Hello everyone! I am happy to announce that change is all around us - through this beautiful weather and our national service work. First, this beautiful weather; there is just something about the smell of fresh cut grass and blooming flowers that make me feel alive again, after too long of a winter. I contribute my extra joyfulness to this season, as I have a skip in my step.
As VISTAs, we find ourselves in a new season, too. We are wrapping up all our end of the year projects and planning. My calendar is telling me, I have more time; however, I have been a bit anxious about completing my service year with a bang. I know the other VISTAs with The LEAGUE Michigan can relate to how rapidly the school year is closing. I will share with you one of the most recent projects I did with a Consumers Science class at an alternative high school I have been working with all year.
On Friday May 22, 2015, an old 1968 Chevy dump truck sat retired from service along Michigan Ave., not attracting too much attention. Until an artist and a class took hold of it! Today, you can't help but notice this beautiful work of art! Students from Calhoun Community High School along with their Consumers Science teacher, Mrs. Lisa Ryan, met a local artist (Kimber Thompson of the Changling Lab) at the sight early Friday morning to transform the old dump truck into beauty for the public to enjoy. I collaborated with Brett A. Myers, Executive Director of Leila Arboretum on this project. The students from this Consumers Science class were looking for an art or landscaping project to express their artistic abilities and Brett had the perfect project in mind. The old truck needed an artistic paint job and some landscaping work to be done around it. That’s exactly what the old Chevy got! So, if you’re in Battle Creek driving down Michigan Ave., take a sweet look at the old truck painted for your enjoyment! Also seen in the picture is Kelly’s 3 year old daughter Clover Joy.
Lastly, I feel a pull to figure out what to do next, I have an idea and I know in time it will all come together as I stay in the nonprofit world. It seems a bit sad to move on from here as I have and (I am sure many of you) have built so many relationships that you cherish. My conclusion is… change is good, as it keeps us growing. I will always cherish this year of service as I see it as a stepping stone to greater service. I am not saying good bye yet though, we still have some great things to accomplish - Fisher training perpetrations and youth camp!
Hello! I am Kelly Joy Williams, I am a First Year VISTA serving with The LEAGUE Michigan, at HandsOn Battle Creek. HandsOn BC is a unique program that focuses on building a strong community through volunteerism, they have a 211 center and create meaningful project in a broad spectrum that bring people together to promote the common good.
Battle Creek is an amazing place to be right now; as this gives me an open canvas to be creative and innovative when coming up with projects to help my teachers promote service-learning. I serve in a generous community here at HandsOn, they have developed numerous partnerships, partly due to being under the United Way umbrella. Therefore, recourses are not a problem when looking for an ideal place to pair a class with. For instance, in the last five months a Consumer Science class at Calhoun Community High School (alternative education) has been welcomed into two nonprofit pillars in their community. There, students absorb a hands on experience while being educated on why this nonprofit exists, and who they help in their community. Students see the faces in the community who have had needs that they have assisted with. This class has distributed winter coats to families in need, they have served lunch to the homeless in an area soup kitchen, and they have organized clothes for a free clothing store. It has been amazing to see this group of students’ reaction. Mrs. Ryan, their teacher said “I am astonished how these kids with so many needs of their own are happy and willing to give, most of these kids come from this and to see them give back, makes it worth all the effort to get them here.”
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!