Last reflections upon the internship

August 13th, 2012

Coming to the end of my first internship, I would like to put together some things- of course some will always slip me- that I gained out of it;

how to be professional at my work- transiting from being a college student to being a professional at a workplace might not be as easy at times ;)

how to responsible and accountable for every task I take on

how to be a better listener and show leadership when needed

what social therapy is, and how it can involve all sort of social performance acts

how to be a community organizer and a facilitator

other potential career paths that have to do with psychology, counseling, arts and human interaction

and last but not least, how to have fun and stay happy while doing work :)

I would like to thank the Dickinson Career Center for supporting me financially to complete this internship by awarding me the Dickinson Internship Grant, otherwise I wouldn’t have managed to afford living in NYC for 3 months.  It was a pleasant and rewarding experience that I am sure will serve me great one way or another!

Thank you for reading my blog.

 

 

Best regards,

Avgi :)

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Last days at the ESI

August 13th, 2012

During the past week we’ve had our last work meetings at the office, and the last educational activities and workshops. During the office hours me and an other were organizing the spreadsheets and data from all the performers of PTW 2012 (Performing The World International Conference 2012). We were also in touch with all the people outside of the US who were applying for visas to attend the conference, since we were sending supporting letters to the embassies of their countries. It was so exciting to see so many performers coming from all over the world to participate in this enriching educational/performance conference. To some distinguished people who come from developing countries and don’t have enough money to cover the cost of the conference or their airfare the ESI provided scholarships. This year more than 20 people were awarded with scholarships! And as I mentioned in previous posts, they come from everywhere; Japan, Europe, Africa, Brazil! You can check the official website provided earlier to see all the updates, their short infos, and topic of their performance.

Going on with the last session of educational activities, on Friday 08/03 we had a talk on “learning how to listen and speak”. What we basically learnt and further discussed upon, is to how to be more receptive to everything that the other person has to tell you in conversations; How to wait and be eager to learn and fully comprehend the person who you are talking with. In our days, there are so many people who are so caught up with what they want to say themselves, what They want to convey, that do not bother to actually Listen to the other person. Most times, people are also busy, or they want to look smart, or they want to impress, or appear to be super friendly and social, so they already have ready responses in their minds, what they wanna say next, what to say to keep things interesting and keep the conversation flowing, how to lead a talk as to what they think is right or supposed to be etc. That prevents them from truly Listening to the other person and building with/on they give them. By not being completely receptive to the other person, one can only stay caught up on his/her own assumptions, preconceptions, and advice on what might be better or right. (these were all parts on training how to be better listeners instead of minding what impression We might give, our how We might look like). The session ended with very joyful and helpful improv exercises that aimed at helping us see the distinction and facilitate real and more receptive dialogues, where we could build up on what our partner  would share with us. As for myself, since I was a kid this was something I would struggle a lot with (:P, poor mom and dad), so striving to become an even better listener be it for a parent, a friend, a teacher, an employer, will always remain a personal primary goal.

We all agreed that that session served as a perfect way to remind us how to stay open and receptive, and away from self-absorbing thoughts, qualities that will eventually prove essential if any of us end up being psychologists, therapists, counselors, directors, teachers, human resources specialists, and anything that involves human beings and human relationships.

 
“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”

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Cops and Kids Project

August 3rd, 2012

The All Stars is undertaking this remarkable project in order to foster positive interactions between the police and inner-city youth. Especially in poor areas in Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens violence and crime incidents are pretty high and a lot of times young high school children are involved. Cops and youth relationships are not the best and there have been a lot of cases when innocent kids would get arrested for trivial incidents. The purpose of all the workshops and conversations is for cops and kids to share their stories, their perspectives, their experiences for the one side to understand the role and position of the other. Very frequently cops are encountered with extreme unjustified hatred from kids in such neighborhoods, who also tend to forget that no father likes to stay up all night roaming at the streets, working overtime, not having holidays to spend with his family in order to constantly keep an eye out for our own safety. On the other hand, cops can sometimes be arbitrary and violent with arresting kids just by suspicions raised by their neighbors. The Cops and Kids in NY project gives those people the opportunity to have open conversations, share their thoughts and reactions, and work on bettering their understanding and their relationships within their communities. It is definitely a remarkable initiative that I wish could also take place in my home country and city as well!

