Meeting the youth

This past week marked was the first time that our class went in to #LincolnParkDuluth and met the youth that our project is focusing on. Going in, I was a little nervous about what we might have encountered, but afterward I was excited for our group.

It started last Monday when Quentin, Erik and I attended our initial session at Lincoln Park Middle School. It was just a brief, 45 minute gathering in which we introduced ourselves to the kids and did an intro worksheet with them. There were just shy of 15 middle school students there and we had the opportunity to meet most of them personally. I was amazed at how mature a lot of them were and some even shared some deep stories, especially for kids that young. It was impressive that they were all interested in writing at such a young age. I didn’t get into it until I had almost graduated from high school.

Almost immediately after that we met up with the rest of our class at the Boys and Girls Club and met the kids there. They were much more energized, which made it hard to get productive work done. But I definitely thought that they were excited to have us there and we did still get a fun writing/drawing activity done.

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Most of our class with some of the kids at the Boys and Girls club. They seemed pretty excited to have us there. ERIK GAFFRON

After meeting with them we went to the other side of the community center for the Kick Butts event, which focuses on preventing the abuse of tobacco by kids. There I had an awesome experience making Kinnikinnick. That’s a type of tobacco that Native Americans use in ceremonies and burn it like incense. A local Native American, Arne Vainio had a booth set up and I got to shave some sticks down to help make some Kinnikinnick. It was cool to see a different use of tobacco. He was the one who gave me the background info on this stuff.

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This is me working on the Kinnikinnick. The goal was to shave the outer, red layer off the stick and make it look like the ones on the table. ERIK GAFFRON

Back to the project though. On Thursday I was back at the middle school and we did an activity in which the kids highlighted some of the things that are important to them as middle school students. I was impressed at a lot of the things they came up with. Our group had things from social media to family and everything in-between.

It’s nice to have gotten the first contact done. The people at the school and Boys and Girls club seem as excited to have us as we are to be there.

This week we’ll be doing a photography based workshop with the kids. Stay tuned for more!

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