Jasmine Sabbagh is an Orange County eighth grader who is a self-taught artist and young philanthropist. With an aspiration to teach drawing and painting to children at CHOC, she is starting early to raise funds for the hospital she loves. Earlier this year, she participated in her school’s art festival and earmarked all the proceeds to support CHOC’s greatest needs. Ever the self-starter, she easily set up her own peer-to-peer fundraising site through CHOC Raise Up.
We caught up with her to learn more about her journey as an artist and philanthropist.
How long have you been working on your art?
Jasmine Sabbagh: I have been fascinated with art for as long as I can remember. My most disciplined focus began when I was around 3 or 4 years old. I am a very detailed person, so when I sit down with my projects, I drift away into them, and I lose track of time. Hours and hours can go by, and I won’t even notice. Once I start a project, I am committed and very few of my projects are left unfinished. Art has been an important avenue of expression for me.
How did you learn about the work of CHOC and its needs?
JS: When I was young, I went to a children’s hospital for an emergency. I remember how intimidated I was by the idea of going to the hospital, period. But when I arrived, I met the most special of people—from doctors to nurses to all the wonderful people who helped me—and the environment was so colorful and visually warm. When I moved to Irvine, I observed many fundraisers dedicated to CHOC, through the CHOC Foundation. When I Googled the Foundation, I was happy to discover that most of the money that they raise goes straight back into improving children’s lives. As a kid myself, there is no greater honor than being able to help another child.
What draws you to philanthropy and giving?
JS: I am still new to philanthropy! I am still on a journey of exploring how I can use my talents to change the world in any small way. My middle school in Irvine organized an art festival and invited any student to reserve a table and exhibit and/or sell their art. This was my debut as a professional artist, presenting my art to the public and selling it. I was very nervous and intimidated by the idea, but was so warmly received by the students, teachers and parents. I was honored to be able to use this important personal milestone in my artistic journey as an opportunity for philanthropy. And it made me happy to be able to donate all my proceeds to such an amazing organization as CHOC. And, as a bonus, I was honored with first place for my art exhibit at my middle school’s art festival!
I am still on a journey of exploring how I can use my talents to change the world in any small way.—Jasmine Sabbagh
How have you grown as an artist?
JS: My sketching has been mostly self-taught. In my earlier years, I spent a significant amount of my free time practicing. Looking back, my perspective on my early projects was not very accurate. As I have grown, I trained myself to focus on the littlest of details. I do have a lot of other activities in my life now—like soccer, running, and swimming, and I am an honor roll student—but nothing brings me more satisfaction, joy and peace than when I am creating art. I often use it as a mechanism to reduce stress. When I feel anxious, I will grab a pencil and immerse myself into the art.
My formal training began with taking a community art class in the second grade. The next year, I began a more formal art program at a facility in Irvine called Mission: Renaissance Fine Art Classes. It taught me a more disciplined approach to achieve the various stages of mastery in sketch, pastel, watercolor, still-life pastel, and still-life oil, and then to more complex images for oil painting. I have done oil paintings of works by Monet and Manet, images initiated from my imagination, and images of some of my favorite animals and architecture.
We heard your dream is to teach kids at CHOC how to draw and paint?
JS: Art has been such a wonderful avenue of growth for me. I have been amazed at how much I have grown as an artist over the years. I observed that people can get intimidated by the process of expressing themselves artistically, so it would be a privilege to let other children experience the joy I have experienced.
How easy was it to set up your own fundraising campaign to share with your peers?
It was easy and very user friendly! I sent the link to my page to clients, teachers and others.
Fundraising to support the work of CHOC is easy when you set up a peer-to-peer campaign—design it yourself, share it with friends and donations go directly to CHOC.