http://www.allstars.org/copsandkids

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Narrative vs Social Therapy presentation

July 27th, 2012

Today me and Lars, the danish graduate intern at the ESI from Copenhagen, were asked to give a short presentation on narrative and social therapy- their founders, how each is practiced, its effects, influences and limitations.

Me and Lars did a research on the topic and after reading on some articles and representative pieces, we gathered the information we needed and made a list of the most noteworthy things about each therapy practice- which I am also about to share with you here :)

(Because most of us- the interns and the staff who we were addressing to- were familiar enough with social therapy and its background, we gave a more emphasis on what narrative therapy is and how that differs from social therapy).

Social therapy is primarily an unscientific, non-empirical, group-oriented approach.  Unlike traditional therapy,  practitioners in social therapy relate to the group, rather than individuals, as the fundamental unit of development. Social therapy is also premised on an understanding of human beings as fundamentally performers. This is in contrast to more traditional forms of therapy that relate to and understand human beings through the lens of behavior. Social therapy shares family resemblances with narrative therapy and the postmodern therapies.

Narrative Therapy is a form of psychotherapy using narrative. It was initially developed during the 1970s and 1980s, largely by Australian Michael White and his friend and colleague, David Epston. (here we must draw a distinction that narrative therapy is not the same as narrative psychology which is more of a conceptual approach examining the ”storied nature of human conduct” or in other words how human beings deal with experience by constructing stories and listening to the stories of others.) In narrative therapy  narrative therapists ask questions to generate experientially vivid descriptions of life events that are not currently included in the plot of the problematic story. The therapists’ goal in that case is to ‘externalize’ the problem from the patient- “The person is not the problem, the problem is the problem.” In other words, what the therapist and the client are trying to do is approach the problem as not something inherent to the person, but create a new perspective and relation to it, by creating new meaning and stories that are not “problem-saturated”. This externalization or objectification of a problem makes it easier to investigate and evaluate the problem’s influences.

~The term “narrative” reflects the multi-storied nature of our identities and related meanings. In particular, re-authoring conversations about values and re-membering conversations about key influential people are powerful ways for people to reclaim their lives from problems. In the end, narrative conversations help people clarify for themselves an alternate direction in life to that of the problem, one that comprises a person’s values, hopes, and life commitments.~

What both narrative and social therapy have in common is the creation of new meaning through investigative and reflective conversations with the patients. In both therapies, the concept of ‘performance’ seems to play a crucial role, since the patients are called to act as performers of their lives, select new paths and directions that would not include the problem-focus-aspect. However, some of the differences that we noted are that social therapy focuses on the very diverse group as a unit of development, which further follows the individual, whereas narrative therapy focuses on the individual.

Some of the challenges and criticisms of both therapy practices include that  narrative therapy has not been validated scientifically as an effective, curative method- lack of research material which can support its claims of efficacy. Others have criticized narrative therapy for failing to acknowledge that the individual Narrative therapist may bring personal opinions and biases into the therapy session. Furthermore, Mike Bardi challenges the assumption that Social Therapy is strictly Group Therapy. He argues that “Social Therapy” is more about “empowering people to help one another” and not a curative therapy for the individuals.

Either way, me and Lars were very intrigued with the pieces and videos we got to see and read, and really enjoyed our task! We certainly both believe that different sorts of therapies are more appropriate depending on the case, phobia or disorder the patient is facing, and cannot agree upon one being more effective or valid. Staff that attended our presentation shared their own personal experiences or stories from relatives that underwent either social or narrative therapy, and their stories definitely added more insight on how each practice feels like.

