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Pomona Hope News    May 2015

Pomona Hope News!
Erhard Wienschen does the honors at the Garden's ribbon cutting ceremony
 

Celebrating New Growth!

Last Saturday morning, people of the Pomona Hope community took some time to celebrate the many new additions and improvements that have been made to the Center Street Community Garden (CSCG) in recent months. The morning culminated in a ceremonial ribbon cutting by Erhard Wierschen, a plot holder and volunteer.  The event was officiated by Pomona Hope Executive Director Emily Budiyanto and Garden Administrator Barbara Evans.
The new additions to the Garden included:
  • A magnificent shade structure to be used as an outdoor classroom and community gathering space.  The innovative structure was made possible through the generous support of the Magistro Family Foundation.  Complete with a UV protective covering and solar lighting, the space was designed and assembled by Michael Adams, an Engineering Technology student, as part of his senior project for Cal Poly Pomona.
  • Several all-weather worktables donated by our amazing Pomona Rotary Club.  These excellent tables were assembled on the April 11th Pomona Beautification day by Earhart and California Conservation Corps students.  Pomona Hope thanks Daryl Beans of the Pomona Rotary for attending and celebrating with us!
  • A Little Free Library sponsored by the Pomona Rotary Club.  Special thanks to David McElwain for bringing the LFL to Pomona!
  • A new wash station for washing vegetables!  Designed by Erhard and Michael, and made possible through the generosity of the Magistro Family Foundation, the sink conserves water through the use of a gray water recycling system.  Instructions for the special sink’s use were beautifully produced in vivid color by local artist Cynthia Wierschen! (www.theartofcynthia.com )
  • A beautiful new sign displaying the name and mission of the CSCG paid for through a Youth Service America grant.  The grant was written by 12-year-old Sydney Robinson.
12-year-old grant writer extraordinaire Sydney Robinson and the Chaparral Middle School Humanitarian Club she presides over as president pose with the new CS Community Garden sign!
Mark Gearhart, a member of the Garden Leadership team that oversees the garden was on hand to give a brief oral history of the garden’s creation and development. 
“….Up until 2009, this parcel of land was a barren, weed-strewn, trash-filled, useless piece of land.  But then someone at First Presbyterian had the vision of turning this into a community garden… The City of Pomona was very gracious in allowing us to use the land without charging any fees- all we had to do was pay for water.  With that, some people from First Pres. and some other volunteers started to lay out the vision of turning [it] into this garden that you see here today.  Richard Wulfing, a master gardener from Cal Poly Pomona, lent his expertise and advice and implemented the crucial drip irrigation system.
"In 2011, one of the most important aspects of the garden began when students from Pomona Hope were able to come over and see the garden and see what their food looked like.  When Pomona Hope became involved in a significant way with the garden, it really helped the development and usefulness of the garden for the community.  A lot of people and volunteers helped make the garden what it is today.  I personally have seen so much happen here in terms of the Pomona Hope kids, interactions with the community, the reduction in crime . . . this place is a complete contrast from where it started.”
As we reflect on the evolution of this space since it was, as Mark eloquently stated, “a barren, weed-strewn, trash-filled, useless piece of land,” we acknowledge the efforts of so many community members who have clung to the foundational mission of the CSCG: Growing food, people, and hope.  Drew Rushlow, Ben and Emily Margolis, Dick Wulfing, and Barbara Evans have been among the most tireless and dedicated leaders over the past six years.  It is wonderful to commemorate how far it has come and how many people it has brought together.  We look forward to many more celebrations in the future!
Volunteers from Job Corps assemble the work tables donated by the Pomona Rotary Club
Local rapscallions catch up on their reading at the Little Free Library!
New gray water recycling wash station!
Visual instructions for the wash station!
Alex Genty-Waksberg guides students during an evening art workshop
Our students are lucky to meet these amazing volunteers from Pomona College!
Do you buy books, DVDs, or CDs through Amazon.com? By making those purchases through the Amazon Affiliates link on the www.pomonahope.org homepage, 2-5% of your purchase will go to support the work of Pomona Hope! Simply click on the Amazon Affiliates banner! Purchases last year allowed us to award two $1,000 dollar scholarships to our high school apprentices! Every purchase helps!
The Campus Crash crew poses with University of La Verne president Devorah A. Liberman
 
