Our main highlight or even theme of the third workshop on Wednesday was ‘Mothers.’ In the circle, each of us shared her mother’s name and her other mother’s name (a woman we felt was like a mother to us.) Whitney had brought in a drawing of a heritage tree and cut-out leaves. All of us got two leaves, one of a dark green shade and one of a lighter shade. On one leaf each of us wrote some of the things her mother had taught and on the other one, something about the other mothers. Then we all put the leaves up on the heritage tree, which looked beautiful. This activity really helped everyone get more personal. After discussing this, Whitney showed us a model for using imagery in poetry. We used that technique to write our individual pieces about what we often saw our mothers do. This exercise would allow us to connect with the audience more and get them more engaged by explaining to them what the actual picture would look like, what ever is around the person in the written piece e.g., above, below, in front and behind. Towards the end, we all had the option to read what we had written thus far and exchange positive feed back and constructive criticism. I believe that this was an excellent workshop as we started looking at role models and people who have helped us through our lives and how women including our moms have affected us all. Now we look forward to our next week where everyone has been asked to bring in a poem of their choice to share! — Rammya Ilankannan, Youth Ambassador
The theme of our fourth workshop was frienships. The participants started off by sharing poems of their choice that they had brought in to share. We discussed the poems, their meaning and affect on us as audience. Then, we moved to watching a video of Spoken Word performance by two friends who shared a lot in common and finished off the performance about how they could do for each other. This video started a discussion about performance techniques and healthy friendships. Participants talked about their friendships inspite of differences such as one person being quieter than the other. We also did an activity called “I Disagree” in which Whitney read statements related to friendship and we moved between two corners of the room to show how much we agreed or disagreed with it. This was a nice way of understanding differences and that everyone had her own reasons for agreeing, disagreeing or staying neutral on the statement. Our discussion also included the problem of bad friendships and “frenemies.” Some shared personal experiences and talked about the way frenemies can destroy trust in people. None of them said they knew a frenemy in the present, which was good news! The discussion as then turned to writing as the girls sat in pairs to write their pieces about good and/or bad friendships.
— Amna Siddiqui, “I do!” Project Coordinator