Orientation

Me at KY READY Corps orientation, 4/27/18

One definition of orientation is: a usually general or lasting direction of thought, inclination, or interest.

And that type of orientation to art, learning and service are what led me to the place I am at now, Berea, Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University, and the position I am in, as an AmeriCorps Program Director, involved in readiness and resilience for vulnerable individuals.

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On April 27, 2018 I led the first KY READY Corps orientation, and it was a wonderful experience on many levels. It reminded me of many firsts, including my AmeriCorps Senior Connection orientation in 2014 and introduction to service other than volunteerism, and my decision to become an AmeriCorps VISTA Leader in early 2016 which led me to Berea and back to eastern Kentucky.

Me as VISTA Leader at Berea College, spring 2017

Me as VISTA Leader at Berea College, Spring 2017

It also reminded me of the excellent teacher I was and still am, and how right I was to believe I had more than sufficient experience and credentials to launch myself from a former art professor to a volunteer at a homeless shelter, to an AmeriCorps, then VISTA Leader and finally to an AmeriCorps Program Director.

Like all of my accomplishments of the last two years, this feels bittersweet. But I am learning to cautiously allow myself the happiness I deserve, though it has to be without Owen. Regardless, O is always with me, helping me move forward, pushing me onward, and for that I am truly grateful and blessed.

PS: I am still teaching art (Upward Bound, June 2018), making art and writing. The Art Bag Lady perseveres!

 

 

 

Life Stories, Life Lessons Update

Progress continues on the Life Stories/Life Lessons writing and art project, funded by the Kentucky Foundation For Women. Also find the KFW on Facebook!

On 1/5/2016 — before the wild winter weather set in — the elders at Redbanks Pleasant Pointe decided to write a personal note to the group of girls involved in the project via their after school program at the Henderson County Housing Authority.  The girls loved getting these “letters” written on the backs of old book covers, and were touched (and attended to!) the advice given by the elders. Then the girls responded during the week of 1/18/2016 with a collage of Loves and Hates, a topic currently being explored via poems and prose at Redbanks.

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We also exchanged photographs — as bringing the two groups together had to be postponed due to the bad weather.  The girls were especially enthusiastic about doing this — and both groups were fascinated and excited to share photographs with each other.

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Both groups can’t wait to actually meet!  But until we do we will continue this “pen pal” part of the Life Stories/Life Lessons project.  And a website is in the making as well!

 

A Room of Our Own!

Thanks to principal and guidance counselors at Central Learning Center/Henderson County Schools, The Art Bag Lady now has a dedicated “art room”! It is a generously sized but windowless former “freeze” location, so kidz and I are planning a window theme for the walls. On 11/19 girlz also continued work on illustrating Life Stories/Life Lessons themes being explored by female elders at Redbanks independent living facilities in Henderson KY.  These include “Loves and Hates” and family via alternative forms of family trees. And I was introduced to my first group of exclusively boyz, who took ownership of the room by signing off on what will be our ever changing expressive wall.

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Completion of Story Quilt, Redbanks Pleasant Pointe

It was a real thrill to see the installation of the Redbanks Pleasant Pointe Story Quilt — especially the reaction of the residents involved in the project!  Coming soon: Life Stories/Life Lessons project, sponsored and supported by the Kentucky Foundation For Women!

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Got A Grant!

KFW Official Logo

KFW Official Logo

THANK YOU to the wonderful Kentucky Foundation for Women, for funding close to $4000 for my Life Stories/Life Lessons project connecting elderly women and girls through writing and art in Henderson, Kentucky! So excited about starting this project!!! Soon!!!