On a previous post I attached a link of a video on social therapy, and likewise, here is a video of an approximate idea of what narrative therapy is like.  Explore it :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxG–0q5_tg&feature=related

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Educational activities series (I & II)

July 21st, 2012

For the last month of the internship, every Friday the Institute holds a two hour session of educational activities, each time with a different person leading them, all of whom are volunteer members at the ESI. These events are what I love most about my internship! They are  very informative and  all of us enjoy  them to the fullest since we get to converse and exchange opinions on matters of high value.

Last Friday, the topic was on Philosophy, starting from the ancient Greek philosophy, and reaching the modern and post-modern philosophy currents. Chris Helm, who was leading the session wanted to inform us about the currents of thoughts that Fred Newman , the founder of the East Side Institute, and the rest of its members are mist influenced by. Through a long conversation between the interns and also Chris of course, we went over the differences that post-modern western philosophy ended up having compared to previously established currents, e.g. in post-modernism there is no ultimate universal truth or one specific, real way of reaching the truth; each one of us has their subjective, own way of experiencing reality, and we acknowledge that is a different experience for everyone. What everyone sees, lives and perceives is through their own lenses, and no one can enforce a universal reality.

As Chris pointed out, Fred Newman and the people working for the Institute strongly support ideas from Vygotsky, Karl Max’s social theory, and Wittgenstein. They mostly care about what these people have to say regarding human development and how that occurs. I am sure I have talked more extensively about it in one of my first posts, where reading about Vygotsky and Wittgenstein was part of my clinical training in social therapy. During this session we mostly focused on the relation between thought and language that Vygotsky thoroughly examines. Here I cite a some parts of his beliefs: “ Vygotsky described inner speech as being qualitatively different from normal (external) speech. Although Vygotsky believed inner speech developed from external speech via a gradual process of internalization, with younger children only really able to “think out loud,” he claimed that in its mature form inner speech would be unintelligible to anyone except the thinker, and would not resemble spoken language as we know it (in particular, being greatly compressed). Hence, thought itself develops socially.”  Regarding Vyhotsky’s theory on development he believed that learning always precedes development in the ZPD (zone of proximal development , which is is Vygotsky’s term for the range of tasks that a child can complete). In other words, through the assistance of a more capable person, a child is able to learn skills or aspects of a skill that go beyond the child’s actual developmental or maturational level. Therefore, development always follows the child’s potential to learn. In this sense, the ZPD provides a prospective view of cognitive development, as opposed to a retrospective view that characterizes development in terms of a child’s independent capabilities.

The conversation widened up and went to all different directions in terms of how we measure that and how that evolves, as all talks on philosophy usually go ;P  It certainly gave us a great perspective though on how educators and therapists at the ESI see development and urge people to challenge themselves and achieve that development that Vygotsky and Wittgenstein talk about.

Yesterday’s session was with Christine LaCerva, who I think is a great social therapist, who also works in children therapy. Christine stayed with us for two hours talking more about social therapy, which is the main practice ESI endorses.  Social therapy is hard to understand and grasp its effects, unless you witness how it is done (so I consider myself lucky in that since I had the change to observe a group therapy session in May :) ). The other interns seemed more confused and with a lot of questions for Christine. The fact that Christine is extremely articulate helped a lot in that case, and all of us were very satisfied at the end of the session since more things on the way it is conducted were cleared out. In post-session talks among us, we all agreed that these activities give us great insight on the underlying beliefs that the Institute holds and that such conversations help us better understand the history of the Institute, where its people come from, and also their goals and role in the community of the city. Looking forward to the next session in two weeks from now! :)

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American-Rwandan performance collaborations on PTW!

July 20th, 2012

As time comes closer and we produce more and more blasts for our attendees and performers for PTW 2012, even more exciting collaborations come up to share with you! two of them are the American-Rwandan theater collaborations that are gonna be presenting on crucial issues from Rwandan history!

