Friday, December 15, 2017

The Importance of Play for Men

The Men of Trinity House pose for this photo after an InterPlay Session with InterPlay Leaders-in-Training Ade Anifowose and Carolyn Renee.
Written by Ade Anifowose, InterPlay Leader-in-Training

“I stand for a society that creates space for men to play, a society that allows men to recreate themselves from moment to moment.” -Ade

There is a universal myth that men do not express emotions. I say "myth" because it is not true. Have you been around men watching sports, playing with their children or having an argument? Men express emotions, but not always in the same ways as women do.

The irony of this myth is when men do express emotions of gentleness, compassion, or kindness, their masculinity is questioned. Men are generally placed (by society) in a damned-if-you-do or damned-if-you-don’t situation.

Collectively, we all need to shift our mindset about what it means to be a man and develop a better understanding of men’s emotions. Let’s support men and boys in being with their emotions without a rush to judging those emotions being good or bad. Without support, emotions of rage, frustration, and anger intensify. We humans are emotional beings. Our emotions play a major role in how we show up in the world both in our communities and relationships.

Ade Anifowose, InterPlay Leader-in-Training
Atlanta, Georgia
I have found that InterPlay tools empower individuals to “have” their experience. I remember attending an “InterPlay Retreat for Men” last February, in Germantown, Maryland. It was mind-blowing. Watching men, play, create, share their stories, dance, and be in stillness, softened the edges of restrictions that I had placed on myself, based on what I was taught by society.

As an InterPlay Leader-in-Training, on a weekly basis I co-lead InterPlay at Trinity House in Atlanta. There, I get the opportunity to watch and experience men in recovery connect with innocence and their stories of belonging. I watch them share their gratitude for being able to connect with their inner child in a safe environment.  Through their stories, I am reminded that everyone wants to be acknowledged and heard.

There is an invisible thread that connects us all. When we play, we strengthen the connection and we are all the better for it. I stand for a society that creates space for men to play, a society that allows men to re-create themselves from moment to moment.

InterPlay is a rebellious act of self-care in a world where we are taught to not care about our own needs. It allows men to embrace their humanity, emotions, and expressions. This is a gift to humanity.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

InterPlay, Art & Social Change

Dear Friends,

As 2017 comes to a close I am reflecting on an incredible year.  It's been a year filled with many changes and calls to action for activists and people concerned with social justice.

In July, thanks to a leadership development grant from Alternate Roots (made possible by funds from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Surdna Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), I was able to travel out to Oakland, CA to InterPlayce the headquarters of Interplay.

The Door To Interplayce - Enter Here for Fun!
A view into the InterPlayce Studio

The back of the InterPlayce building

Here I participated in the second week of Art & Social Change for Millennial Leaders as a sacred lurker in order to learn about the program with the idea of bringing it to the East Coast.

The program is led by Agnotti  & Natty, two amazing millennial InterPlay Leaders with the support of the entire InterPlayce staff for two weeks.

During this program Interplayers learn practical ways to use art to bring awareness to social justice issues.
Heading out for InterPlay on the streets of Oakland with an art response

They listened to their inner authority,
had guest speakers,
took InterPlay to the streets/subways,
went in depth with InterPlay forms to access body wisdom,
did an art response at the peacekeepers park,
finished the week with a performance
and so much more!

Art & Social Change 2017 participants after the performance

 It was a wonderful chance to see the leaders of our organization in their natural habitats!

Some of our InterPlay Staff & The Co-founders!

The Art & Social Change program has made such a difference in so many lives & in the world!
I was so inspired by the leadership, participants and intersection of InterPlay and Social Justice work....Agnotti, Natty, Foluke & I are in the beginning stages of planning an additional Art & Social Change program, open to millennials plus other activists, for the last week of June 2018 - so save the date and stay tuned for more info!

In Peace and play,


Christine Gautreaux, MSW, CIL



Thanks to my friend & InterPlay leader Soyinka I had the best tacos ever at International & 22nd street!

Best Taco on the planet 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Reluctant Millennial, Willing InterPlayer

Written by Foluke Nkenge 
InterPlay Leader-in-Training

Rumor has it that I’m a millennial, but I don’t really see myself as a millennial. I chafe a bit at the label, which I’m pretty sure is a trait of millennials. A label that I claim is “InterPlayer.” I came to InterPlay (or perhaps it came to me) during a time of spiritual revival in my life and knew that it was something I needed to be doing, despite the discomfort I felt.

One thing I do know about my generation is that authentic connection in this smartphone-dependent, instant gratification culture is difficult to come by, but we crave it. InterPlay gives me the space to find connection without judgment, especially in a world where judgment is so prevalent. I’m free to be weird and to need some space and to need a hug and those are such unifying experiences because we all feel them. And I have a community of caring people that give me the support I need and that invites me to do the same: I like to call them my “InterPlay family.”

Foluke Nkenge
Within InterPlay, we’re equal. I, as a 27-year-old, am not assumed to be spoiled, lazy, and self-centered or any other stereotype of my generation. My voice has value, as do the other voices in the room, young or old, white, black, and in between, short or tall, big or small, InterPlay invites everyone into the space to play. Not only that, but it gives us a place to shine in our strengths and operate outside of our comfort zones.

InterPlay is my place to land.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Hoopla! November 2017

Written by Jennifer Denning
photos by Ruth Schowalter and Joe Gautreaux

Why not celebrate and make an "unnecessary fuss"? Ade Anifowose and Foluke Beveridge (pictured in the center of the hula hoop above) have completed the InterPlay Life Practice Program and are on their way to becoming Certified InterPlay Leaders. Hoopla!

InterPlay Atlanta celebrated them during November's Second Saturday gathering with an InterPlay tradition of having them go through the decorated hoop and walk down the aisle while we showered feathers and blessings upon them. It was joyful, a little bit silly and so much fun.

As the nights grow long and the holidays approach we can be drawn into the desire to do too much, consume too much, spend too much. Perhaps we can remember this wisdom of the hoopla and create a little spontaneous giving- with some feathers, some words of affirmation, or maybe even a song or two? What gifts could an unnecessary celebration of the ordinary or a necessary celebration of the extraordinary bring?  What type of celebration truly feeds your soul at this time of the year?  Let's notice what creates grace for us and make space for that!