Thursday, November 13, 2008

YWEP Pendant making at Aquila Glass School

Hi guys, Grumpy-old-fusing-guy here. I was told by our blog Mistress that I'd better sit down and get this done.

From time to time different groups come in and make pendants. Sometimes just for themselves and other times we are lucky enough to have some of their pendants for the "Journey Bead Program" which we support. Last night we were lucky enough to have a group of young ladies donate some of their creations.

I received the following letter from the the group:

Scott,

Thanks so much for all your help! The class was wonderful and the girls were really happy.

The Young Women’s Equity Project (YWEP), one of the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization’s (IRCO) youth programs, provides services to high school-aged African and Slavic girls who show an interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). We work to remove barriers to higher education and to support our clients to pursue careers that are traditionally male-dominated. For many of our clients this is a significant challenge. They have little to no experience in a formal educational setting, they do not speak English and are regularly challenged to adapt to living in a new culture. YWEP clients, however, are dedicated individuals and with help will excel, flourishing in internship programs or in volunteer work.

The majority of YWEP’s African clients come from Somalia, via a refugee camp. Some of these clients have been in the United States for only a few months while others have lived in different areas of the United States, as far away as Connecticut. Our Slavic clients come from a number of countries, from Kyrgyzstan to Ukraine, Russian to Moldova.

Recently YWEP implemented a series of classes entitled the Science Behind The Art and have focused on glass making. In our two visits to the Aquila Glass School we have learned about the temperature required to melt glass, the process of turning it into a work of art and the fact that glass is a liquid. Months after our trip the girls still remind me that it is a liquid that holds their water in the cup and that their windshields, which block the rain, is also a liquid. Soon we will be traveling to the Tacoma Museum of Glass to learn more about the fine art and science of glass, but we owe our initial interest and knowledge to Aquila where our appetites were whet. To visit Aquila, many of our clients took two buses from school, left their cooking or homework undone and hopped on a van so that they could join us to make pendants, many of which they donated to the children with cancer that Aquila serves. In all, from people originating from all over the world, thanks, we have had a great time!

Lua Masumi
IRCO Skills Center
Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization
Academic Support Instructor
631 NE 102nd Ave
Portland, OR 97220
503.253.4042 x 306

That's all for now. If you have a small group that might want to come in and make pendants give us a call.

Be well,
Scott