Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

The Tax Man Cometh

March 11th, 2011 · No Comments

Yesterday was my second day volunteering at Norwich Castle, and the theme of the day was the Ancient Romans and Iceni. This meant that the interpretors were dressed in togas or in plaid blankets with blue facepaint. I’m beginning to think that I won’t recognize them if I ever see them in street clothes. We had a group of about 120 five and six year-olds in yesterday, and like the previous week, they were divided into four rotations. When they came in for the day, two Romans and two Iceni tribewomen met them and explained the overarching issue that the kids should be focused on throughout their activities: is it fair that the Romans tax the Iceni?

I was able to observe some of the rotations in the morning, which was really great. The first activity that I sat in on was an exploration of life in an Iceni roundhouse using some props and drama. I was really impressed with how Pam, the interpretor, was able to keep all of the students interested and engaged. She explained to me later that the kids never really get to learn about the Iceni perspective in class because, well, history was written by the Romans and the Iceni didn’t leave any written accounts of themselves to counter the Roman accounts. So she had them talk about how life for an Iceni was different than life today and had them act out different jobs that would have been important in the tribe. She also explained to them that the Romans took half of everything the Iceni had as tax, and had them plan ways to thwart the Roman tax collector. By the end of the session, she had managed to develop some very strong Iceni loyalties amongst the students!

I followed this group to their rotation with “Brutus,” a Roman soldier, who talked the kids through what it was like to serve in the Roman army and showed them several weapons. He actually taught them the best places to stab someone, after making them promise that they wouldn’t use this knowledge on the playground. He kept it very lighthearted, but I was still kind of taken aback. What he didn’t bargain on, however, was the strong pro-Celtic sentiment that Pam had fostered in the previous rotation. As he was explaining how the Romans had conquered Britain, one little girl piped up and said, “Why couldn’t you have stayed in Rome? Why did you have to come take over our lands and charge us mean taxes?” Andy, the interpretor, was surprised, but started listing off all of the improvements that the Romans had made for the barbaric Celts, but this little girl was very persistent, telling him that he wasn’t listening to her and that no, the Celts were very civilized, thank you very much. Her argument later devolved into, “Well, you’re not a real Roman, because then you’d be dead!” After taking her through a quick lesson in British history and reminding her that she wasn’t a real Celt because she would also be dead, Andy said, “Listen, kids. Life’s not fair. But to make it more fair, get yourselves a sword.” To deter further Celtic uprisings, he then had the kids line up in formation and march around the museum screaming, “Left! Right!” in Latin (sinister and dexter, if you were wondering).

During the afternoon I helped out with the craft again, which was Iceni torc-making using wires and aluminum foil.

Image from the museum's digital collection, http://www.culturalmodes.norfolk.gov.uk/projects/img/imglib.asp?page=item&itemId=RB00679.JPG

This was a much less sticky craft than the Egyptian collars had been. After making their own torcs, the kids got to go explore the Iceni gallery in the museum. They all seemed to have a really good time. After the students left for the day, I spent the remainder of my time doing craft prep for future Roman and Egyptian days. Next week I’ll be at Strangers Hall to help out with a Tudor day. I’ve had a really good time so far and I think that the Learning Department does some great work.

Date: 10/3/2011

Time: 9:30-3:30, total of 12.5 hours

Supervisor: Daniel Pounds

Tags: 2010 Holly

Surveys, Dodgeball, and a Packet of Mayonnaise

March 10th, 2011 · No Comments

On my way to the New Hope Christian Centre this evening, I noticed a pub closed down. I did not remember seeing the boarded-up windows on my last journey, so I am pretty sure this happened some time this week. Whether due to local circumstances, the current economic situation nationally/worldwide, or simply bad business, it was a sad sight to see.

Upon arriving at the Centre, I was asked to fill out a basic survey for Community Action Norwich (the larger organization which the kid’s club is a part of) It asked simple questions about my feeling towards volunteering and programs I would like to see offered by the group. After filling out the form, I learned that the kids would be filling out a similar, simpler form that evening. The differences made me laugh, particularly how, while our form asked us to answer on a scale from strongly disagree to strongly disagree, their form asked them to answer on a scale from a very frowny face to a very smiley face. My first thought seeing this form was, “there is no way these kids are going to sit for two minutes and fill out this form, much less in a serious fashion.”

Well, I was wrong. The kids arrived, saw the forms, and started to fill them out almost immediately. One kid entered the room and said “I want to fill out a form.” In addition, it appeared that all the kids filled out the form seriously. I found this absolutely bizarre.

Even more bizarre was how chaotic they were after filling out the form. It was as if they used up all their attention spans on the form, and then felt they could just run around yelling and listening to any direction for the next hour. We attempted to play a game of dodgeball, but it devolved quickly. To make matters worse, Duane(the club leader) was not around for a good half-an-hour. Even when he arrived halfway through, the kids still were all over the place. No one was behaving incredibly poorly. However, they all seemed to be unable to concentrate on one thing for more than fifteen seconds.

Somehow, amidst this chaos, I had the longest conversation I have had with one of the kids yet, concerning life in America and what the different states are like. It was nice to actually be able to talk to one of the kids about something rather than just playing  a game, even if it was about something superficial.

After the kids had left and we cleaned up, we learned why Duane had been missing for so long. As it turns out, one of the kids, right before the club, threw a mayonnaise packet at a car thinking it would do nothing. The driver claimed it chipped the window, and thought it was a rock. Mistaking which kid did it, the driver took the wrong kid, locked him in his car so he could not get away, and called the cops. The other kid, happy he apparently got away with it, ran to get his friend’s mom and inform her that her son was locked in a stranger’s car. This was all happening right outside the Centre, so Duane came out to see what was going on. By the time the cops and the mom showed up, it was apparently quite a scene. Apparently everything was resolved, but it was quite an interesting story, particularly because it began with a packet of mayonnaise.

Volunteered on 10/03/2011

From 18:00-20:00

2 Hours: Total of 16 Hours

New Hope Christian Centre

Supervisor: Duane Elkins

Tags: 2010 Andrew

New Import: Capture the Flag

March 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

Well its been two weeks since I have volunteered at the New Hope Christian Center Youth Club. Last week, the kids in Lakenham had off from school, so club was canceled.

On my journey over to the centre, I thought two things:

1. This is the week we decided we were going to try capture the flag, a game that does not seem to be as big in UK.

2. Oh wait… it’s kind of cold outside… this could be… fun

So we did decide to try capture the flag, using two tea towels as flags. For the first few round we tried playing a simplified version of the game where each team hides their flag and goes and looks for the respective team’s flag without anyone tagging anyone. First team to find the other team’s flag wins. Given no one had ever played the game before, this seemed like a good move, and the kids seemed to have fun. One kid declared the game was boring when we first said we were playing (An interesting conclusion since he had never played) but was quite invested into finding the other team’s flag within seconds.

After two quick rounds of this simplified game, we switched to an altered version of the regular game. Now one could tag someone from the other team if they were on “your side” of the field. Instead of going to a jail or team base, as is custom, the kid had to freeze a la the game “stick in the mud” until someone from his or her team tagged him. This game went well for about ten minutes. At that point, all the kid’s attention spans kicked in and they began complaining that neither team was finding the flag. Clearly, they argued, someone cheated. Frustration ensued, but luckily at this point it was time for a snack break.

The centre was out of biscuits, but luckily the younger kids had been making pancakes in celebration of “Pancake Day” next week (celebrated at the beginning of Lent, and way bigger here than in the U.S., where there are variations of it) So we gave the older kids some of the pancakes. These were not real American pancakes of course, but rather those crepe-like things.

After break, the kids decided to play manhunt, as usual. Once again, this was quite successful. It was cold outside, but the kids did not seem to mind.

I am amazed none of the kids had ever played capture the flag before. The game was such an integral part of my childhood. I remember playing at least two or three times a week as a kid. Was it as big elsewhere in the United States? Anyone never play before? Is it a regional thing or a national thing?

Volunteered on 02/03/2011

From 18:00-20:00

2 Hours: Total of 14 Hours

New Hope Christian Centre

Supervisor: Duane Elkins

Tags: 2010 Andrew

Volunteering Episode VI: Return of the Kids

February 17th, 2011 · No Comments

So these titles have become increasingly pathetic. Luckily, this is the last week for them, as there are only six episodes of Star Wars.

When I arrived at the kid’s club tonight, Duane asked me how my LSAT test went. As you may know, I went to London this weekend to take it. The test center was Ironmongers Hall, built, as the name would suggest, as a meeting place for iron workers in the city. Ironmongers Hall might be the most amazing test center of all time. There were wood paneled walls, crown molding on the ceiling, stained glass windows, and portraits of royalty. The chairs each of us sat in were cherry wood stained and leather cushioned. It truly was an unbelievable place. Here’s a link if you wish to see more about the place, and below is a picture of one of the halls. However, I think neither do the building interior justice.

The Banqueting Hall. Click on image to view it full size.

Anyway, tonight’s kids’ club went fine. We decided to give out a chocolate bar again as a prize to the person who got the most points. I ran and got the candy right at the beginning, giving me a slightly different task than in weeks before. First, we played a game where all the kids sat in a circle with a designated number. When their number was called out, they had to run around the circle and sit back down before the other kid with their same number did the same. This interested everyone for about fifteen minutes.

The second game we played was the blindfold/pillow game from weeks past. This time, the kids voted me to be in the middle blindfolded, which was a first. I felt a little accepted. (However, they clearly picked me because I had glasses and figured this would put me at a disadvantage somehow, so only a little accepted 🙂 ) This entertained them for another half hour or so.

After this game we went outside and played manhunt, a classic. While every round ended in a shouting match about who cheated and whether or not someone got tagged, the kids seemed to enjoy it. By the sixth round or so(VERY quick games of manhunt) it was time for everyone to leave.

Next week there will not be a kid’s club because school is on half term break. Most kids around Norwich will have five days off from school next week. I find the more frequent breaks in the school calendar, resulting in a shorter summer, interesting. It’s approaching year round schooling, which I think would be a more effective way of doing things than having three whole months off every year where you forget everything. When I return, we will likely be playing capture the flag provided it does not rain. I was discussing the game with Duane (my childhood favorite) and he thought it might work. I will be interested in seeing how many of them are aware of the game, and if it’s as big in the UK as it is in the US.

Volunteered on 17/02/2011

From 18:00-20:00

2 Hours: Total of 12 Hours

New Hope Christian Centre

Supervisor: Duane Elkins

Tags: 2010 Andrew

Volunteering Episode V: The Games Strike Back

February 10th, 2011 · No Comments

Alright, these titles are making less and less sense.

Tonight was a good night at the kids’ club. I arrived and helped set up. Given it was raining outside, we were not going to play manhunt this evening (The subject of some grumbling from some of the kids). Rather we played another version of the blindfold/pillow game we had played in weeks past. This time, there were four beanbags the kids had to get around instead of two. This made it a little more difficult to get by the blindfolded person swinging the pillow (If this is not making sense, read my earlier blogs. If its still not making sense, sorry!)  Additionally, the kids could now score points not only when they were in the middle swinging the pillow, but also when the got the person swinging the pillow. Most importantly, there was a prize offered to the kid with the most points at the end of the evening. That prize? A huge Cadbury chocolate bar.

Cadbury Dairy Milk

Image obtained from: http://www.cadbury.co.uk/ourproducts/today/Pages/JS_bars.aspx?category=bars#dairymilk

So the kids arrived. They were unusually calm this week, and we were able to get the game started pretty fast. (This is without yet telling them about the prize, so I have no clue why this was the case). Before we began though, a bunch of them were playing with their cell phones. In keeping with the I-pod touch thing with last week, this baffles me. Why any kid should need a cell phone I don’t know. Also, these cell phones seemed pretty nice. I digress…

The game was a success, and we were able to play it the entire hour without any complaints from the kids (a first!). The one kid received the chocolate bar as his prize, and shared it with one of his friends.

As we cleaned up and set the room up for the following day, I heard about the early days of the kids club, back about a decade ago. Back then there were only three genuine helpers, compared to about 12 or so now. It was interesting to hear a quick run through of how the group has involved and grown. Claire, one of the leaders, pointed out that she had known some of these kids since they were infants and toddlers, and how weird it has been to watch them grow up. I had not thought about how long this club has been around, and how some of these kids have been coming there week after week their entire lives. Its amazing to think what an impact the club has had.

Volunteered on 10/02/2011

From 18:00-20:00

2 Hours: Total of 10 Hours

New Hope Christian Centre

Supervisor: Duane Elkins

Tags: 2010 Andrew

Volunteering Episode IV: The One That Should Have Been Called A New Hope Christian Centre

February 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

My time tonight helping out at the New Hope Christian Centre’s youth club was fairly ordinary. I arrived and waited for the kids to get there. Once they did, we played the game we had played in previous weeks, involving one of the kids blindfolded while trying to hit the other kids with a pillow as they ran by. (Makes more sense if you see it.) I found this kids’ club to be a little more chaotic than previous ones. We had quite a few more kids then normal, which made the level of volume throughout the evening considerably higher. After the kids got bored of the first game, we took a quick snack break and then headed outside to play a quick game of manhunt. By that time, the kids’ club was over. We then cleaned up the room and set it up for the following day.

While we were playing the first game, I noticed the one kid  was listening to an Ipod Touch as he ran around the room. First, I have to wonder why a thirteen year old needs an Ipod Touch to begin with. Second, the fact a kid coming the club had an Ipod Touch seems odd. Not out of the ordinary, mind you. I’ve volunteered with after-school clubs and the like in economically deprived areas before, and there always seems to be an odd prevalence of Ipods, Nintendo handhelds, expensive sneakers, and the like that just seem out of place. In fact, these kinds of things seem to be more prevalent in lower income areas than middle class ones. To see this trend in England as well confuses me yet again. To be fair, I do not this kid’s specific background. However, the Ipod brings up a lot of questions concerning how people in different economic situations choose to spend their money.

Before taking me back to the Village, Duane stopped by a family’s house with some food. I waited in the car a bit with his wife Claire, as he had told her he was going to read some Scripture and do a little prayer with them. I do not know the details of this visit, and felt uncomfortable asking questions for the sake of privacy. However, it was interesting to see another little way how the New Hope Christian Centre is interacting with the community, particularly in a way that is more overtly Christian than what I have experienced at the club. On the drive back, I thought about all the different little ways in which the Centre was probably making a difference.

Volunteered on 03/02/2011

From 18:00-20:00

2 Hours: Total of 8 Hours

New Hope Christian Centre

Supervisor: Duane Elkins

Tags: 2010 Andrew

Volunteering Episode III: Revenge of the Brits (?)

January 27th, 2011 · No Comments

Ok, so the Star Wars jokes as titles are getting stale quickly, and making less sense. I going to need to come up with a new idea in the near future.

As you may have realized, it was significantly colder outside than it has been in previous days. The temperature made the beginning of today’s walk to the Centre a little less fun than normal. Luckily, amazingly, Duane, the club’s leader, was stopped at an intersection at the same time I was walking up to it, cutting my journey in half. So I made it there a little early. This allowed me a chance to warm up and get a cup of coffee, of which my consumption has gone down dramatically from last semester. I also got talking to the son of one of the helpers, who must around eight, about the Lego Indiana Jones video game. For those of you that even only vague-ly know me, you will know that I was legitimately invested in this conversation about both the Lego video games series(ranging from Harry Potter to Star Wars) and the Indiana Jones trilogy (the fourth one doesn’t exist) It is comforting to know that those pop culture milestones I grew up with, and were around well before me, are still attracting the attention of the next generation in a different country.

Image obtained from http://indianajones.lego.com/en-US/videogame/default.aspx

Tonight’s club was much like last week’s club. We played dodgeball for the first half and the new game described last week for the last half hour. Once again, not much conversation to be had. Also once again, I do not think any of the kids were particularly interested in conversation. A small group of them had brought along Post It Notes at the beginning to write “Kick Me” on them and put them on people’s backs. I think they even realized how lame this was about a minute in, so it didn’t cause any real problem. All in all, it was an average night.

One thing that did catch my attention this week was when one kid initially refused to play anything. He was told that he could leave if he wanted to, and in typical 11/12-year-old fashion he went “I will leave then,” took a step in the one direction, and then changed his mind and joined the game. There was not much to this moment, but it did get me thinking, much along the same lines as last week . The kid COULD leave anytime he wants, as he is not there as a result of anyone making him be there, and if he were not there he would simply be playing in the town without anyone seemingly knowing where he was. It brings to mind how potentially little structure is in some of their lives, that they at the age of 11 could go wherever they pleased on a Thursday night.  It also makes you realize the sense of community this one-hour-a-week club brings to them. Had he left, all of his friends would have still been at the club playing dodgeball. This fact is probably what prevented him from leaving. While this is way more thought than he gave it, its interesting to think that, in some way, he chose to be part of the community rather than play the game he wanted.

Volunteered on 27/01/2011

From 18:00-20:00

2 Hours: Total of 6 Hours

New Hope Christian Centre

Supervisor: Duane Elkins

Tags: 2010 Andrew

Volunteering Episode II: Attack of the Dodgeballs

January 20th, 2011 · No Comments

My venture to get to the New Hope Christian Centre is about an hour in length. After riding the bus from campus center to Chapelfield Road at the start of town, I walk up the road past the Sainsbury’s. (As an aside, the Sainsbury’s, located only a minute’s walk from the first bus stop in town, only came to my attention on my first trip to the club. It comes highly recommended for your grocery needs.) I keep walking that road for a good five minutes, then make a right and walk another fifteen-twenty minutes though a neighborhood area of Lakenham. It’s an area of Norwich I never would have visited otherwise, and makes me realize how much more there is to explore in the city area. As this is around 6:00, it is always dark out by the time I begin walking. Most of my trek is fairly well lit, but the last five minutes or so of the walk, after I cross under a bridge, is in what feels like the middle of nowhere. There are a few houses to the left, but no lights ever seem to be on. It’s always very eerie to me, and I find it hard to believe that I’m within walking distance of a decently large city area when I arrive at the Centre. If you want to see the actual details of my journey, you can click on the link here.

I arrived about a half-hour before the kids got there. Duane, the leader, ran some new ideas for games to play by me and one of the other helpers. The game we decided upon involved one kid standing in the middle blind-folded, holding a pillow. The other kids would try and run past him/her without getting hit by the pillow. Last person standing wins. Since it involved hitting and running, it was a huge success. Of course, this was played after everyone’s favorite: dodgeball. Given the  dimensions of the room in which its played, only one ball is used. This makes it fairly easy to track the action and get out of the way, but somehow the game moves quickly and the kids seem to enjoy it. We have played this both weeks I have been back, and it seems to be the new favorite. It will be interesting to see how long they like it…

As I believe I mentioned in my previous blog, another student, Andrew Barron, volunteered at the New Hope Christian Centre last year. Looking back on his posts, it is a little hard to believe this is the same Kid’s Club I attend. Andrew(other Andrew, have not begun speaking in the third person…) talks about dramatically bad behavior problems and little control. While I would not claim things have been perfect, the atmosphere sure seems to be calmer than what he describes. Games have a clear order to them, and the kids generally follow that order. One kid was kicked out this week after a few warnings, but it was for behavior that sounds like the average kid during Andrew’s time at the Centre. There are a couple possible reasons for this. One: The Centre has decided to lower the age allowed at the Club. Two: It is a different group of kids. Three: The Centre now has another year under their belt doing the club. Either way, the evening is much more together than Andrew describes.

After the kids left and we started putting away tables and setting up chairs for the next day, two things were on my mind. One was a regret that we did not do more than play games with the kids. Honestly, given the kids not much else could be done. It’s not like you can sit a ten-year old down and have a conversation about life when there’s the option of dodgeball. However, I still wish we could do a bit more than just play games that I feel they would play anyway. Which brings me to my second thought: why are these kids coming? They enjoy the games, but I can’t help but think they play them elsewhere. We give out a few biscuits in between, but I hardly think that’s THAT much incentive to come. One can certainly delve into ideas about them wanting structure and the like, but I don’t know if that’s it. This is a question I have yet to answer, and hope to come to some conclusions as the semester goes on.

Volunteered on 20/01/2011

From 18:00-20:00

2 Hours: Total of 4 Hours

New Hope Christian Centre

Supervisor: Duane Elkins

Tags: 2010 Andrew

Volunteering Episode I: A New Hope Christian Centre

January 14th, 2011 · No Comments

Picture obtained from: http://www.yourlocalweb.co.uk/images/pictures/17/13/new-hope-christian-centre-norwich-168780.jpg

After arriving in Norwich last semester and settling into the routine of classes, I found myself looking for something to do in the surrounding community. Upon seeing the list of places where student had volunteered the previous year, I was intrigued by the opportunities presented by the New Hope Christian Centre Youth Club. At the time, I knew I wanted to write a paper about some aspect of the National Curriculum, and this seemed like an opportunity to work with kids whose day to day classes were affected by the program. Also, the religious nature of the organization, as it is run through a local Norwich church, made it seem like an ideal fit. After talking to Duane Elkins, the leader of the youth club who also serves as pastor for the New Hope Christian Centre and as a LEA appointed school governor at the nearby Lakenham Primary School, I knew that the club would be a great volunteer opportunity.

The New Hope Christian Centre Youth Club is run on Thursday nights within the church of the same name, located in an area of Norwich called Lakenham. Lakenham is an impoverished area suffering from high illiteracy rates, crime and other issues. Noticing these problems in their community, Duane and his church have been working for years to reach out and provide support in any way they can. The youth club is part of a larger organization started by the church known as Community Action Norwich. For a little over ten years, Community Action Norwich has been working to serve the community though different community clubs, lunches, literacy programs, classes and the like. The group has worked to make strong connections with those in Lakenham and make a difference in people’s daily lives.

