Whitman Internship Stories – Daniel Kim ’16

IMG_0699Working as a reporting intern with the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, I have gotten the opportunity to experience Walla Walla from a new perspective. Rather than observing the community, I got to participate and interact with the community everyday about the different events happening around town. I’ve learned so much about Walla Walla thus far by writing about the different stories in the area and talking to various people involved in numerous events. Every week, with new stories, poses as an opportunity to experience the novelty of the community.

For the first few weeks at the UB, Tom, my supervisor, assigned stories to me, usually focusing on some area in the arts&entertainment. And even though the stories were focused on this section of the paper, the stories varied in topics. I never wrote about the same story twice and so there is always a sense of spontaneity, which adds to the excitement of the internship.

Some of the stories I’ve had the chance to write were about the various summer musical and dance programs that will be putting on performances for the community throughout the summer. I’ve written stories about the Shakespeare Walla Walla and Walla Walla Community Foundation’s musical theater camp to Dance Center of Walla Walla’s studio recital to the renovations of the Aviary Park.

There were instances when stories that were scrapped at the last minute. I was assigned a story, but was later ditched because it came out to be one with little to no relevancy, which doesn’t mean that it was waste of time. Fort of Walla Walla Museum presented a guest speaker who presented his lecture on The Triple Nickle: Black Paratroopers in Washington State During WWII. Even though the story was not printed, the event was still enlightening and worthwhile.

As I finish off my internship, I get to take on a more self-reliant role as I get to come up with my own story ideas. I have some animated story ideas that I will be writing about in the next following weeks. I’ve already begun one story that covers the recent drought and how it has been affecting farmers in Walla Walla. The spontaneous aspect with stories like this is that I had the unexpected pleasure of riding a harvest combine. I hope there follows similar surreal experiences in the coming weeks as I continue cover stories.

Whitman Internship Stories – Arianne Lozano ’16

image1For the past few months, I have had the amazing opportunity to work with an organization that I have a personal connection to. The Southend Ultimate Program (SUP) is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to supporting the youth ultimate (Frisbee) community in South Seattle. SUP does this by supporting programs like the All Girl Everything Ultimate Program (AGE UP), a sports based social justice program that recruits heavily from South Seattle middle and high schools, where the majority of the students are students of color. AGE UP joins youth together through the sport of ultimate to provide a safe place to talk about topics like race, gender, and identity, all while encouraging community outreach and providing many leadership opportunities for its participants.

AGE UPI grew up learning how to play ultimate in South Seattle, and would not be the player or person I am today without the support that I got from my coaches and mentors who really believed in me on the field and off the field. These same people are the ones who started SUP and AGE UP, and they have created a wonderful organization to support a well-deserving community. SUP just recently received non-profit status and is an organization that is still in its early stages of development. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t gotten a lot done already – just this past year, they raised around $25,000 through the Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG campaign, elected their first board members, and lots of other exciting things!

Working with SUP this summer has been such a great experience. I got the chance to assist with developing a new mission statement for the organization, gained some experience analyzing data assessing the impact of AGE UP’s social justice curriculum, and attended events like the AGE UP Family Feast which celebrated the programs’ participants. It is such a unique organization- one of my favorite quirks is that board meetings double as potlucks (I got to sit in on a few of them and the food was always super good). I have had such a fun time working with and hanging out with such a passionate group of people this summer. I’m glad to call myself a part of the SUP and AGE UP Family.

image2

 

 

 

Whitman Internship Stories – Joel Ponce ’16

I have spent my summer interning in Seattle at an arts and social justice non-profit called Path with Art. The organization offers arts courses in a variety of mediums, – ranging from painting and printmaking, to theater, poetry, dance, and singing – and arts engagement opportunities throughout the city to adults recovering from homelessness, addiction, and other trauma as a form of finding stability and building community. Path with Art currently partners with over 30 social service organizations, employs 23 professional teaching artists, and collaborates with arts organizations such as the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Art Museum, the Richard Hugo House, and the Seattle Opera.

DSC_0951

My official title is the Programming and Communications Intern, though that only begins to meet the surface of all the things I have gotten to do with Path with Art. I started working at a very exciting time for the organization – they had just received their largest grant thus far from the Washington Women’s Foundation the week I arrived! I immediately hit the ground running, helping to prepare and send out a press release announcing the gift. Path with Art currently only has four full time staff members which has given me the opportunity to experience and work with every aspect of the organization. I work with students and teaching artists alongside the two-person Program team, write newsletters and work on promotional materials with the Community Relations Manager, and help create materials for grants with the Executive Director. I even got to, almost accidentally, sit in on part of a Board of Directors meeting.

