“Don’t be scared of the balloon, or it will pop.”
Mia Beck, 10, offered this sage advice to a group of kids sitting cross-legged on the floor of San Luis Obispo United Methodist Church bending and twisting tube-shaped balloons into dogs. She deftly shaped her orange canine and offered advice to the other balloon twisters, some of whom were afraid of popping their creations.
“Like this, Mia?” a chorus of kids asked.
Once the participants twisted their dogs’ ears, their animals began to take shape: “Oh, I see! It’s so cute.”
Mia, a fourth-grader at Ocean View Elementary School in Arroyo Grande, recently moved to the area from Redlands. She said she hopes to share her crafting skills with residents throughout San Luis Obispo County.
Her next stop will be Paso Robles, where she’ll be teaching classes for city Recreation Services as part of the After-School Crafternoon program at Centennial Park. Attendees can learn how to make duct tape accessories Thursday and balloon animals and shapes March 31.
The classes cost $27, $10.50 of which goes to Mia, who also collects the materials fees.
Mia has been twisting balloons for about two years. She first learned by watching YouTube videos and soon began making balloons at parties and community events.
When I grow up, I want to be a mall owner or be on Broadway.
“I think that’s what she enjoys about it — it’s something you can learn really quickly,” said Jamie Beck, Mia’s mom.
Mia now twists everything from swords to dogs to octopuses. Most recently, she learned how to make a balloon Pikachu, the yellow Pokémon character.
She said she enjoys the interactions that come with teaching balloon twisting.
“I like it because I’m the center of attention,” Mia said. “Because everyone needs my help and stuff.”
Her mom, a career educator, said Mia likes to “dabble” in different entrepreneurial activities — she and a friend recently set up a balloon and hot chocolate stand outside Mia’s house.
“I teach a concept of you should find a job that you enjoy,” said Mia’s mom, who’s also teaching a few classes in Paso Robles.
For Mia, that could mean a few different things.
“When I grow up, I want to be a mall owner or be on Broadway,” she said.
Classes in Paso Robles
Duct tape accessories: Mia will teach attendees how to make pens, bows (or bow ties), wallets and purses. The class will be from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday at Centennial Park, 600 Nickerson Drive, and costs $27 with a $12 materials fee. Snacks will be served. Adults can attend free of charge with their children.
Balloon-twisting fun: Mia will demonstrate how to make swords, dogs, flowers, octopuses and wands. The class will be from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. March 31 at Centennial Park, 600 Nickerson Drive, and costs $27 with an $8 materials fee. Snacks will be served. Adults can attend free of charge with their children.
JAMIE BECK’S CLASSES
Career visit employment workshop: Jamie will help attendees changing careers or in search of their dream jobs find direction. The class will be from 4 to 8 p.m. March 28 at Centennial Park, 600 Nickerson Drive, and costs $27.
Being deliberate: Jamie will teach young people and those helping them how to make the most of their education and translate their interests into jobs. The class will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m. April 26 at Centennial Park, 600 Nickerson Drive, and costs $27.