Campus Crash 2015!
By Arely Hermosillo
 This spring break I was able to go to the Campus Crash held by Pomona Hope. It was a very exciting experience for me and I am glad I went. During these three days we were able to visit six schools and learn plenty about the different types of colleges.
We were given tours around different colleges like University of La Verne and Mt. Sac. While on our tours, we learned of the many opportunities there are to get help getting into colleges. We were able to get the feel of the different environments and see for ourselves what we really like in a college. Not only was this educational, but it was also fun!
 At the end of each tour questions were asked to make sure we were paying attention and whoever answered correctly won a prize. We also had fun because we were able to go as a group and get to know each other better. Even though we were all from Pomona Hope not all of us really knew each other and this experience allowed us to bond and get to know each other if we didn't already.
Our chaperones were great.  They made sure to make us feel comfortable and were very fun to have along. We greatly appreciated the chaperones that took us because without them we wouldn't have had such a great time, or a ride to get there for that matter. Another thing that was appreciated was the support given to make this possible which gave us the opportunity of going. Campus Crash would not have been possible without it.

Arely Hermosillo is an 11th grader at Diamond Ranch High School.
The 2015 Campus Crashers just before beginning their college adventure!
Campus crashers basking in the shadow of the USC Trojan!
Soaking up the learning at USC's famous Doheny Library!
University of California Riverside!
Hanging with UC Riverside mascot Scotty Highlander!
Creating Space for Art
In the current age of high-stakes testing and school accountability, arts education has far too often been a casualty, pushed to the side as an undervalued afterthought or eliminated altogether.  Yet while artistic expression may never be assessed on an end-of-year standardized exam, art remains a crucial outlet for creativity and an essential part of a student’s personal development. 
During the past year, Pomona Hope expanded the artistic dimension of After School with Pomona Hope, adding an in-program Art Workshop during Wednesday and Thursday afternoons as well as an evening after-program elective workshop on Monday and Tuesday nights.  Our kids and youth love it.
The driving force behind Pomona Hope’s new art initiative has been Brianne Imada, a former summer intern and new board member.  After completing her senior thesis at Scripps College on issues related to arts education, Brianne returned to Pomona Hope even more passionate about fostering a greater student engagement with the Arts.
“Studies show that students exposed to art do better in school and have higher rates of college attendance,” Brianne explained.  “As we've continued to try out new ideas with the art program, I've been seeing three themes emerge - personal exploration and expression, the relationship of art to our Pomona Hope and larger Pomona communities, and the bigger role of art within society. As we've exposed the students to new people and places, I've seen students grow in confidence, have fun, and build solid relationships with volunteers. Underpinning all of our activities is the belief that art can be edifying and transformative for everyone."  
While Brianne has taken point on planning the afternoon art workshops this past semester, students from the Claremont Colleges primarily coordinate the evening workshops.
Alex Genty-Waksberg, a recent graduate of Pomona College, began coordinating the evening workshops as part of Pomona College’s Internship Program (PCIP), and has continued to lead the workshops long after his internship ended.
“In art, you find yourself in situations where you are more honest and more vulnerable and you can express yourself in ways that you don’t really have opportunities to in a structured day of school,” Alex shared. 
In sharing his methodology for structuring the evening workshops, Alex explained, “What is less important is these kids picking up technical skills, but more the fact that there’s this space for an hour where they can relax, listen to music, and do art and just lose themselves in that.”
Both students and volunteers enjoy the opportunity to bond and find community over art.  “I think it s great for them to meet all of these different college students and get to know them and see what they are like,” Alex added.  “We chat a bit and talk about our days.  I’m very lucky to be a part of this.”
Pomona Hope continues to partner with the dA Center for the Arts in finding new ways to engage our community with art.  On April 28, the dA showcased art created by the Pomona Hope kids and youth in a well-attended event coordinated by Pomona College students Alex Genty-Waksberg, Diego Lopez, and Ella Yehros. Pomona Hope students attending the event also participated in making a community mural and receiving henna “tattoos.”
As Pomona Hope continues to deepen the artistic dimension of our community, we look forward to seeing the impact these experiences will have on both students and volunteers.   
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