YOGART STUDIO :: A sense of community

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My old ‘hood

YOGART STUDIO :: A sense of community

A sense of community not only includes a place or catchment area but also an attitude and point of observation. The quality of connections we have with people in our communities reflect the value of the places we live, work, learn, and play in. Unfortunately, rooting those connections may often seem like a conditional pastime instead of the daily adherence necessary for a community and desired way of life to flourish.

Before I left for India I paid my Babcia a visit. She lives on the same street I grew up as a little girl. After dinner I headed out for an evening stroll and ended up at my former elementary school. I cut across the field looking up at the dusky blue sky. Everything seemed quiet and still. A decade had passed since the last time I visited. I noticed that the school had grown -renovated and expanded to accommodate more students and that the ramshackle portables which once served as sweltering pressure cookers in the month of June were missing. Although the school had increased in size I couldn’t help but think how tiny it looked. I walked over to the bocce ball courts at the end of the field. I remembered the summer they were built -two lanes paved for some unknown game that would be occupied by old Italian men for years to come. With the sign peeling back, the courts seem tarnished and in need of polishing. The silence and stillness transitioned to an eerie feeling. I found myself standing in a place and memory I had long ago forgotten. My childhood community remained right where I left it but I had abandoned the thought of it long ago. It made me wonder how we may cement feelings of belonging and connectedness and inspire positive long-lasting relationships for children and their sense of community.

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Little Jäger and my elementary school

YOGART STUDIO :: Art Activity Idea

Let kids choose a location in their surrounding community and ask them to imagine what that place would look like if it was forgotten. What kind of plants would grow? What would the buildings begin to look like over time? How would the environment change? Would people still live there? Would schools and stores stay open? Offer kids the photos (below) of abandoned places as inspiration. Have children create a 2D or 3D replica of a place in their own community illustrating the threat of human and environmental negligence. Using simple materials like a piece of cardboard for the base and recycled objects like bottle caps, old food containers and discarded building blocks, have children design the area of the community they wish to recreate and have them instruct you where to hot glue gun the items. Paint a layer of white primer before using acrylics to fill in the details or better yet, create an overgrown green effect with graffiti moss paint.  When children feel included in the conversation of community, they are likely to show more caring and compassion towards others and confidence in their ability to contribute and shape their surroundings. Conclude the activity by discussing how every person within a community should be valued regardless of age or ability and that individual contributions of care, compassion, respect, and understanding help conserve and honour our sense of community.

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Abandoned city of Keelung, Taiwan

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The Kerry Way walking path between Sneem and Kenmare in Ireland

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Kolmanskop in the Namib Desert

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Cincinnati’s abandoned subway depot

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Abandoned Themepark Pripyat, Ukraine

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The Maunsell Sea Forts in England

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1984 Winter Olympics bobsleigh track in Sarajevo

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Abandoned mill from 1866 in Sorrento, Italy

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Abandoned dome houses in Southwest Florida

I’d like to dedicate this post to my dear friend Jordon who by example, incessantly inspires people to get involved in their own communities and reminds us that the progressive planning and leadership of communities is worth the enduring strength and perseverance.

Thank you Jordon!

(Images via RABBIT38)

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