Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Food and After-School Engagement

Our group discussed several issues surrounding food--specifically nutrition, school lunches, lack of knowledge about food preparation, and access to food. We also discussed how many of the students at Detroit Community School said they do not have anything to do after school or if they do, they have to travel to the suburbs for fun things to do. We wanted to find a way in which students could be educated and trained in nutrition and food preparation while also socializing with one another outside of class. This led to the idea of an after-school pizza cafe where some students could work and others could eat and socialize with one another. Most students are hungry after school and their parents are working till at least 5 p.m. This pizza cafe, with fresh pizzas made with local ingredients, would provide a fun, healthy, and creative way for students to eat and be involved in an after-school activity.

-Alana Hoey

Monday, October 24, 2011

Photos on Flickr

I created a flickr page for our work in Brightmoor where I uploaded the photographs i've been taking on our visits thus far. Please feel free to browse, share, and use them for anything you might need!

College Collision Mind Map!

College Collision Course

Safety & Security

So our group got together and found a mutual interest in safety and in what makes people feel safe. We discussed the impact lighting makes on an environment and the idea of safety through being open vs. closing oneself off. We identified the gate to the Detroit Community Schools as something with potential for improvement, with its form resembling prison bars (not a true reflection of the people within the school!). Along the same lines, we discussed safety within the school such as locker security and classroom security for students. Then we moved more toward the topic of the community safety, and the snowball effect that is created through abandoned houses. When we next visit the Brightmoor Community we plan on asking many questions regarding this topic, and using those responses to better understand this need!


Last week, our team discussed the fact that the teens in the Brightmoore area had very few places to go in their own community. They were the ones that built much of the stuff, but in the end those places really were for younger kids in their community.

We thought of ways that we could improve this while also thinking of the empty space in the school. One of the kids in my group last week said that he wished the school was bigger. Utilizing this space could be a way of expanding the school and giving teens a place to go.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Social Networking

My group and I have been further discussing the topic of college, specifically college awareness. Taking note of how eager the students are to see what college looks like - they want to see a dorm, a typical college day, and college life in general. So we are trying understand how and in which ways we can create a way for college students to inform high school students about college and the college experience. The students of the Brightmoor community should have a way to access information to answer their curiosities and inquiries. If college is not a part of ones culture, like it is perhaps ours, then how is someone supposed to know if they should attend college and/or that it could be an essential step in making their way into the real world and finding a job, or pursuing a passion. By understanding how college and the steps we have taken in our lives have become pertinent in our own micro worlds, we can try to explore and see how it may be possible to assert similar ideals into others' lives...
We have discussed some ideas of an online network where students of all ages can share information and knowledge with one another - maybe this is an after school activity.... ??
How do we maintain a fun atmosphere and make this something intriguing for all participants?
Is this universal or are there only limited subjects within?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Last Wednesday, the group I was talking with - housing - came up with a list of problems: abandoned houses being eye sores, having unused materials just sitting there, and a lack of lighting/lack of security. We came up with a couple solutions: creating some sort system using bicycle-powered lighting where kids/whoever can pedal the bike to make the sculpture and/or house and/or street(s) light up; we thought about designing a system to teach people how to take down houses and potentially use those materials towards something else; or we ourselves take down a house and turn the materials into a sculpture; we also thought about taking an abandoned house and turning it into a community center where teachers can go help students, tutoring could be available, counseling for college/careers, and other ideas in that realm. Any thoughts to add to any of these ideas? Any other problems you can think of associated with abandoned houses?

Litter and such

We definitely heard many of the students lamenting the trash situation in their communities. One girl, Kayla, said she wouldn't mind having a day of collecting litter with her friends. This is a good start, but we want to push the topic further than just cleanup (although that is the first step).

We're considering making art out of the trash we collect, maybe by sorting and photographing it, maybe by weaving bags together or sewing - it all depends on what we find through research of other artist's work with trash or what we think of when we see the kids next. We are also thinking about having the kids help to decorate trash cans (turn them into monsters, basketball hoops, etc.) and placing them in littery business districts.

Additional ideas, anyone? What do you think we should try and accomplish?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One of the kids we talked to who lived in the neighborhood, Cory, pointed out that there are hardly any streetlights. I looked around and the only one I saw as at the intersection. He said it got really really dark at night, so he usually doesn't go out. This was something he would like to change.

Cory also didn't like all the abandoned houses, he wanted to do something with them.

Both of the boys we talked to today liked making things with their hands, and were enjoying the birdhouses that they are making in the wood shop.

It also seems like a lot of the kids are into sports, especially basketball and football. The school doesn't have a soccer field or a football field, I think they only have a gym which is limiting.