Friday, March 25, 2016

For Resettled Refugees InterPlay is about Making Connections with Parts that have been Stifled

INTERPLAY ATLANTA. Helping resettled refugee students test their own self-imposed barriers (March 2016).
Written by Shamsun Nahar, Site Manager Clarkston Global Academy, Center for Pan Asian Community Services, Inc (CPACS)

On a day-to-day basis, people put up so many walls, barriers, and limitations on themselves when it comes to expression and human interaction. There are many socio-normative rules that dictate what sounds to make, and what the body should look like, and what it should do.

Recently, resettled refugee students have used InterPlay at the Clarkston Global Academy to find a creative outlet in which to communicate with each other, and with themselves. As a participant, I enjoyed exploring my vocals, my body movements, and watching language manifest itself into the human body’s movement.
NEVER A DULL MOMENT. Participants in InterPlay Atlanta's "Creative Communication" class make connections through movement and story telling activities. Here participants were invited to celebrate the spring by embodying alternately flowers and pollinators like bees and butterflies. The flowers used shape and stillness but changed shapes when "pollinated."
I loved watching the same sort of fascination mirror itself on the students participating. The best part is hearing so distinctly and loudly the voices of students who are normally shy. There has never been a dull moment within this group. Each moment, we are encouraging participation, and encouraging others to test their own self-imposed barriers.
Ultimately, the greatest take-away from this is not just the connection made with others who participate with you, but the connection you make with parts of yourself that has always been suppressed and stifled. I can wholeheartedly say I adore this InterPlay workshop series. 

GIVE INTERPLAY DAY 2016 (April 7th--one day only)

You can help us continue bringing InterPlay to these resettled refugee teenagers by supporting us on Give InterPlay Day 2016 (click here: Give InterPlay Day for Atlanta's Underserved Communities).

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: In October 2015, as a result of funding raised in April 2015 for Atlanta's underserved communities on the national “Give InterPlay Day,” (Thank you everyone!) and the developing relationship with the Clarkston Community Center (CCC), InterPlay Atlanta was able to accept Andrea Waterstone’s invitation to participate in the Clarkston Youth Initiative (renamed Clarkston Global Academy) by beginning a Creative Communications class taught by Ruth Schowalter. Although funding ran out in December, classes have continued once-a-week since January because of the positive impact that InterPlay is having as described by CPACS site manager Shamsun Nahar.


  1. Thank you for sharing these thoughts Shamsun. So glad InterPlay is creating meaningful connections within yourself and your community. It does that for me too!

  2. The phrase "parts that have been stifled" stays with me. I'm so glad that InterPlay is providing a way to connect that may "unstifle" resettled refugees.