When Jourdyn started glassblowing, he had some reservations about these so-called “Hilltop Artists.” The guidance counselor at Wilson High School had recommended glassblowing to fulfill credits and for its therapeutic benefits.
Jourdyn quickly appreciated how glassblowing allowed him to focus at the moment and take a break from the worries and challenges that normally ran rampant through his mind. But he still wasn’t too sure about who he could trust, so he kept to himself and didn’t talk much.
Two years later, Jourdyn now describes his fellow Hilltop Artists as “family.” Jourdyn shares that his classmates in Team Production didn’t give up on including him in the group. He says they have helped him connect to kids his age and feel more comfortable socially.
“Hilltop Artists means the world to me. Just being able to be helped with any problems that I come across and that I can talk to anyone in the program. I feel like I could go anywhere in life. That I could get set up on the right path.”
Jourdyn had struggled in school and even considered dropping out, but Hilltop Artists helped keep him on track. When he graduated last year, he debated continuing with school or just working. Encouraged by his friends and mentors at Hilltop Artists, he is now enrolled in college, maintains a part-time job, and assists younger students at Hilltop Artists as a volunteer.
Jourdyn aspires to become a glassblowing instructor and looks for opportunities to teach wherever he can. He credits Hilltop Artists instructor and alumni Tony Sorgenfrei as his main inspiration and plans on infusing his own teaching with the same balance of patience, humor, and understanding.
“At Hilltop Artists, everyone wants you to succeed, even when you think you’re not going to. They also think the best of you. Your problems become their problems. If they don’t know the answer, they will go find it.”
The generosity of individuals like you makes it possible for Hilltop Artists to remain tuition-free and accessible to all students.
Your support means our young people have a safe place to express themselves and become immersed in a healthy and caring community.
In this season, we wish you the kind of warmth, community, beauty, and hope you have given to our young people. Thanks to donors like you, our students get to stand close to the furnace and forget for a moment that cold even exists. Through collaboration and teamwork, they forge friendships they never thought possible. From idea to plan to creation, they turn raw materials into works of art.
And no matter their circumstances, they learn that extraordinary opportunity is within reach.
Your past giving has made stories like Jourdyn’s possible. Today, we ask you to consider making a donation in support of Hilltop Artists, so more students will have access to life-changing opportunity.
Hilltop Artists Board and Staff