Children of Killers

Award winning playwright Katori Hall’s Children of Killers will be featured as an evening performance on Friday and Saturday, October 5 and 6. Directed by Emily Mendelson, who has directed and created devised plays in both Rwanda and Uganda, the play is produced by the Castillo Theatre in conjunction with its youth theatre, Youth Onstage!

Children of Killers is about a group of teenage friends in a village in Rwanda 15 years after the genocide. Many of their fathers are being released from prison where they have been serving time for their roles in the mass killings of 800,000 of their Tutsi neighbors. How are the young people – who have never met their fathers – going to deal with their return and how are they going to live with, move beyond or transform their blood soaked legacy?
Originally commissioned by the National Theatre in London and inspired by a trip to Rwanda in 2009 where Hall attended a genocide studies conference and spoke with victims and perpetrators of the genocide, Children of Killers was workshopped by Hall and National Theatre director Anthony Banks with Youth Onstage! students in 2010. It has gone on to receive eight productions in Britain and 40 productions in Portugal. This will be its American premiere!

Rwanda: Drama and Theatre Education for Reconciliation and Development

Recently returned from a summer of performance activism in Rwanda, students in the Applied Theatre M.A. Program at the City University of New York (CUNY), will report on their multi-year project, “Rwanda: Drama and Theatre Education for Reconciliation and Development.” The program brings teachers and students from the CUNY Applied Theatre Program to Rwanda to assist students and teachers there in acquiring applied theatre skills.

Led by Helen White (co-developer of the Program with Chris Vine), the group will share their work, focusing on the challenges of cross-cultural collaboration. White is also the award-winning director of the CAT Youth Theatre at the Creative Arts Team. CAT has performed at the United Nations, International Festivals, and International and National conferences, working with other youth theatres from Taiwan, Germany, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Zambia, India, Palestine, Nepal, Turkey, Brazil, and Poland.

soon I will be posting about  more of the upcoming performances!! stay tuned!

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Video on Social Therapy & Creating

July 13th, 2012

Here is a video I didn’t know that existed on youtube! For anyone that is interested in getting a more concrete idea of what my posts are explaining and analyzing. It’s very insightful and all the people talking on the video are extremely inspiring and endlessly motivating!! 1:50 is Hugh Polk, the psychotherapist that was leading our online class.

Social Therapy Video – On the East Side Institute

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Online Class on Social Therapy: “The art of building the group”

July 13th, 2012

Hello there! I’m sorry it’s been a while since my last post, but I have been caught up with a lot of work for the internship the past two weeks. As I have mentioned before I love how versatile my internship is since we have the opportunity to participate in a lot of different activities , apart from the office work, outreach and filing.

So for the past month I have been attending an online course on Social Therapy, under the title of “The art of building the group”. The East Side Institute offers a lot of such online courses for people who want to get introduced to social therapy and its practices, but are not from New York. The online classes are set up in a very intriguing way and there are participants from every part of the world. Every participant signs up in the online group and once a week the person leading the class (teacher) assigns readings and assignments from the same book that all of us have purchased in advance. After everyone reads the related passages, they are asked to share their impressions/thoughts/questions in a blog-post form that every other participant has access to whenever he/she wants. People feel free to comment on each other posts, share their thoughts, ask for clarifications, expand on conversations and continue a back and forth ongoing discussion on the readings and beyond. Twice a week the teacher-who in our case is a social therapist- reads all the comments, responds to questions raised, and provokes with even more questions that the rest of us are asked to figure out.

