Hi! My name is Sofia Halperin-Goldstein and I am a rising junior at Macalester. Tomorrow brings the start of my Live It! project here in the Twin Cities at Casa de Esperanza. Casa is a Latina non-profit organization that provides services to women experiencing domestic violence. My project lies in Casa’s Refugio, a temporary emergency shelter for Latina women and non-Latina women alike.
It was my time at the Refugio throughout this past year that provided me with the inspiration behind my Live It! project. As an intern, I was able to gain a fuller understanding of the familial crisis and stress experienced by the residents at the Refugio. In particular, I noticed a common sense of confusion experienced among the residents’ kids, brought on by physical dislocation, shifts in family composition and living arrangements, and other life changes.
My project seeks to provide a sense of continuity and wholeness to the children’s time at the Refugio, through activities and off-site excursions during summer vacation when their time is largely unstructured. Two key elements of the program are the cultivation of a community garden and the compilation of personal scrapbooks that the document the participants’ summer experiences. In doing these activities and excursions, I hope that the kids will both experience some of the normative aspects of childhood in the Twin Cities and strengthen their emotional resilience and sense of self through intentional discussion and reflection. Having stopped into the shelter this weekend, I can already tell that the current group of eight kids have lots of energy and spirit!
In addition to activities for the kids, I hope to involve adult residents through a series of workshops provided by outside visitors. So far on the agenda, we have a yoga teacher, western medicine practitioner, and an chef who will offer weekly cooking classes coming to the Refugio!
Tomorrow morning we will jump right in by starting our community garden (with the help of Macalester professor Teresa Mesa!) I can’t wait to see what this summer (and the kids!) bring. Keep checking in here for updates!