Working with Path with Art has given me a lot of insight into the arts scene in the city and the ways cities like Seattle attempt to interact with its visibly large homeless population downtown. One of the most redeeming aspects of my internship has definitely been getting to meet the students and finding the ways arts engagement truly serves as a form of healing. During a ceramics class, several students began talking about what brought them to class that day. One student mentioned how he had become a father at young age. After losing touch with his partner and son, he decided to try and turn things around for himself in order to become a positive presence in his son’s life. He had heard that his son and his mom began taking pottery classes together. This inspired him to sign up for this ceramics class with Path with Art in order to have something in common to talk to his son about whenever he would get to see him.

Stories like this one are abundant among our student population. In early July, I got to help run a visual arts exhibit (in which I got to move literal walls – a story unto itself) that featured artwork created by our students during the past few months in classes. This event was free and open to the public, inviting the larger community to learn about some of our students’ stories and experiences through their creative process. These exhibits are an opportunity for the larger community to hear some of these stories and learn about the people that often go unnoticed, as present as they may be in the city.

What I have found most powerful about the work this organization does is the safe and creative space it fosters for the fragile, often overlooked population it serves. Within these classes, students are encouraged to find themselves as creative people, ones worthy of recognition as artists. Being in this space does not shield them from thinking of whatever difficult experiences they have gone through – living on the streets, recovering from addiction, or losing friends and family. Rather it encourages them to take these experiences and understand them as important parts of their identity, parts which inspire their creativity and their art. Their obstacles are no longer simply another statistic or something limiting to their character and perception from others; it instead becomes a rich and meaningful creative source for their art.

Path with Art is careful not to promote their programs as art therapy. Although it does take great care in supporting their students as best as they can, it celebrates the opportunity to allow its students to simply partake in art as the wholesome individuals they are. During a teacher training I attended, our guest social worker and presenter talked about how often his clients, our students, are said to be broken, in need of fixing and stitching back up together. “Folks aren’t glass,” he said. “You can’t break people.” The power of Path with Art, and of art overall, I am finding, is that it recognizes this as its core: Everyone is whole, capable of immense creativity and worthy of having their story shared, regardless of how many challenging or dark experiences they have had to overcome.

I have only one day left at Path with Art as I write this. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work closely with such a small, hard-working staff. With so few people managing a rapidly growing organization, I was able to get a good sense all the inner workings of a non-profit. I also count myself lucky getting to try my hands at so many new forms of art, and build relationships with the incredibly courageous, creative, and caring people Path with Art students are.

Some thoughts on SCORE 2015

The 2015 Summer Community OutReach Excursions (SCORE) trips have drawn to a close after a week of service learning, educational sessions, and activities around Walla Walla. This pre-orientation program has given 22 incoming students and 12 student leaders the opportunity to explore Walla Walla by working with and learning from community partners that range from the YWCA to the Downtown Farmers Market, from the Mill Creek Rangers to Habitat for Humanity. We worked with over 50 community partners to make the four trips (Community & Identity, Food & Hunger, Housing & Homelessness, Environmental Justice & Sustainability) happen, and we are deeply grateful to them.\

Here is a day in the life of one of the trips:

The Environmental Justice & Sustainability group listens as Wenix Red Elk  describes the medicinal uses of several plants.

The Environmental Justice & Sustainability group listens as Wenix Red Elk describes the medicinal uses of several plants.

The Environmental Justice & Sustainability SCORE visited the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. They met with Wenix Red Elk to learn about the Department of Natural Resources and their ongoing efforts to conserve the First Foods (water, deer, salmon, roots, huckleberries).

After hearing about the cultural significance of the First Foods, and some of the threats to their continued existence, the students visited the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, where they had the opportunity to see some of the tools used to hunt and harvest those foods.

Jonah Rodewald ('19) pilots the Tribal Native Plants Nursery tractor on a mission to eradicate weeds.

Jonah Rodewald (’19) pilots the Tribal Native Plants Nursery tractor on a mission to eradicate weeds.

They finished the day with an afternoon of work at the Tribal Native Plants Nursery, an organization dedicated to recreating original, sustainable ecosystems.

Four hands are better than two!

All of the trips has full days, but we ended smiling at Re-SCOREientation, thanks to the enthusiasm of the Whitman Student Engagement Center, our community partners, the participants, and our wonderful leaders.

The whole group, together again!

The whole group, together again!

Eugene Spring Break Service Trip Mid-Week Check-In!

The second week of service trips is in full swing! Here’s a quick update from the Eugene group. Check back at the end of break for a more detailed account of their service and learning activities!

The students on the Spring Break Service Trip to Eugene, OR had a blast today planting native NW species with Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pigsah! Today was sadly our third and last day working with this organization. Tomorrow onto Friends with Trees to do some urban tree planting!

Eugene