FHS Senior works to help others here and abroad

Shanika Painting

Friendswood High School Senior Shanika Silva is busy with not only post-graduation and college preparations but also a project of which she feels passionate.

The Big Picture was started the summer of her junior year and not only impacts medical patients in Galveston but also in the far away island of Sri Lanka.

Silva worked first with the National Cancer Institute in Maharagama. Her project is branched under the Revive to Survive program. There she was able to develop her program and has now completed three successful projects.

The idea is to get a sick person who is coming to a clinic or is in a hospital involved in decorating the clinic/ward in order to give them a sense of ownership. Silva provides a painting with the concept of the work drawn on the canvas. Each patient if they want can add their own work to the painting.

“Together, we work with the patients to produce paintings where anything is possible (pink grass, orange skies, purple fences). After everyone has contributed, I put some finishing touches and frame and donate the picture to the clinic/ hospital so the patients can see their work daily,” Silva said.

Sri Lanka is the homeland of both her parents with some relatives still living there. So far, Silva has completed 13 paintings hanging in Sri Lanka, two for the PCP Clinic in Galveston and four for the new 61st Street Clinic in Galveston as well.

Shanika Silva

“The Big Picture” is about showing that every little act is important and that people-no matter how old they are or what obstacles they have to overcome – can make a difference. This concept can be applied to people of all ages and helps to promote the mental wellbeing of a sick person,” Silva said. “Simultaneously, this project helps to promote volunteerism.”

The 61st Street Clinic, Rainbow Connection’s camp for cancer patients has asked Silva and two FHS friends, Fatimah Sayeed and Natasha Wroblewski to host an arts and crafts day as part of The Big Picture.

“We are trying to work to get the word out about our project and get support. Our goals is to get The Big Picture to function almost as a hybrid so that it can become self sufficient and independent of donations,” Silva said.

Silva also works with Revive to Survive and is currently working on an upcoming fashion show with renowned Australian designer Jason Chetchuti and Houston designer LaTarsha Delmonicole Williams. The fashion show, June 13 at Crowne Plaza in Houston, is through Revive to Survive. The program provides awareness of Enhance of a Chance which aims to provide nuepogen (an immune boosting drug) to the entire Maharagama Cancer institute.

“Revive to Survive was started when the founders visited the hospital and realized that their was a shortage of neupogen ( an immune boosting drug) and that young children were dying not from cancer but from basic bugs their body could not fight off because their parents could not afford this medicine. Each vial is roughly $60, so we are trying to get 200 people to sign up for $10 a month, Silva said.

Read more about Silva’s projects at Website: http://www.revivetosurvive.org/our-projects/the-big-picture

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/542346145866549/

Silva will attend University of Southern California to be apart of the World Bachelor Program in Business. There she will also study and receive a degree from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology as well as Bocconi University in Milan.