Monday, March 21, 2016

Day 2: Walk and Talk and Arts & Scraps

We began our day today with a "walk-and-talk." The point of this was to acquaint us with our surrounding neighborhood. It was refreshing to see members of the community out and about and not see the city through only a tourist lens. They were all very pleasent and greeting us with "good mornings." This walk gave us an opportunity not only to get to know the neighborhood and our partners better, but to address and talk about different questions related to social justice and community development. Some of the questions included:
What is one way that you work for social justice in your everyday life?
What do you consider the most valuable thing you have?
Is world peace possible? Why or why not?
After our walk-and-talk we had a bit of down time and reflected a bit as a group. We ate lunch and then went to participate in our first service project with a the non-profit organization Arts and Scraps. The main purpose of Arts and Scraps is to give a new life to recycled materials and reinforce lesson that have been taught to students in classroom in a fun way. The focus is on S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Enginering, Math), and taking a creative approach to this type of learning. We broke off into different groups and helped to organize art materials that would eventually find their way into a classroom. A majority of the materials used are donated from different companies. We cut foam that had been donated from the automobile industry and turned it into smaller parts called "lungs," "crowns," "sharkfins," and "lighting bolts." Then we spent times organizing boxes that we had filled with used tickets. The last portion of our service was dedicated to helping Arts and Scraps promote their non-profit. We made videos that could be shared on their social media platforms. One group made a fun mission-drive oriented video, and the other wrote a theme song directed for the kids who would be touched by this organization. At the end of our four hours with Arts and Scraps, collectively we put an estimated 5,000 smiles on the faces of children throught the city and its surrounding areas.
At the end of the day some members of the group were struggling with the idea that we would never get to see the effects of our work and the smiles we helped make. It's important to remember though that we as volunteers are there to serve the community and not our own agenda. That is what true service means.

-Joe D and Megan B

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