For some of us, the first time we met was on the car ride to the airport. We were on our way to the Chicago January Gathering – a meeting of program leaders from Summer of Solutions programs all across the region, to envision and plan the third summer of SoS Hartford.
Since I got involved in SoS Hartford in 2010, I’ve been going to the January Gathering in Chicago every year. For five days, we meet in a church to train each other in the skills we need to build green economy projects back home. For me, it’s also a time to catch up with friends who are doing great work all over the country.
This year, four new program leaders came to the gathering; Sarana, Sherese, Alex, and Caroline.
As I said, some of our new team members hadn’t even met until we were on our way to the gathering, but we jumped in to a week of creative visioning and concrete planning. By the end, we had a clear vision for our group’s goals for the summer and dozens of new ideas for making it great. Here is a picture of our first day as a team in Chicago when we took a walk down to the shore of Lake Michigan during our lunch break.
Caroline joined Summer of Solutions Hartford in the summer of 2012. She was on the Burns School Garden team that designed and built a garden at the Burns Latino Studies Academy.
Sarana has worked with young people in many contexts, including the JuneBug Initiative for Creative Action and a permaculture art garden in Madison, WI, and as a teaching artist!
Sherese worked with youth at Our Piece of the Pie, including engaging previously incarcerated youth and facilitating a support group for girls. Through her time in AmeriCorps she tutored children at Southend Community Services.
Alex coordinated events with the Connecticut Food Bank and organized the fruit and vegetable prescription program at Wholesome Wave.
I (Jennifer) joined Summer of Solutions Hartford in 2010, when our gardens were just dreams. I’m so excited to share their growth with our great new team!