This is the second online class I attended-the first one was earlier this year when I first found out about the Institute and I wanted to get introduced to Social Therapeutics. Overall the class was very thought-provoking and gave us all great insight of the way social therapists try to create an environment between the patients, where they can feel comfortable sharing their problems and worries. At the beginning I must confess it sounded very weird to me, since in Greece therapy (whether is individual or in groups) is not very common, unless the person is heavily suffering emotionally and has a lot of issues in his/her personal life and needs assistance. However, I quickly found out that this is not the case in New York and therapy is a very common practice, even among kids. People feel comfortable in just seeing someone to discuss their situations and life states with, even if they are not necessarily seeking for advice. I guess that also has to do with the different cultures, upbringing and paces of life when you are comparing an averagely big city in Greece and New York city :P

Anyway, let me return to some moments during our conversations in the online class to see what I am talking about and the sides of therapy that we touch while questioning and investigating. This an abstract from a post that a fellow student posted about her experience with social therapy;

“What I’m realizing now, is that while individual therapy forced me to speak, it was only a half step.  I would imagine that its’ harder to begin speaking in group therapy about yourself if you are shy.  But making that group jump first, rather than talking to a therapist alone and then taking your thoughts out into the world, means seeing the responses of a group to your feelings from the start. Group therapy is more realistic. This setting is more similar to the settings one may encounter outside of the group session, with reactions from friends and family to personal struggles. “

I think that here she provides a profound distinction/difference thanks to her personal experience of both types of therapy, and she underlies that social therapy might be more helpful  than individual therapy in cases, since its socially contextualized, built and developed by other human beings. That’s especially important when people struggle with certain negative personality characteristics and reactions they have towards other people around them.

Here is a very striking quite by Fred Newman the write of the Psychological Investigations book that the readings were taken from in his attempt to explain why social therapy is beneficial for those who undergo it.

“We’ve lost a sense of our sociality in favor of the notion of the individual. And while this was a huge, progressive advance during the Enlightenment, the fetishization of the individual over the last couple of hundred years has deprived us of a sense of sociality, of community, of history, of spiritual location. I think that is at the root of what is sometimes identified as the great moral crisis in the world. I don’t think it’s the case that people are bad people now and they used to be good people. I think what has been the case is that the loss of our sense of sociality in this age of the individualized entity has been a profound sociocultural change. No small part of social therapy is to help people modestly regain that sense because the process of regaining that sense is emotionally curative.”

Here Fred Newman is underlying the gradual focus on individuality and the importance that each self has gained, disregarding and ignoring other human beings.  In social therapy, Fred is not ignoring or downplaying the individuals who make up a group.  What he’s saying is that the individuals who make up groups (and that’s all of us) aren’t socialized to experience themselves as part of a group-building process–they tend to respond exclusively as individuals.  Social therapists in their work try to re-initiate a sense of oneself as part of the group process, inseparable from it.  That’s hard to do in a culture which is so focused on the fundamentality of the individual. Fred believes that the process of re-discovering our sociability and all the things people can discover and create together – even if they look/sound meaningless to someone else- can be emotionally curative and supportive to the individuals that participate in the process.

Lastly, I would like to share a response from Hugh Polk who was leading the class, and which I found really helpful and well-articulated, since I still find it very hard to to use abstract psychological phrases and terms without slightly altering what I initially meant to say :P

“The group is an ongoing process, a social activity.  The individual is part of and a shaper of that process.   Ironically we discover who we are as individuals though participating in groups—it’s in that activity that we discover how we’re similar to other people and how we’re different.  If you are just talking to yourself or people who are “just like you” (whatever that might mean), you don’t learn much about yourself.  So building groups is how we develop and grow as individuals.  Social therapy is very pro-individual growth—but that is inseparable from group growth.  What grows is the group and the individuals as inseparable from the group who then take that growth with them into other groups.
I think the last sentence summarizes it all for me, since this is the most important piece I learnt from the way that group therapy can be curative and self-enhancing- in  a way  and approach that is far from self-centered and self-inclusive, rather group and people-inclusive.
:)
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So What’s Performing The World?

June 30th, 2012

As work and preparation for Performing the World 2012 get broader and broader, the outreach to the people becomes more frequent and extensive, it’s time to officially introduce this cool conference to my blog and you my readers!

