Contributed by Promise Farnsworth, New Expression Selma Volunteer
This blossoming tradition is catching fire among Millennials across America this year as many in the younger generation are tiring of the firm traditions of their grandparents. An old idea, newly dubbed Friendsgiving, is a meal on or around Thanksgiving celebrated by people who simply want to appreciate the lives they lead with the people they like to be around – without the bickering or the family drama, which can often be associated with the holidays.
This year, try Something New! Invite a different crowd over for Thanksgiving dinner, maybe the new guy or gal at work, or the new neighbors who don’t have any friends in the area yet, or the recent immigrants in your neighborhood who don’t understand the holiday. Try adding something unconventional to the meal, like international styles of food, to celebrate the melting pot that America has always been, and make the day and meal about more than just the traditions of your past.
Happy Friendsgiving, hope you (and all your friends) enjoy it!
Here are some fun Friendsgiving traditions we love from our Something New Family!
Contributed By: Colin Shreffler & Morgan Farnsworth
The insightful young people at last weeks’ New Expression Denver workshop took inspiration from a popular Sara Bareilles song, and began designing their own music videos. They shared personal interpretations of what it means for each of them to be “Brave.” As the groups discussed their ideas, inspiration became the focus, and storyboards sprang to life with themes of courage, facing fear, and standing up against bullies. Each board is a powerful story — about challenging those things that hold us down, and overcoming whatever keeps us from living and expressing ourselves freely.
Next week: Filming!
Light shines bright in the darkest of places.
The world seems like such a volatile place right now. In fact I recently read an article that said “Too many students doubt that their community is, or can be, strong enough to stand up for itself, entertain arguments and strive to persuade opponents.” This is why we must be equipped, prepared and ready to take that stand. Martin Luther King, Jr said “There is little hope for us until we become tough minded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truths, and downright ignorance. The shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of soft mindedness”. We must choose to be the lights and make the world a better place. Each of us have been given a voice for a reason.
The Back StoryNew Expression (formerly Random Acts of Theatre Company) was founded in January of 2008, when a small group of service-minded young professionals felt inspired to design a program for young people. We hoped to create a space that was all-inclusive, focused on self-expression, and offered youth mentoring. We determined from the beginning that everyone was welcome, regardless of ethnicity, creed, gender, orientation, skill level, appearance, age, or experience. Our first production featured a diverse cast of 60 youth and adults, who performed Footloose: the Musical to sold-out audiences. We haven't slowed down since! Over the past nine years, New Expression has reached three states, with over 100 staff and volunteers, and thousands of participants over the years. Our young artists have performed more than fifty shows in cities across the country, including Washington, DC and New York. We have expanded our artistic scope beyond theatre and dance arts, into film production, spoken word, slam poetry, improv, music composition, sound design, writing, painting, and anything else our participants want to explore! Our continuing mission is to provide safe, inclusive, discrimination-free spaces for young people to develop their potential and discover their voices; where they can hone their artistic expression, have FUN, and build a community for more young people to join! Our primary aim is not to produce art, but rather to produce young, confident, humble leaders with hearts to give back. We currently host New Expression in two different communities in the Atlanta area -- Clarkston and Fayetteville E-mail: NewExpressionATL@somethingnew.org Leave us a message: (678) 664-4515
New Alternative celebrates the “crazy” in each one who chooses to spend their time learning about social justice issues and serving a community that is not their home. We love alternative breaks and partnering with colleges, universities and other groups who choose to spend their time this way. Over the past eight years, we’ve hosted thousands of college students from over 75 universities.
If you are looking for a fresh take on service-learning, we are happy you found our website! New Alternative is more than a service-learning trip. It is an intensive week-long leadership training that uses the principles of nonviolence to empower students to be change agents and community builders wherever they go. Our trips incorporate education, service opportunities and a lot of fun -- making for an experience that challenges and changes each participant. If you want to learn more, contact us!
New Alternative trips are designed with your group’s interests in mind. While no two trips are exactly alike, we focus on five common elements to create a meaningful experience:
- Participate in our intensive New Way training.
- Partner with local organizations for service projects.
- Learn about Atlanta’s roots in the struggle for equal rights by visiting local museums such as the King Center and Center for Civil and Human Rights.
- Debrief your daily experiences--we provide trip leaders with the level of support that’s right for their group, from full facilitation by an experienced group host to a set of tried-and-true guiding questions to a “hands-off” approach.
- Have fun and meet other like-minded individuals through nighttime activities--trivia, karaoke, and more!
Read on for an overview of the entire New Alternative service-learning break program.
We believe in the importance of blending education with service to provide Alternative Breakers with a week they will never forget. Groups generally participate in our New Way training, designed to foster open and supportive group dynamics, challenge personal biases, and prepare students for the ongoing practice of nonviolence. We will also work with your group to identify local organizations offering service opportunities that fit your group’s social justice interests. Whether you would like to serve homeless youth, support families starting over after entering the U.S. as refugees, participate in urban farming, or anything in between, we can help craft service days that give your group an outlet while also being a perfect complement to New Way training. Finally, we believe in working hard and having fun. Nighttime activities such as trivia and karaoke help to round out the experience and give alternative breakers a chance to meet others outside of their group. Read HERE to learn more about Who We Are.
GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS
Are you seeking a change more enduring than a fresh profile pic on Facebook? We encourage students to use their New Alternative experience to reflect on what they hope to get out of life and how to apply what they learn to directly impact their future.
While service is an important component of your trip, it is not the sole focus of our program, so it is important for groups considering our site to understand our emphasis on education and training. That said, we strive to customize each group’s visit to provide a well-balanced trip that incorporates the right amount of education and service.
Building on principles articulated and demonstrated by leaders such as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the nonviolence method of conflict reconciliation can be powerfully applied to a wide variety of settings and issues. It has proven successful around the world in social movements, prison systems, school campuses, corporations, and personal relationships.
Our team has trained extensively with Dr. Bernard Lafayette (learn more about Dr. Lafayette here and here and here), who worked side by side with Dr. King and the other young leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King believed that nonviolence training was the key to really healing our country and allowing us to move forward.
In Selma, Alabama, our team gained practical experience using the principles of nonviolence as we worked to bridge divides in a deeply segregated town. The struggle became personal and every day that we worked toward building the beloved community, we realized that the real battle is within. You can read some of our stories here.
We frequently draw on our experiences in delivering New Way training, and our hope is that behind the stories participants feel the spirit of the beloved community: that we are stronger together and community is about honoring and respecting each part that makes up the whole. Our training techniques are interactive, creative and uniquely personal so that each participant walks away with insights and tools they can apply in their own corner of the world to be a difference-maker. Contact Barak@somethingnew.org to schedule a training for your group and to learn more about how New Way can help unite your team.
New Expression Denver had a raging Fall Festival party – check out the fun pics!
When Nicholas came to Selma, Alabama, he couldn’t ignore what he saw. It changed his perspective on his own life in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and when he went back to Eau Claire, he knew he had to do something…anything. Selma has that effect on people; it forever changed my life and my normal too. Nicholas wanted others to experience the spirit of Selma like he did. He knew if they could just get a taste, their “normals” would be changed. Nick brought a couple named Brett and Rachel to a RATCo (now known as New Expressions) performing event in Eau Claire in 2014, and their normals also began to change. Together they decided to create the Eau Claire – Selma Exchange Program (ECSE).