options for involvement.  Children will have opportunities to join existing project, start new projects, or attend special events.

Big Picture Projects Friend Link Program– The Friend Link program will directly match English speaking middle and high school children with children who have not yet gained proficiency in English, including refugees.  The buddies will arrange art “play dates” that will range from working on Big Picture Foundation exchange projects to spending afternoons going to art shows and out to lunch.

Performance Program – Budding musicians, aspiring actors, cantankerous comics, and junior promoters will be welcome to arrange community performances to benefit foundation programs.

Big Picture Group Exchange Projects – Any supervised group of children will be able to make art to exchange with any other group of children. The projects do not need to be the same from both groups.  The nature of project will depend on groups’ goals and interests.  Some projects may develop as tools for children to understand each other’s cultures.  Other projects might simply offer fun ways for groups of kids to connect (middle school boys asked if they could exchange paper airplanes and self-made fidget toys with kids in other countries… great!).

  • New Exchange Projects…
  1. Zombie Apocalypse Movies….  Initiated by an eighth grade student in Rye, groups of kids from all over the world are challenged to make home movies with the “zombie apocalypse” theme.
  2. Computer animation shorts, with the theme: “Through the Portal.”
  3. Song Writing and Singing, with the theme:  The best things in my life.
  4. “Magical Forest” themed drawings, paintings, or 2d art of your choice of media.
  5. 3d Robot Sculptures:  They don’t have to work.
  • Future exchange projects that will happen when we have a budget for sending art… 
  1. Origami Cranes – Learning/Networking Project – A teacher in my district would like to lead a paper crane exchange between children in Rye and children at a school in Japan
  2. Paper Airplanes and Fidget Toys – Learning/Networking Project – A bunch of 13 year old boys want to make paper airplanes and fidget toys for kids in refugee camps.  They hope to receive airplanes in return.
  3. Group Blogs – Each group will have an assigned blog page, where the kids will summarize intended and achieved activities.

Big Picture Outreach Projects – Outreach initiatives might also include exchanging projects. Outreach might also be a single group’s efforts to help children in critical need or a group project to support charities that help kids.

  • Current Outreach Projects…
  1. Public Service Announcements:  Kids are making the backdrop for public service announcements about the need for jobs for refugees.
  2. Kandinsky inspired art that will be turned into Iron-On decals that will be sold to support DDX3X research.  DDX3X is a newly discovered Autism-related syndrome.
  3. Knit Hats  – Teachers will work with interested kids to knit hats for children in need.
  • Future Outreach Projects…
  1. SOS Care Packages – Kids could involve art in creating care packages for refugee kids and care packages for homeless kids, based on needs expressed by social service agencies
  2. Kid Initiated Fundraisers – Local events to raise funds to make other projects, events, and donations feasible…  walkathon, babysitting, gardening, shoveling, bake sales, garage sales, craft sales, etc.
  • School in Kenya – the UNA would like help raising funds for to build a school in Kenya.
  • Project to buy wheelchairs for the Walkabout Foundation



In the works…

The Big Picture Foundation’ incentive program is critical to building a strong organization.  Without incentives, any group will be able to follow the Big Picture Foundation model on their own.  However, working together to build a global network and to develop the vision, will increase opportunities for participants and promote intercultural communication.  Incentives will encourage children’s groups to collaborate with Big Picture Foundation.

Points will be assigned to children’s work.  The child who writes the overview and summary of group activity will receive points.  All project work will receive points.  Service projects that directly help children in need will receive more points than others.  Junior officers will receive points for their work to make the program a success.

Children will have the chance to exchange points for rewards.  Local ice cream or pizza parlors might offer a reward for 10 points.  An electronics manufacturer might offer rewards for 100 points.  Children might have the chance to exchange 200 points for a voucher for a class on a college campus or for a fine art print from a contemporary artist know for work addressing issues of social justice.

Students may have the opportunity to exchange points for college classes at collaborating institutions. Ideally, the foundation goals will align with many universities’ commitments to citizenship and community building.  As the list of participating colleges and universities grows, the commitment by one organization will decrease. Participating universities will directly contribute to local and global community building.  Empowering children to pursue higher education goals will build resiliency and foster inclusive economies.

Students may have a chance to exchange points for limited edition contemporary art prints.  Students making art for change should know about professional artists who have similar objectives.  Eventually, students will have opportunities to attend lectures, visit studios, and engage in discussions with artists.



Junior Operational Officer – Oversees all activities and communicates with officers.

Junior Development Officer – Oversees fundraising activities

Junior Financial Officer – Oversees accounts/financial transparency under the supervision of a business professional

Junior Rewards Officer – Develops reward criteria and a point system, helps to communicate with community, university, and corporate collaborators

Junior Registrar – Registers new groups

Junior International Correspondence Officer – makes initial and concluding contact with connecting international schools or groups.

Junior National Correspondence Officer – makes initial and concluding contact with connecting international schools or groups.

Junior Logistics Officers – Oversee inter-group project transfers

Junior Community Relations Officer – Writes/Oversees Articles and Gives Interviews

Junior Art Program Officer – Oversees, advises, and develops art programs. Encourages Participation.

Junior Friend-Link Program Director – Connects English-speaking youth with refugees and immigrants who need to speak conversational English

Junior Internal Website Officer and IT Pro – Maintains a closed-network website for internal organization

Junior External Website Officer and IT Pro – Maintains the public homepage

Junior Compassion Officers – Create care packages for families in need. Brainstorm initiative and recruit friends to help

Junior World News Officer – In charge of keeping the group apprised of important world news, from politics to natural disasters.  May keep a Week-in-Review page

Junior Media Officer – Oversees filming and photography at events

Junior Education Officer – Oversees fill-in templates for buddy groups and encourages learning opportunities.


