The WorryWoo Mission by creator Andi Green:
My passion as an artist, parent and business owner is to help children understand and embrace difficult emotions. This strong desire to help others stems from my own personal experiences. As a child I struggled with feelings I couldn’t understand or explain. Ultimately, art was the lifeline that created an outlet through which I could express the complicated “monsters” in my head. By personifying emotions as loveable characters, I became empowered by my feelings and wanted to share them with others. While working as a designer in NYC I decided to participate in a local art exhibition – this became the catalyst for the creation of my series The WorryWoo Monsters. Through word of mouth and the encouragement of parents and teachers, what began as a labor of love turned into a fulltime business and a campaign to help children (and adults) “embrace their emotions.” Every day I am humbled by the emails and letters I receive from parents and teachers expressing their gratitude for the tangible impact the WorryWoos have in helping children open up and express their feelings in a positive way. This serves to fuel my passion as I see our world move through turbulent times.
Today kids are bombarded by so many scary events flashed over TV and the Internet. As we move into an age where bullying can be done on the computer and pictures can reach millions with the click of a mouse, we need to address, at an early age, the intense emotions experienced in childhood and adolescence. Instead of arming teachers with weapons, we need schools to arm students with social emotional learning tools that help teach and provide a foundation for the necessary skills to diffuse volatile situations.
More than ever, I dream of a WorryWoo in every school, because I regard them as a link between what was taught in the past and what is taught today. We need to remain steadfast in keeping social skills and the positive expression of feelings alive. As a result of the response from various educators, and the development of SEL (Social Emotional Learning), I know that the WorryWoos provide a wonderful opportunity to fill this ever-widening gap. They enable kids with all types of personal issues to talk about their emotions and understand that they are not alone. The earlier students learn about their own feelings, the more they can recognize and sympathize with how others feel too. With knowledge comes power, and with emotional understanding comes empathy, self-respect and resolution. It makes me proud to know that my passion has turned into a tool that can directly affect the well being of an entire community, one student at a time. Let’s all embrace our inner “Woo”!