The past week has been a whirlwind experience. Ever since our tour kicked off in Syracuse, New York at the Community Folk Art Center, the On Tour! team has hit the ground running!
Fayetteville, New York
Good Shepard Lutheran Church and its Youth Group welcomed On Tour! team to their Sunday morning gathering. This intimate event prompted youth to take action with our social arts campaign while they learned about the plight of peers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Somalia. Already active in community service projects and missions, this group was very receptive to engage and create bones. Their church has welcomed refugees from all parts of the world, including Somalia, which allowed them to appreciate the efforts set forth by projects that draw awareness and spark action.
Participants used newspaper and masking tape to build their bones. They created 50+ bones, and even welcomed Reverend Dr. John Ferrie to the bone making event. Upon his invitation the youth group expressed interest in sharing the project with their congregation and eventually having a bone-laying event at church.
The On Tour! team continued its adventures in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts and visited several high schools and extended care homes.
Approximately 30 students at Cheltenham High School participated in our Students Rebuild bone making workshop. It was the perfect opportunity to discuss the ongoing humanitarian crises in the DRC and Somalia.
and Stephanie delivered a presentation and then split the group into teams:
Team Newspaper and Team Clay. Each group carried on a friendly bone making
competition that produced about 200 Bones in a little over an hour! Mr. Hollis,
our host educator, happily engaged his students with our 30-day challenge. This
means that by the time On Tour! visits the school again, Cheltenham will have
hosted more bone making events to a wider audience in the school and /or the
Hartford County, Connecticut:
A scenic view of the Mark Twain House in West Hartford, Connecticut.
After Pennsylvania, Stephanie and Terrance made four diverse stops. Their very first was at Alberta Manor, an extended care home for the elderly and mentally challenged in Hartford, Connecticut. There, our On Tour! team led a bone making workshop, shared their insight about humanitarian crises and listened to the stories and personal narratives of participants. Fifteen residents drew parallels between the challenges they and our peers in the DRC and Somalia have faced.
The On Tour! team then traveled to West Hartford, Connecticut and met with the residents of Tracy Manor, an extended care home for elderly women with developmental challenges. Tracy Manor is the sister venue of Alberta Manor. When Tracy Manor participants learned that their sister venue created close to 40 bones, they outnumbered those efforts by creating 50 bones! When Terrance and Stephanie discussed the DRC and Somalia, some residents shared that they have immediate and extended family in the region, and that the One Million Bones project inspired them to contribute to our programs on the ground. Mr. Richheimer, the Executive Director at Tracy Manor, was very excited to engage residents with this project. He commended Students Rebuild and the One Million Bones Project for connecting youth with diverse audiences.
At The Kent School in Kent, Connecticut., the On Tour! team addressed
400 members of the student body during their scheduled chapel service. Terrance
and Stephanie addressed the scope of the One Million Bones project and its
impact on sustaining the ETN
vocational school in Goma, DRC and the Somali Youth Leadership Initiative. The devotional
service was tailored to draw awareness of humanitarian crises, and even
inspired some students to introduce ideas as to how they would like to take
ownership of the project. The Missions Committee, led by Professor Hailey
Prickett, has committed to the 30-day challenge and will soon welcome our On
Tour! Team back to their beautiful campus for bone making workshops!
The Kent School in Autumn
Providence, Rhode Island:
A two-hour drive later, On Tour! arrived in Providence for
the next stop, The Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex. This impressive complex
is home to the Providence Academy of International Studies (PAIS) and William B
Cooley Sr. High School. Its library served as a venue for five presentations
and its cafeteria housed our energetic bone making event. Throughout the
presentations, students readily identified parallels between the ongoing crises
in the DRC and Somalia and some of the humanitarian crises that occurred in
their communities and native countries.
The On Tour! Team welcomed a wide range of questions that ranged from economic issues to social and political challenges in the affected region. Two hundred students participated in the presentations, and turnout to the after school bone making event truly reflected the student body’s commitment to bettering the quality of life and education of their DRC and Somalia peers.
The bone-making workshop welcomed close to 80 students and
resulted in 400 bones within a two-hour period. At the bone-making event, Kenya
(far left), a senior at PAIS gathered her family and together they created over
150 bones! Their commitment to the challenge was exceptional and a testament to
the power of the arts as a vehicle for awareness. We also think they might be
aiming to win the 30-day challenge national contest by Students Rebuild!
Geri Lallo, our host educator, was enthusiastic about extending this opportunity to her students. She encouraged students to take this project into their respective communities. Further, they’re organizing a bone laying event that will commemorate all of those who have perished because of ongoing humanitarian crises and will celebrate the progressive spirit of our peers in the DRC and Somalia. The On Tour! team will be there!
The very next morning, Terrance and Stephanie drove to
Meiklem Kiln Works, an art studio and wellness center in New London County, CT.
This venue was really excited to welcome the One Million Bones Project and went
to great lengths to showcase the event. They created bone-shaped cookies and
even wrote all over a car to spark the interest of the community members.
Over a three hour period, the On Tour! team made clay bones with participants of all ages while discussing challenges faced in the DRC and Somalia. The team experienced a great flow of positive emotions and a sense of community responsibility throughout their stay. The group had a rich conversation that explored the depth of humanitarian crises and how social arts movements impact global awareness.
Participants noted that the physical act of creating a bone drew them closer to the project and symbolized their commitment to our common humanity.
Their sense of ownership was incredible and it even drew
inspiration to emulate bones from a model skeleton housed at the venue!
Meiklem Kiln Works was a marvelous addition and the On Tour!
Team is excited to follow up with their 30-day challenge and a planned
bone-laying event. A very special thank you to Lyndsay Meiklem and all
participants for welcoming Terrance and Stephanie and encouraging their
community to participate in our One Million Bones project!