Sunday, January 4, 2015

Broad Street Ministry Update

Over the past few months I've take on a new position at broad street ministry working as an assistant to the art therapy table.  Here I assist in setting up supplies and planning future projects. All manner of beautiful and inspiring work comes from the therapeutic arts table. Over the summer I begin to think, the art created at the table is a form of therapy and expression for each artist sitting at the table. However, this art be therapy for the viewer as well.  More specifically, I began to look at the social divide with in Philadelphia between those experiencing wealth and those experiencing poverty. 

Many people tend to over look the homeless, shy away from the man asking for change, or divert our eyes from the woman with a cardboard sign siting at the street corner.  Even those on government assistance feel judgment or are pitted because of circumstances often out of there control.  If art is a way of expression, an art show featuring work from the very people who are misunderstood can help bring communities together. 

Currently I am in the process of creating a proposal to explain the goal of the show and it's set up.  I am spear heading this project at broad steer ministry, it's both exciting and scary. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's Next For Me

Now that I am a senior in college and my main focus is transitioning out of being a full time student I am really thinking critically about how all of my volunteer hours can help me after I graduate. I know that it looks good on a resume and it reflects well on my character, however I want to have a more tangible connection with my community service experience and I don't want it to end here. My long term goal is to own performing and fine arts venues around the Greater Philadelphia area however I know that It will take a lot of hard work, determination, and focus to accomplish this goal. I believe that my volunteering has helped sculpt these attributes in me and right out of college I would like to get some type of entry level art administration position and continue to do community outreach. Once I do reach my long term goal of owning a venue and one day venues around the city I want to not only facilitate the arts but I also want to facilitate community outreach and use my venue as a resource for the Philadelphia community! 

I'm so appreciative of all that I've learned and experienced through the community scholars program and my time as a volunteer was extremely enjoyable! I would like to thank the office of Career Services and The Salvation Army Red Shield Family Residence for all of your help! 

The Benefits of Volunteering

Most people begin volunteering because of the numerous professional benefits that it produces, but I was lucky enough to just have a natural urge to volunteer! My parents and siblings exposed me to volunteering at a very young age so by the time I was a freshman in high school I was a seasoned volunteer and spent about 20 hours a week on community service initiatives! Over the past 8 years I have volunteered for The Hamilton County Juvenile Court program (Cincinnati, Ohio) , The Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, The Cincinnati Urban League, The Cincinnati & Philly AIDS Walk, The Red Shileld, PAWS Shelter, and more! As president of the black student union on campus, African Diaspora Collective I have made it a point to align our mission with community outreach and volunteering especially since Philadelphia has such a large African American community! Basically I know the power of community service because I witnessed and benefitted from it first hand when I was little so I know how important it is to continue volunteering through out my life! :) 

What I learned!

I believe that I have benefitted in numerous ways while working at the Red Shield. I had the opportunity to work on and manage projects, build activities for children, tutor, and learn key communication skills, but what I think I learned the most is how much you can push yourself when you are passionate about something. I know that if I wouldn't of been passionate about inner city children and especially inner city children in trauma situations that I would of lost my patience during my time there. But I really felt that the work I was doing was important so I felt that it was important to give it my all! By maintaining this attitude the children immediately welcomed me and we all got along well. Mike and the other employees at the Red Shield were great examples of how to conduct yourself in that type of environment so I was able to learn from them and imitate their teaching and leadership habits. Overall, I really believe that I left the Red Shield as a more well rounded individual and my involvement in the Greater Philadelphia Community will not stop here! 

The Parents

Throughout my time at The Red Shield I found my biggest adjustment to be dealing with the parents. Regardless of why I was there, I had to interact with the parents because I was interacting directly with their children. For the most part all the parents were pleasant, and they were always nice to me; however sometimes it would bother me how the parents either spoke or treated their children. I felt like they didn't foster a nurturing environment for the children and all of the bad habits that the adults had directly and severely rubbed off on the children. Alot of the disciplinary problems that Mike and I had to deal with was because the children either were imitating their parent(s), rebelling toward all adults because of their parents, or their parents didn't properly teach them how to conduct themselves in school and in public. They didn't grow up in a household that amplified respect so they didn't know how to show respect. It was disheartening but I couldn't pass judgement because these were children that had to grow up FAST and been faced with things that even some adults didn't have to face. These children were use to either helping raise themselves or COMPLETELY raising themselves. So with this in mind I worked my hardest while I was there to provide an example for the children so that I could teach them that even though you didn't grow up in the most ideal circumstances you could still grow up to be exceptional! :) 

Art Classes

After working with the children for a while, I began to realize how a lot of them were interested in the arts and quite good at them! Once tutoring time was done, some of the children would ask to play the keyboard that the facility had or draw or play make believe. So Mike and I decided to capitalize on that and try and put together classes for the children at U'arts. I recruited student artist including, Sydney Andrews (Multidisciplinary/Print Making '14), Lionel Forrester Jr. (Drum Performance '15), Afiya Alleyne (Vocal Performance '15) Damala Haire (Vocal Performance '15) Tiffani Holland (Film '14) Myles Brown (Illustration '15) and myself. Michael facilitated a training for all of us, in which we learned about teaching young children and dealing with children in trauma situations. Also, we worked closely with the Office of Student Life to help sponsor and support the classes. During our time with the children we taught them basic music skills such as rhythm and melody; drawing technique; and the power of acting and expression! Overall all of the children really enjoyed working with the student artist and everyone benefitted from the experience! 

U'Arts Halloween Trip

As many people can recall from 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast during October and kept most children from celebrating Halloween. Unfortunately, the children at the Red Shield wouldn't of even been able to go trick or treating even if the storm didn't hit because none of them had homes and the halfway house they all lived in wasn't in a neighborhood that accommodated halloween traditions. So with the help of Ladies of Service, Mike and I were able to bring the children at the Red Shield down to the university of the Arts to celebrate Halloween! The children were given a concert by the Rumble ensemble and then were able to come on stage and play the drums themselves! My favorite child, Hannifah got the chance to play drums and was a natural! It was very inspiring to see how children can just be inclined to the arts! Then they were all taken to the division of student affairs and was able to go trick or treating in each office! This was definitely one of my favorite events to host for the children!