Professional artist uses skills to inspire elementary students across Aurora

Students surrounded by art work from volunteer

AURORA, Colo. - Pablo Picasso once said:  "The important thing is to create."

7Everyday Hero Jackie DeLangie is helping students realize that. She volunteers her time at four Aurora elementary schools.

"I love it!  My children are scattered all over the United States, so this is my family," said DeLangie.

DeLangie has been a professional artist for more than 50 years. And for the last 17 of those, she has volunteered to share her art wisdom at the schools.

"I am a retired senior citizen with time on my hands and I can't think of a better place to put my work," said DeLangie.

"She brings that kind of grandmotherly love, so the kids get that gentle, quiet one-on-one," said Luann Tallman, Iowa Elementary School Principal.

"Jackie is amazing.  Everywhere you walk through the hallway there is something that Jackie has been part of," said Susan Gariepy, Sidecreek Elementary School Principal.

DeLangie's influence is hard to miss.

She even decorates things as simple as the classroom craft sponges so the students are surrounded by art. And the halls are filled with life-sized replicas of some students.

"One of the people walked out and glanced and said: 'What are you doing standing here, get back to class.'  Not realizing for a minute that it wasn't real," said DeLangie.

DeLangie finds the student's other studies improve when they are exposed to art. And she promotes the children's work to the whole community.

"She is really involved in the Aurora Arts Council, so she does a lot of work to bring out student's art outside the school and out into the community," said Gariepy.

An artist, a leader in cultural affairs in Aurora and a volunteer multiple days a week at four schools, DeLangie is someone who makes time to give back.

"All you senior citizens with nothing to do and who are totally board: Volunteer!"  [laughs]  It's very rewarding," said DeLangie. 

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