We really enjoy partnering up with our friends in various nonprofits around town to both educate the public about creative reuse and have some fun making ART. So on Wednesday, the ladies of WonderRoot Creative Reuse headed over to the Atlanta branch of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) for a couple of hours of crafting with refugee teens in the IRC’s summer program.
In case you haven’t heard of it, since 1933, the IRC has worked all over the world offering humanitarian aid to people fleeing their countries because of wars or disasters. According to their website, the IRC responds directly to emergencies within 72 hours, working as long as necessary to restore safety. They send doctors to emergency sites, provide post-conflict relief to communities, work to empower victims of domestic violence, and counsel and care for refugee children. They unite families that have been torn apart by crisis, they advocate for change, and they help to resettle refugees in the US. It’s a pretty amazing organization.
The Atlanta IRC office focuses on assisting families as they settle and acclimate to life in the States. They have a variety of programs, including helping refugee families find housing and jobs and teaching English to people of all ages. The kids we were hanging out with were middle- and high-school aged, and had various levels of English fluency. The summer program is really geared towards making sure these kids have something to do during the day when their parents are most likely working.
We had a blast. There were three different crafts we set up, and people were encouraged to roam as they pleased from station to station. We made origami boxes and frames, got a little messy making paintings on fabric, and made postcards to be shared with other kids. Though we couldn’t always communicate as fluidly as we may be accustomed to, we enjoyed watching the teens have a good time and express themselves visually. The origami station was by far the most popular, which was interesting. We’re never quite able to completely predict what activity is going to really speak to people.
If you want to be a part of a similar outreach project, or just have thoughts to share, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook!