Newly Funded Changemakers Initiatives
This fall the Changemakers committee is happy to award funding to several student initiatives:
The Magnolia Avenue Elementary Beautification Project
This beautification project began with one collaboratively designed mural in which elementary school students and Pitzer art majors worked together to complete a mural on one of the vandalized walls of the Magnolia Ave. Elementary School. After this first chapter was completed, Pitzer students and Magnolia Elementary school staff worked to develop the next phase of this project, the “Community Identity and Pride Mural Project”. With local artist and community collaboration, Pitzer students, Magnolia Ave Elementary students and staff, and local high schoolers worked together to create a mural design contest to paint over graffiti-ed walls of the elementary school. Four high schoolers’ designs were selected by a committee and the community worked together to move these designs from ideas on paper to walls covered in artful paint.
Changemakers contributed to a 5-C funded event hosted by CAPAS (the Center for Asian Pacific American Students). Held on October 29, 2009, Fil-I-Am was a hip hop concert designed as a unified effort to raise awareness and money for disaster relief efforts. This event served as a benefit show to aid the Filipino Red Cross in helping the areas affected by Typhoon Ketsana, also known as Typhoon Ondoy. This typhoon, which occurred less than a month ago on September 26, wreaked havoc on the Philippines. This storm was more powerful than Hurricane Katrina, and was extremely destructive to the population.
Tutors for a Cause
Changemakers funded a proposal for ongoing programmatic funds for Tutors for a Cause. Tutors for a Cause is a student run tutoring and mentoring program whose objective is to serve underprivileged children of our community. The group was started in 2007 in response to requests from our dining hall staff to help their children with schoolwork, which the parents were unable to help with. There was such a large need for this that founder Nancy Murillo realized she could not do it on her own and envisioned a program in which Pitzer students would participate with their individual abilities. Since then the group has continued to provide this service and has grown in its capacities and activities.
Tutors for a Cause is a bridge between Pitzer College and the local community through which both sides benefit. The children who have been participating in our program have, according to their teachers and parents, improved in their schoolwork. They also benefit by getting to know college students, getting to see what college is like, and realizing that they to can go to college. Likewise, Pitzer students benefit from their participation in multiple ways as well. Many of the Pitzer students participating in our program intend to be educators and through their participation in Tutors for a Cause they are gaining valuable experience in this field. Another advantage is that, by working with children of our dining hall staff, Pitzer students are able to create a personal and meaningful relationship with members of our dining hall staff who work hard for us everyday, yet for the most part remain nameless faces to the students who they serve.
Pitzer-New Orleans Brigade
The Pitzer College New Orleans Brigade in conjunction with Wesleyan University and Brooklyn Collegewill focus on skill building and community organizing as well as building an inter-state and inter-college connection. The trip will be a 9-day community organizing experience from January 7-17th, 2010 wherein 10 students will travel to New Orleans to assist in reconstruction with lowernine.org, urban farming with School at Blair Grocery, and community organizing with a multitude of different groups working in the area to mobilize local residents. The students will participate in experiential learning workshops that directly connect to their everyday organizing, reconstruction and farming work. Changemakers was able to assist in funding a small aspect of this initiative, providing some travel funds for two local high school Ohlone American Indian youth to join the brigade and some post-trip funds to host workshops on campus to bring this experience and learning back to the campus and local community.
Poetry and Public Space
Changemakers awarded Professor Brent Armendinger a course enhancement stipend for his new course, English 61 Poetry and Public Space. This course offered a unique approach to the study and process of finding/making poetry outside the walls of the classroom. Students wrote in public, set up collaborative poetry stations, and reflected on community-based experiences through poetry. This course explored the relationship between poetry, documentary, activism, and the boundaries between public and private space in a unique and inventive way. Click here to view an example of their work.