Updated: Dec 8, 2020
WordPlay's end-of-year letter, December 2020
For just over eight months now, the young people of this generation have bravely navigated tremendous unpredictability in their lives. Support from individuals like you has allowed WordPlay to continue to meet their social, creative and developmental needs through our virtual programs during the pandemic, boosting their feelings of connection, resilience, critical thinking, and overall learning skills. Thank you.
Below, you’ll find a poem by one of our teen writers, Fabiola Matumaine. When Fabiola was a newcomer to this country just a little over a year ago, WordPlay was among her first in-class experiences in Aiken High School’s English as a Second Language program. Each day, students see “WordPlay” listed in the lineup of ESL teacher Aaron Parker’s lesson plans, along with Science, Math and other academic subjects. Not only was Mr. Parker inspired by his engagement in our programs to blend creative writing into his daily teachings, but WordPlay teaching artists have been integrated into the ESL and other classrooms at Aiken for three years now. Last month, Mr. Parker shared his experience of WordPlay through the pandemic:
“With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when many organizations found it too
daunting to engage students, WordPlay doubled down with their programs that serve
our kids in frequency, intensity, and compassion.”
Fabiola’s poem was written in response to the most recent ArtWorks mural, Time Saved vs. Time Served, unveiled downtown on W. Court Street last month. Her reflections on the mural’s theme, second chances, not only speak to the resilience and leadership of the women depicted in the mural, but to her own second chance in life, recently resettling in the United States. Fabiola knows that she has the power to write her future, whether in this language, one she has been learning for just a short time, or one of the other four languages she speaks fluently. We applaud her immense fortitude, creativity and determination in making her dreams a reality. Our work continues to provide safe spaces for young people like Fabiola to examine the history and context for present-day social justice issues; space where they can discover and honor their strengths, have their voices be amplified, and experience how creativity can fuel social change.
With arts-in-healing practices at their core, our creative youth development programs have been a lifeline to this young generation as they navigate the complexities of a global pandemic compounded by social unrest and a long-overdue spotlight on racial inequity in our country. Looking ahead to 2021, we remain focused on a future not so far off in the distance that brings restored wellbeing, where our children, teens and young adults can share the beauty of coming together again in creative community here at WordPlay.
Wishing you and yours all the best this end-of-year season. In gratitude,