As a branch of Community Action Norwich, the youth club  focuses on kids in Lakenham, aged from 5 to 12. Every Thursday,evening  the church opens its door for arts and crafts, dodgeball, ping-pong, and other games and activities. The goal is to give the kids a healthy community to connect with, provide a little bit of structure, and also give them a place to be instead of the streets. As a volunteer there, I help with set up, play with the kids during the club, and then clean up afterwards.

As a Christian organisation, the group is motivated by faith to help address the issues seen in the community. The primary goal of the church is to serve and reach out in the hopes of creating relationships. From those relationships, they hope questions concerning faith and Christianity will present themselves, and their faith can be shared through these organic opportunities. However, their first goal is to help out the immediate apparent needs in the community as they feel the Gospel calls them to do. It is very much the “preach the Gospel, if necessary use words” approach. As someone who is very passionate about their faith and is interested in both how to share that and how to use that in service opportunities, it will be interesting to observe how the church and Community Action Norwich work in the area, and particularly if there are any differences to their approach than my experiences in the United States. Duane is originally from Texas, so it has been and will continue to be interesting to get his perspective on British culture as a Christian.

I am looking forward to continuing this volunteer experience as a way to reach out to the community and learn about Christianity, education, and poverty in the UK on a very micro level. I will tell you more about my experiences during the club in my future blogs!

To learn more about the church and various programs it runs, click here.

Click here to see information about Community Action Norwich.

Volunteered on 13/01/2011

From 18:00-20:00

2 Hours

New Hope Christian Centre

Supervisor: Duane Elkins

Tags: 2010 Andrew

Wednesday Club: Art, Bingo and Disco

May 19th, 2010 · No Comments

In this blog I want to describe my experience at Wednesday Club, a weekly space provided by BUILD for over 60 adults with learning difficulties for social, learning and leisure activities. For two hours each Wednesday, I, along with other volunteers and clients with learning disabilities participated in bingo nights, arts and crafts, disco, and life-skills learning activities.

For my first visit to the Wednesday Club I arrived early in order to get acquainted with the staff who set up the space every Wednesday. Upon meeting the director of the Wednesday Club, who was both friendly and suave, I felt at ease. Being introduced to the rest of the staff, I quickly learned that many of them had learning disabilities but by being involved with the program for years they ‘climbed the ladder’ from being clients to earning staff positions. Seeing a new comer, some of them were hesitant and shy, maybe because I was holding a black folder with the research questions or I sat in the middle of the room observing their set up process. However, others quickly approached me, introduced themselves, and proudly shared what their responsibilities are and how long they’ve been involved with BUILD. They assured me that although it was calm at 6, by 7 PM the room will be filled with people and it gets quite hectic. As volunteers began arriving, I would introduce myself explaining why I was there and my goal for the research project and if I could interview them at one point in the evening. The first evening, the rooms were used for Disco, from which the songs of the 70’s and 80’s were blasting from the speakers, Art workshop, which walls were decorated in very impressive art of the clients, and a general room where volunteers and the clients could interact, drink a cup of tea or coffee, play a game or two. By 7 PM, the first floor and the three rooms of the Princes Street United Reformed Church filled with people, checking in, purchasing Bingo tickets, pouring themselves drinks and making decisions as to what room they would retreat to. The music lovers and dancers quickly retreated to the Disco room, singing to Jackson 5 songs, while the artists retreated to the painting room, showing me the drawings they previously completed and the current projects they were working on.

Although I was able to complete a few interviews with the volunteers that night, which was my reason for being there , I quickly became interested and infatuated with the atmosphere at the Wednesday Club. The excitement and the fulfillment that all of the individuals gained from being involved seemed unattainable anywhere else. The space provided an opportunity for both groups involved to break down social stigmas and relax, and enjoy themselves by furthering their social and artistic skills. From the interviews completed, it is clear that people keep coming back for years for multiple reasons. Whether it is to continue their involvement in the community, gain more experiences working with adults with learning disabilities, or just have fun, both volunteers and clients had several gifts to share and certain goals to fulfill. The Wednesday Club has been a perfect example of what local organizations offer to individuals with learning disabilities that the government and public organizations can not. The focus on relationships and activities that can promote several improvements in parties involved are successful which explains the passion from the staff and the volunteers. Wednesday Club which has been active for the past 43 years is a true success.

Tags: Jeyla