Performing the World is an international festival/conference that takes place every 2 years and promotes social activism, therapy and community building through performing arts. It was born back in 2000 when Lois Holzman and Fred Newman “discovered” performance, and its essential role in human development and learning as key to the therapeutic, educational and community-organizing work of the East Side Institute and its broader community. Conversations between the two founders, Ken and Mary Gergen, leading social-constructionist psychologists who themselves were turning toward performance, particularly by experimenting with new performatory modes of presenting research and scholarship, and a joint performatory symposium given at the American Psychological Association by Fred and Lois, encouraged them to create something bigger regarding performance and something beyond just their community. Lois had already met dozens of people who were using performance to help people and communities grow and create positive social change, and thus, she and Fred Newman decided to reach out to people who use these performatory practices—from community organizers to business people, from artists to social workers, from therapists to teachers.

The first Performing the World conference was held in October 2001, just a few weeks after 9/11. There have been five PTWs since then. The last two—in 2008 and 2010—were held in New York City, bringing the conference to one of the most vibrant and diverse cultural centers of the world and partnering with the All Stars Project as co-sponsor. Performing the World 2010 was attended by over 500 peo­ple from dozens of coun­tries, and its theme was, “Can Per­for­mance Change the World?”  However, according to the organizers, the depth of the chal­lenges fac­ing human­ity two short years later have led the con­ven­ers of Per­form­ing the World to recast the ques­tion for the 2012 con­fer­ence as, “Can Per­for­mance  Save the World?”

In an era where dead­locked gov­ern­ments, pro­tracted wars, dys­func­tional edu­ca­tion sys­tems, and a deep­en­ing global eco­nomic cri­sis with no appar­ent solu­tion have become the norm, the activ­ity of per­for­mance (playing/pretending/creating), as an alter­na­tive to the cog­ni­tive– and/or faith-based “solu­tions” of tra­di­tional ide­ol­ogy, con­tin­ues to spread and invite more and more people to get to know, and embrace an alternative humanitarian approach to self and social growth. Hundreds of people responded to the 2012 Performing the World, and of them a hundred workshops, performances, demonstrations and panels were chosen to be showcased at this year’s International Conference that will be taking place on October 4-7.

I was very excited to be one of the first people to find out about this year’s amazing performers and their that they will be presenting. Here I share with you only a bit of the background of two international guests  & performers that caught my attention right away! :

Marcelo Bratke

He’s a world famous Brazilian pianist who has recorded music from all over the world and performed in the most prestigious concert halls. But what’s unique about this virtuoso is his outreach to Brazil’s favelas and rural villages to organize and train young people as musicians. In 2007 Bratke created Camerata Brasil, a classical orchestra of young people from impoverished areas who have no academic musical training, with the objective of giving them a chance of making a living through music. To date, Camerata Brasil has toured over 30 Brazilian cities and around the world, including New York’s Carnegie Hall. Marcelo Bratke will be sharing his work—and his music—at PTW this year.

Charles Rojzman

A renowned French social psychologist, author and international consultant, Rojzman is the founder of Transformational Social Therapy, which works with large groups (in the hundreds) of people to talk through the ethnic, religious or ideological hatred that has historically kept them in violent conflict. This work has taken him to most European countries, the United States, North Africa, Rwanda and Central and South America, and fostered institutional and social change in education, social work, criminal justice, conflict resolution and reconciliation. Rojzman is a prolific author (How to Live Togetheris an English translation of one of his books). His work has been featured in the documentaries, “Charles Rojzman, thérapeute social” and “Listening to the Police” an inside look at a workshop with French National Police trainers. At PTW Charles Rojzman will demonstrate his approach and share the breadth of the work of the Institut Charles Rojzman.

