Celebrating Wyandanch Youth: High School Students Rise Up to the Occasion!

The visuals of what appeared to be a whirlwind workshop experience at the Wyandanch Public Library yesterday, speaks volumes of the impression I walked away with. While I believe the photos adequately depict the atmosphere and experience at the library, I feel compelled to express the joy and excitement I felt as I worked with a group of students who were ‘hungry’ to learn new techniques and new ways of expressing themselves. This point needs to be made because I find it contrary to popular belief that high school students don’t want to be bothered at the end of the day – after ‘doing’ school especially by people they are not familiar with.

I could not have wished for a better group of participants who kept me on my toes as they went through the arduous and sometimes frustrating process textile designers go through to put their point across.

Here are the sentiments which  did not show up in the previously published post:

Since, I cannot in good conscience consider the workshop participants’ comportment and commitment to the task at hand a mere coincidence, I must thank the good villagers of Wyandanch and give them due credit for the effective role they collectively play in the lives of our youth. Kudos to the parents and caring community members, the Wyandanch library director who stopped by for a pre-workshop chat, the Youth Program Coordinator and library staff who pitched in to make this a wonderful experience for all, and the leadership of the Wyandanch High School who undoubtedly foster a sense of discipline in their students. Keep it up!

 

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In Memory of the Dearly Departed: Hand-Stamped inspiration from the Ghanaian Adinkra Cloth traditionally worn by royalty. The color scheme of this handcrafted cloth determines its use-as a mourning cloth or on festive occasions.

 

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Participants at work with inspiration from authentic Ghanaian Adinkra Cloth displayed on table

 

 

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To request My Time Has Come Program workshops for your library, school or community organization, please contact us by filling out our website request form or, email the teaching artist directly.  mytimehascomelogodonate

My Time Has Come Program

Promotes tolerance to racial, cultural, ethnic and generational differences.

Fosters a sense of belonging, accomplishment and pride gained from the creation of well executed culturally inspired works of art.

Develops skills in the use of hand-crafted textile designs, contemporary and multi-cultural visual arts techniques.

Happy New Year: Thank Your For Your Contribution to The Lessons of My Life

Please accept my sincerest wishes for an eventful, productive and meaningful 2015. I wish you all the health and prosperity that you may wish for yourself. It is also my hope that as you reach out for a brand new canvas of life’s experiences in 2015, you will not neglect to include in your supplies box, the tools of 2014 that you used to positively affect your life and that of the people around you. 

Go For It In 2015 by Madona Cole-Lacy

Along with the aforementioned tools of healthy engagement, we must employ the all-too-often evasive tools of self-examination and self-engagement! This honest conversation we hold with ourselves will, undoubtedly, help us examine our missteps, our misspeaks and our follies which we sometimes unwittingly have used to damage, or outright kill, the spirit of people who have looked up to us for guidance, support, leadership, emotional security, or even a simple connection in times of emotional need.

If this is beginning to look like a list of tools in its own right, it is because it certainly is. I suspect there are as many who would willingly take on this self-examination, as there are those who are not quite prepared to take this journey as yet. For those of us who are not quite there yet, the good news is that when we are ready, this process will cost us nothing. Thankfully, it begins and ends with us, and can be turned on when we are truly ready to take the leap.

Another related move that is necessary for the actualization of all the wonderful wishes that have been sent our way, is for us to develop heightened and renewed awareness of how to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Allow me to share some suggestions that might help this process along.

Let us aspire …

1. To eliminate the tendency to bully, arm-wrestle or indoctrinate those we regard as highly susceptible to our manipulative ways. This insecurity-based modality makes us a perpetual target, robs others of the joy of celebrating us and sends the wrong message to our children.

2. To refrain from being dismissive of people we believe have “nothing of consequence” to offer us. For this says more about our ineptness and our inability to grasp the concept that everyone matters, and that people are placed in our lives to help us grow and see life from a fresh and healthy perspective. This gift is simply priceless – everyone grows, and everyone wins!

3. To operate in a manner devoid of the mind games vindictive people play to get “even”. There are other effective ways to make our feelings known that will earn us much respect – even in the eyes of our enemies. Out with the ugliness of organizational, institutional, community and family thuggery! Civility always wins!

4. To refrain from the thinking that racism and discrimination will go away without any effort on our part. We must try to avoid sending poison darts at anyone – our own kind included. It cannot be disputed that some of us project hatred and resentment toward others because we can’t be bothered to relate to the common thread that runs through the fabric of mankind.  In some instances, all will be well as long as “they know their place” in the restrictive mould we have crafted for them. Also, have you heard? Tokenism is on its last leg. Let us be the first to eradicate this poisonous self-esteem buster, and make sincerity-in-engagement the new normal, replacing tokenism with full inclusion based on equal opportunity.

5. To gain a full understanding of why staying on the ground when “life” knocks us down, is not and never will be a viable option. Let us not take our innate ability to pick ourselves up off the ground lightly, for we must remind ourselves that there would be no talk of “knocking us down” if we were naturally meant to stay on the ground.

6. To operate with the awareness that there is no justification for the perpetration or tolerance of insensitivity and rudeness. We can always take the high road and find a way to say or do something that makes a positive contribution to our legacy.

7. To seek professional help if all this looks like jargon to us. Otherwise, let us strive towards defining and re-defining ourselves with a promise to touch the life of someone – anyone – we believe has “nothing of consequence” to offer us in return. We can make this a positive move towards receptivity, which should open our hearts and minds wide enough to allow for the manifestation of all the fantastic wishes and prayers we have been showered with this new year.

I conclude with a prayer that people from around the world will keep in the forefront of their minds the thinking that true legacy-building has more to do with the exceptional ways we have related to humanity, and less to do with the material wealth we leave behind. Material wealth is disposable. Unhealthy family, institutional and community dynamics can only result in destructive and unwholesome legacies!

The legacy I speak of consoles us and give us strength to go on when our loved ones depart from this world. It compels us to follow the footsteps of those who have touched hearts and minds in their quest for excellence and altruism. As my father’s soul rests in peace (1921-2014), I promise to do my utmost to uphold his rich and admirable legacy. Even as I miss him so much, I am consoled by the major contribution he has made to the lessons of my life!

Again, I wish you a Happy New Year. Please do not hesitate to share with me the details of how you incorporate these tools and those of your own into your life’s journey. I would like to hear how you have chosen to receive the warm sentiments you have received.