Devise an easy system for local children’s groups to participate in Big Picture Foundation.

Build a clear and user friendly website.

Find an easy and inexpensive system for communicating with children.  Google charges $5-$10 per business address, per month, which isn’t feasible.  Thus, children will be asked to work with their parents to create supervised gmail email addresses that always forward to parents’ addresses.

Clarify roles and responsibilities of junior officers.  Teach each of the junior officers how to fulfill their roles.  Empower them to be creative and to take ownership of their positions.

Create an exciting incentives program that will enable kids to earn points for working on projects and then exchange points for rewards.

Identify collaborators who will offer work spaces for children’s groups.  Offer spaces for meetings, performances, and art shows.

Identify collaborators who will enable the Friend Link Program by offering museum passes, train fees and lunch certificates.

Identify collaborators who will contribute rewards for the incentive program.  

  • Artists who will create fine art prints for the organization and agree to one speaking engagement.
  • Schools that will accept a large number of children’s Big Picture Foundation’ points as payment for classes.
  • Technology, clothing, art supply, or other companies that would contribute to the incentives program.

Identify collaborators who will use media connections to report on Big Picture Foundation’ successes. Give children occasional opportunities to report on the Big Picture Foundation’ accomplishments. Offer media space for child created advertisement/information pages (children will work on projects to draw attention to specific issues, such as the current need of refugee resettlement agencies to find jobs for their clients).

Identify collaborators who will lead or supervise children’s projects

Identify collaborators who will invite children to outside lectures, workshops, and events that will:

Expand children’s education about: world cultures, contemporary social justice inspired art, global news and issues

Build a board of trustees comprised of members who will responsibly help to make the organization a success.

Find a grant to cover startup fees and subsequent operational costs.

Earn status as an official 501 c 3 non-profit organization 

Build a postage budget to send kids’ art back and forth.

Build a scholarship fund for children’s groups that can’t afford supplies to create Big Picture Foundation projects.

Find enabling sponsors and one-time grant makers for Big Picture Foundation administrative costs, including 1-3 salaried positions with medical and dental insurance, professional development fees, and general office fees

Identify collaborators who will offer pro bono business, legal, and writing guidance.


Expand access to the program to kids in nearby towns.

Build a fund to commission prints from artists who address social issues in their art.

Continue to identify sponsors.


Expand access to the program to all children.

Create the Big Picture Foundation as a separate entity that will support Big Picture Foundation.  Big Picture Foundation will also collect and distribute funds that children raise in efforts to support other charities that help children.

Develop programs and strategies to financially support all Big Picture endeavors.

Membership – create a membership program for adults that offers a range of benefits.  Benefits will include access to lectures, events, classes, and art tours.

Paint Chips Program – work with a financial firm to develop a for-profit program (idea for the for-profit endeavor exists but has yet to be revealed)

Human Interest Links – Find online media sources willing to include small fee based links to human interest stories.  Profits will be divided between the story subjects and the Big Picture Foundation.

Performance Series – Polish the children’s performance series.

Educational Programs – Develop regular children’s events to educate children on how their efforts fit into a big world picture.


Children will show kindness and consideration to others. Children will help build collaborative global communities.

If a group initiates a project and another child asks to join, the main group members will welcome the newcomer to participate.  They will include the newcomer in group activities and show kindness at all times.

At Big Picture Foundation gatherings, groups of friends will participate with the whole group, rather than isolating themselves.

Children will show respect to all during in-person and online Big Picture Foundation interactions.

Children will fulfill their obligations to partner groups and to each other.

Children may participate until their 18th birthday.  After that cutoff birthdate, children may continue to exchange the points they accumulated for incentive rewards.

Violations to the rules may result in warnings, forfeiture of points, or elimination from the program.



Fall 2015 – Rye youth collaborated with Studio Syria, in Seattle and with the Rye Post Office to send 100 pounds of art supplies, cards and handmade sketchbooks to the Za-atari Refugee Camp in Jordan.

Rye kids made cards to benefit the Blossom Hill Foundation’s programs to offer long-term aid to children living in conflict zones.  Kids collaborated with the Rye Arts Center and with Arcade Books.  Proceeds particularly helped fund a computer lab for refugee children in Turkey.

The Rye Arts Center hosted a November 2015-December 2016 exhibit and sale of children’s art.  $3100 was raised and donated to the Blossom Hill Foundation

Summer 2016 –organized a day of art at the Metropolitan Museum for newly resettled refugee families.  Daniel Weiss, the Metropolitan Museum president gave the welcoming address and at the end of the day, Ann Nicol, United Nations Association – NYC Executive Director, gave concluding remarks and ended the day by distributing backpacks filled with school supplies.  To make the day a success, Ms. Tamalonis collaborated with the United Nations Association, with Church World Service’s refugee resettlement branch, with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Pace Prints, with the Rye Arts Center, with Starbucks, and with many other sponsors.




Children have innovative ideas, they’re enthusiastic collaborators, and they throw passionate support behind causes that resonate with them.  They also generate enthusiasm among their peers.  The Big Picture Foundation will establish a system that encourages children to work independently, to take ownership of projects, and to feel empowered to develop their own global networking initiatives now and in the future.