Our impact is based on the personal, spiritual and creative growth of the people who take part in or attend our projects, workshops or events. Here are some of the stories of those who have benefited from Hope Bridges.
Confidence for Curtis by Wanda Reinholdt
Winter 2015 launches Hope Bridges’ third year doing regular programming. Since the beginning, they have had a very fun and engaging adult workshop called “Go Green Upcycling” which encourages participants to take something that could be recycled or thrown away and turn it into something that is useful and beautiful. Pieces like a large mural called “Flight” made out of plastic gift cards mounted on an old doorframe, and the bench called “Belong”, a pew made into a beautiful community bench for the library, are now adorning the community of Strathmore. In addition, many participants’ homes are blessed with pieces that they have made.
One of the participants in this Upcycling workshop is Curtis. Curtis is a young man who has been coming to Hope Bridges workshops and events regularly for the past year. He attends with a job coach from the AIM Society who gives him the support he needs to walk safely and also help him handle any details. Curtis loves meeting with his friends at Upcycling and enjoys sharing his love for colour, shapes, and music.
Curtis began his journey creating at Upcycling with some nervousness and doubt about his ability to do this well. In particular, he was concerned that the choices he was making would work and that they would look good. Each time he was creating, he would ask Facilitator, Trish, and Creative Support, Heather, if what he was doing was ok. They would simply encourage him in his exploration and help him feel at ease with his choices. Recently, Trish reported that she realized that Curtis is no longer questioning his choices. In fact, he seems to be confidently making decisions about what he is going to choose to do and is enjoying sharing what he has done with others.
Hope Bridges at Canada Day in Kinsmen Park by Pat Timmermans
Strathmore residents enjoy a celebration and Canada Day in Kinsmen Park is no exception! Along with local charities, groups and businesses, Hope Bridges was invited to represent their involvement in the community at Kinsmen Park. After some careful thought about how to show what Hope Bridges is about, Coordinator Wanda, Creative Support, Heather and Go Green Upcycling Workshop Facilitator Trisha decided to let the adults paint on the back of recycled wallpaper. This painting ‘class’ in the park wasn’t about brushes and canvas. Passers by would be recruited to kick off their shoes and paint with their feet!
The first few onlookers were sceptical, some avoided eye contact, but when a few courageous individuals took off their shoes, others stopped to watch. The Hope Bridges Society serves adults of the community, which meant no pushing their kids into the spotlight for this activity! A few adult-sized feet stepped into mainly red paint, the color of Canada Day, then onto the canvas. An eclectic collage of footprints created by community feet was the result and today it hangs on the wall at FCSS.
To those who created it, like Joanne, seeing the collage is a permanent reminder of a pleasant Canada Day in the park with her grandchildren; and questions about this unique piece generally start the conversation of what it means to sign up for a workshop. The painters were inspired and others were excited to hear that Hope Bridges is here for all adults of Strathmore and Wheatland County who wish to become involved.
‘Artists Among Us’ Gala by Pat Timmermans
October 23, 2014 marked the 9th annual Hope Bridges ‘Artists Among Us’ Gala in Strathmore Alberta. The Gala is an evening of musical presentations and a Gallery display that highlights art created by our members and up-and-coming artists within the community.
Rachel along with her musical coach and companion Lisa, are among the regular Gala performers. As they take their place on stage, all who’ve heard the duo know that those who haven’t are about to be inspired. A standing ovation follows; it’s Rachel’s courage and Lisa’s support that inspires, even motivates others to become involved.
As stories of ‘Artists Among Us’ spread throughout the community, the numbers in attendance increase each year. The stirring performances and message of inclusivity that Hope Bridges conveys through the production allows artists and audience members alike to experience what a non-judgmental community would feel like. Word-of-mouth has a far-reaching effect and at the recent event, the Hope Community Church where the Gala is held was standing room only, and guests from out of province were in attendance.
To see pictures of your friends and neighbours in Hope Bridges classes visit our Flickr page.