Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Creative Comunication Class Begins at the Clarkston Community Center

CREATIVE COMMUNICATION CLASS. InterPlay Atlanta is bringing the gift of InterPlay to the Clarkston Youth Initiative in the form of a Creative Communication class. Here eight teenagers, who elected to be a part of this after school program, participate in the "I Could Talk About" InterPlay warm up as an incremental step toward developing story telling skills. (photo by Andrea Waterstone, Art and Education Director at the Clarkston Community Center.)
By Ruth Schowalter, Certified InterPlay Leader

Since June, InterPlayAtlanta has been visiting one of the most diverse cities in the United States—Clarkston, Georgia, on Saturdays once a month, bringing 30 minutes InterPlay’s improvisational community building tools to its market, where members of its refugee community and long time residents sell home made products and locally grown produce in the midst of festive activities (read these blogs, here and here ).
In October, as a result of funding raised in April 2015 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.
SWINGING AT THE CCC. Part of creative communication comes from using our bodies. Embodying the language, the idea, the message you want to communicate is so important since nonverbal communication is such a large part of how we deliver our ideas. (photo by Andrea Waterstone, Art and Education Director at the Clarkston Community Center.)
Andrea, the Art and Education Director at the CCC, built the Clarkston Youth Initiative, which is a nine-week after school program for teenagers who voluntarily elect to attend courses three afternoons a week from Monday to Wednesday, 3:00 to 6:00 PM. In addition to the InterPlay course developed by me, “Creative Communication,” participants take a variety of other courses: computer technology, bicycle maintenance and safety, art and yoga, and gardening.
WALK STOP RUN. Art and Education Director at the CCC Andrea Waterstone joins the Creative Communication InterPlay class for the activity, "Walk Stop Run." This InterPlay form offers participants individual choices while still being a part of the wider class  community. Any time during this activity, a person can choose to move and how fast they move or still while observing others move. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)
What might a nine-week InterPlay course entitle “Creative Communication” look like?  Here is a partial description I crafted to explain what we would be doing:

Creative Comunication: Playing Around with What You Have to Say

In this class, you will have fun playing around with expressing what you have to say or not say while working in pairs, small or large groups, or alone. Using the improvisational system of InterPlay, you are invited to speak without preparation and to make things up. In addition to expanding your story telling abilities, you will learn other ways to communicate using movement, voice, and stillness. Whether you are shy or outgoing, you can learn how to succeed at getting your message across more effectively and enjoy the process!
BABBLING. Another incremental step towards telling longer stories, is the InterPlay form, "Babbling." Here the teenage participants take turns talking about a topic for 30 seconds while the other "witnesses" or just listens. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)
I’m so excited to be exploring the possibilities of “creative communication” with these teenagers from countries such as Bhutan, Nepal, Haiti, and Thailand. After meeting with the on two consecutive Monday evenings, I have already seen a shift in attendance. Enrollment in the Clarkston Youth Initiative went down from eight participants to four. The teenagers have the challenge of transporting themselves from the Clarkston high school to the Clarkston Community Center by themselves. Some are walking. It is no easy task to continue taking classes after being in school all day. The teenagers, who are showing up, want to learn and expand their skills. I’m experiencing them as very special young people with focused energy! What a privilege to engage them in the fun and sneaky deep activities of InterPlay!
In the upcoming weeks, I will be sharing photos of our “Creative Communication” class and what we are learning as we play together.

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