Thursday, January 20, 2011

VISTA MLK Day Project

"A Day On Not a Day Off"--MLK Day
“We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers. Our abundance has brought us neither peace of mind nor serenity of spirit.”---Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963
For Martin Luther King Jr. day a few of us Cleveland VISTA’s planned a class that included meditation and creative expression through various art forms at a Cleveland men’s shelter. Kimberly Sandoval, Monica Christoperson, Annie Holden all VISTAs at Lutheran Metropolitan ministries, and Holly Lyon a VISTA at the Northeast Ohio Coalition organized the event.

The class started with a brief tutorial on to practice mindfulness, a form of meditation. We then did a few mindfulness exercises followed by artistic expressions as a form of stress relief. Some residents wrote journal entries, drew pictures or contributed inspirational quotes. Several collaborative posters were made out of the art work and will be hung in the shelter.

The best part of the class was socializing with the residents as we all worked on our individual art projects. Many laughs and stories were exchanged. All of us contributing VISTAs hope to develop a regular artistic expression class at the shelter.

[Editor's Note: Holly is an AmeriCorps*VISTA member at NEOCH, and took the day to coordinate a volunteer activity at the shelter. This was part of President Obama's call to service on MLK day. VISTAs everyday work on solving poverty in the local community by developing programs, building collaborations, and supporting public policy initiatives in the area of children and families, homelessness, neighborhood safety, literacy, and workforce development. On the Martin Luther King holiday these individuals go outside of their regular jobs to do community service projects. Holly worked an event at the large men's shelter. ]

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