I really wish I could attend the conference because it just sounds like a unique opportunity to meet people from such multidisciplinary backgrounds, and get exposed to their different practices and impacts that follow them. It certainly is quite an ambiguous and abstract ideology speaking in psychological terms, that as far as I have unsderstood through my conversations with the directors, the importance of performance lies between “pretending” and the “fake it til you make it” belief. It is really remarkable to see how performance has  helped people to go through hard periods of their lives, boost their confidence and endurance, and alter themselves to a better person that they could only imagine that they could become. (All of this comes from people who affiliate with the Institute and its events and who have discovered performance and theater as a major way of helping their emotional pain that they experienced through loss or failures in previous years).  For a person like me, who is not that familiarized with theater or fine arts, a lot of the concepts and their actual practical applications might be hard to grasp at times, but I certainly admire the people who have tried and succeeded in doing that. I have always believed  that arts serve as a gateway from our inner selves, thoughts and worries- especially the moment we start creating something unique and new to the world, but I never actually considered its heavy importance in a more therapeutic/treatment-like way. I’m glad I can see the strong connection between the two now in a more coherent and structured way!

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An eventful week!

June 23rd, 2012

It’s been more than a week since the meeting with Dr. Fullani and the Brooklyn community and a lot of things have happened at the East Side Institute! First of all, I have to say that the whole team gets along greatly, we are all on the same page with all the tasks, and I’m really happy about that! We are 9 undergraduate student interns, all of us from different majors and minors, and recently two graduate students from Denmark also joined the team. All of us are assigned to different staff member supervisors and work with them individually on office hours which are usually Mondays and Tuesdays, along with the common big events that all of us get the chance to organize and attend.

This past week me and the rest of the 3 interns that work with me  and with the director of the internship had to compile a list of organizations, institutions and individuals who would be interested to join the International Conference of performing the World ’12  as I mentioned in my previous post , in October. After three days of research, talks, compiling and filing, we got 75 of them. Major criteria in our research was to find people that value performance as a very important factor in self-growth and development as a social species that we are, and who use it in their practices. The performers that we contacted  to invite to our conference ranged from choreographers and dance therapists, to improv and music therapists, to meditation and spirituals performers, to comedians, graffiti, and in general therapists and practitioners who use arts as a mean of self-expression, creation and development. Apart from the e-mailing outreaching we also had our first phone outreach, when we called people familiar with the East Side Institute either through its classes, its webinars, seminars or workshops to let them know about the conference, and to get the signed up in advance.

Apart from the office work we had some major events sponsored by the East Side Institute that was very lovely to attend. One of them was the graduation of the International Class of 2012, where you can see here: http://esicommunitynews.wordpress.com/ People from different ages, from places from Canada to India, just having a common passion and interest in human interactions joined the ESI international class to enrich their knowledge and practices in social therapy.  The  class was studying together for a year online, sharing readings, discussions and skype conferences and met up three times during the year in NYC to attend workshops and hands-on practice on social therapy. I was very happy to meet them personally and attend two of their classes, and being at their graduation was touching. From the little time that I got to spend with them,  I was truly impressed by  their  aspirations!

The following day after the graduation was the opening day of UX course opening day, which is the All Stars Project course schedule that I also introduced in my previous post, but you can also check out here:http://www.allstars.org/programs. The developement school for youth offers new courses this year, all for free, for poor- but only- kids that want to experiment, learn and try new things. Based both in Newark and West Manhattan , the All Stars offers workshops and classes in dance, theater, public speaking, drawing, music, and even computer animation! What was most noteworthy about the event is seeing young children stepping up on stage with no inhibition or fear and sharing how much they have gained after joining the All Stars, making new friends, and bonding with the youth community. The organization experiences a progressive growth and the programs sponsored by the All Stars Project are made possible through the generosity of more than 5,000 individuals, as well as hundreds of corporations and foundations. It is from places like this, that ignorance, poverty and dissatisfying life-styles can be radically changed. What’s more encouraging than seeing young children determined to take their lives on and improve them by learning and challenging themselves?

 

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