Exploring community through Mayan art of kite-making

Exploring community through Mayan art of kite-making

In Central and South America, kites have long been used as an art-based form of cultural identity and community collaboration that draw on various cultural traditions. This October, Promise had the opportunity to work with the Morgan Conservatory and bring a kite-making activity to the Central Neighborhood.43883

Ajpub’ Garcia, an artist in residence at the Morgan, brings his expertise in Mayan art from his home country of Guatemala. He led a group of more than 30 residents, partners and students in their own kite-making at Friendly Inn Settlement House.

In attendance were representatives from The Morgan Conservatory, Promise Ambassadors, Art Books Cleveland, the Educational Service Center of Northeastern Ohio, Central Girl Scouts, City Year, Inner Visions of Cleveland, Men of Central, Sterling Library and Kings and Queens of Art.

Garcia introduced the group to the origin of the Mayan kite tradition, and he shared images and related poetry from previous kite celebrations. Participants built kites that could fly, as well as ones to hang as decorative artifacts. The collaborating entities shared ideas about how to adapt this borrowed tradition to the interests, needs and concerns of Promise, progressing into a longer-term community-based project.43889

“The activity allows community members to come together and share their neighborhood vision to create a collective art form,” said Promise community engagement coordinator Dawn Glasco. “In this way, we uphold, recognize, and extend conversation to deepen our appreciation of shared values and community unity.”

Some of the kites will go on display at the Outhwaite Community Center and at the Sterling Branch of the Cleveland Public Library. Others will go home with participants.

#PromiseReads and Anthem bring new Little Free Libraries to Central

#PromiseReads and Anthem bring new Little Free Libraries to Central

The Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood is committed to supporting successful educational outcomes for the children of the Central neighborhood. We know that education starts at home, and parents are truly a child’s first teacher. Research shows that the simple presence of books in the home is linked to a child’s educational success.

Promise is proud to have worked with Central residents and partners to establish some of the 11 Little Free Libraries around the neighborhood. These “take a book, leave a book” structures invite residents of all ages to browse a selection of stocked titles and take them home to read.IMG_20181013_121239

As part of the ongoing #PromiseReads initiative, Promise recently presented six new Little Free Libraries to the Central neighborhood, thanks to a generous donation from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. In an October event at the Sterling Branch of the Cleveland Public Library, Promise engagement manager Joe Black spoke to the stewards of the new libraries about what it means to care for and support a Little Free Library.

Stewards all received book donations on behalf of the Kids Book Bank and Cleveland Public Library, as well as a supply from Anthem. Promise Ambassador Gwen Garth, a staple of Central’s art community, plans to fill the library she stewards with crayons, coloring books and additional art supplies for the neighborhood. Felton Thomas, executive director of Cleveland Public Library, and Margaret Bernstein, director of advocacy at WKYC, joined the event to talk about the value of Little Free Libraries in our communities, right alongside the invaluable resource of the public libraries.

The event was broadcast on WKYC. View the clip here.

New Little Free Libraries will be installed or updated in the following locations:

  • Alfred A. Benesch School
  • Boys & Girls Club at King Kennedy
  • Gwen Garth’s Community Garden
  • John’s Church
  • William Patrick Day Early Learning Center

Thank you to those who joined us, as well as to Monica Rudzinski, Sterling branch manager, who welcomed Promise to the library on the first chilly day of fall.

 

 

 

Early learning navigator wins 2018 Carolyn Grossman Award

Early learning navigator wins 2018 Carolyn Grossman Award

Tatiana Wells, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood’s early learning navigator, received the 2018 Carolyn Grossman Award from Family Connections for her work with parents of early learners.

Longtime Cleveland Heights kindergarten teacher Carolyn Grossman recognized that parents can make an enormous difference in their child’s ability to learn and grow, but need support in preparing their young children to learn in school. Family Connections has worked with the Grossman family to present the award for the last 15 years.

On Friday, September 28, Tatiana was honored with her award at Family Connections’ annual clambake. Tatiana shared the award with Natalie Friedl, director of MyCom P-16 in Slavic Village. In attendance at the gathering were Tatiana’s mother, Debbie Wells, SOCF president Susanna H. Krey, Vet Nixon, program specialist for Out of School Time, and Keesha Tolliver-Funches, Family Connections’ SPARK parent partner.

“Tatiana is an exemplary member of our Promise team, and her work is a true testament to the fact that parents are a child’s first teachers,” said Krey. “Her dedication to the success of Central’s children is paramount.”12300

Tatiana joined Promise as a full-time employee in 2014 as Starting Point’s early learning navigator for the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood. Her role involves helping families find access to the best early learning options in Central, as well as offering opportunities for those early learning centers to become stronger and reach high-quality levels.

Recognizing that a parent is the child’s first teacher, Tatiana is focused on connecting with parents through the neighborhood. She conducts door-to-door canvassing ahead of the school year to speak with parents and ensure they have the tools they need to support their child’s education. Tatiana presents them with an early learning guide and talks through their options, and she also works to connect them with additional support services, like utilities, community outreach and housing support.

With Tatiana’s influence, over the last 10 years the number of early learning centers with quality ratings in Central has increased from two to 13 – nine of which are rated for high quality. Since she started her work with Promise, she has convened all directors of Central’s early learning centers into a Directors’ Network, which meets quarterly to share best practices and discuss trends observed among parents and families. From these meetings, centers have been more focused on strengthening their quality ratings, and directors are made aware of available trainings to help staff deal with challenges like student trauma, domestic violence or teacher burnout.

Family Connections president Joanne Federman said she was proud to present Tatiana with the Carolyn Grossman Award.

“The heart of the Carolyn Grossman Award is all about helping parents foster their children’s success in school and in life,” Federman said. “Tatiana creates such an easy, safe rapport with parents, children and community partners, and her ongoing relationship with Family Connections has helped spread resources like our SPARK program among local families and children.”