2018 has been an incredible year – thank you for all your support!
2018 has been an incredible year – thank you for all your support!
This weekend, Something New volunteers helped organize the Amani Women’s Center sewing room. Dozens of women in the Clarkston community attend sewing classes twice a week, in order to find ways to help provide for their families. Read more here!
Contributed by Maddie, one of our New Expression volunteers
At New Expression Clarkston, we like to give the kids a chance to do whatever activities they think best expresses who they are. For me personally, art is a way I express myself, so I’ll work with a lot of the young girls who like art too!
In art club is has been so amazing to experience new things to and be with the kids. We’ve been doing a lot of field trips lately. I have taken girls in the community to different places like the library, nature parks and playgrounds. It has been amazing to see them each weekend jump into the car so excited for the new adventure.
As we’ve been adventuring out of our normal meeting space, we have also met new people in the community. One of my favorite memories recently is when we went to one of the Dekalb libraries and taught the girls how to knit and make bracelets. Different kids would come through and just sit down and participate with us. The girls would help each other and encourage each other in making scarves, hats and bracelets. Everybody felt so welcome to talk and jump right in!
We have loved taking art club out to the community!
Trauma- a type of damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event.
This word has become more real and relevant to me as we get to experience the incredible stories of some amazing individuals. Starting this month, we get to spend time with and teach middle and high school refugee students in Clarkston once a week. The students we teach represent many walks of life from Ghana, Kenya, Korea, Dubai, Sudan, Uganda, Congo and Zambia just to name a few. As we listen to their stories, the reality of their traumatic experiences come to life in living color. The persecution and violence they faced have given me a different perspective in how I view the issues here in the USA that we can address as citizens and New Way trainers.
Their stories also continue to validate and reassure me of the work that we do and how much it’s needed. Although the students’ circumstances may leave lasting psychological scars (and physical scars for some), you can feel hope. As we go through activities together, you feel hope arise through smiles and laughter, sometimes even tears. We feel how love touches the human soul and reminds each person of their gifts and value on this earth.
These weekly workshops have become one of the most powerful hours of my week as I see love conquer hate and heal brokenness in many. I see those that would not talk laughing uncontrollably with their peers. I see those that could not speak English well, speak the language of love that we all understand.
Although my natural experience are not anywhere close to being the same as the students, I am learning that any level or degree of trauma must be addressed with patience, love and understanding. I walk away weekly having learned more than I could ever teach. There is truly a New Way of dealing with the trauma in our lives. We must learn to go through the struggle together because we come out closer and stronger in unity on the other side. We are human! We are love. We are family.
In a time when our nation’s highest administration is working to build barriers to keep refugees out of the country, Something New is committed to building community with our neighbors in Clarkston, GA. Clarkston is an example of a community where new neighbors and long-time residents are embracing the challenges that come with building a strong community. It is a place where many cultures and languages collide and where people are discovering the strength in diversity. It is a place where bridges are working better than walls. Clarkston is worth exploring and a powerful place to learn more about refugee resettlement and get involved, now is the time!
With its high population of recently resettled refugees, Clarkston, GA is a vibrant community—rich in diverse experiences, cultures, and by extension—food! Located just a few miles from downtown Atlanta, Clarkston is a small town that takes you on a trip around the world in just a few blocks.
The residents of Clarkston are from all over — Burma, Bhutan, Cuba, Somalia, the Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Refugees from these countries bring with them their own ways of life, as well as the incredible and difficult circumstances they have endured on their journey to rebuilding their lives.
About 85% of local businesses are owned by people who came to Clarkston as refugees. Students attend schools where 60 languages are spoken and adults often work multiple minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. As people work to rebuild their lives, about 40% live below the poverty line and many adults are not able to work in the same careers they had in their home countries.
Each refugee has a story of war, separation, violence and hardship and they also share a common drive to build a safe, secure, and brighter future for their children and new community. The daily demonstration of sacrifice and the warm hospitality felt among new neighbors makes Clarkston a unique and powerful place for an alternative break.
We were recently featured in the City of Clarkston Connection (April 2017) Here is what they had to say about our Alternative Break program and students: Clarkston Connection
For many students who came to Clarkston for spring break, this was first service learning trip with Something New. Abby, from University of Wisconsin Eau Claire had an amazing trip. Here’s what she had to say:
“I truly believe that the experiences you least expect are the experiences that change your life the most. For me, the Alternative Spring Break Trip to Clarkston was just that; unexpected and life altering. I remember attending an informational meeting about the trip, and not understanding why no one could explain what the trip was like for them. It took me personally being in Clarkson to understand the perplexity of emotions and thoughts that go through your mind when trying to describe what your spring break was like. Not only was it inspiring and emotional, but uplifting. For the first time in my life, I felt at home. I was surrounded by people I knew who cared for me, and had my best interest in mind. To be in place of complete honesty, vulnerability, and love is not an environment that is common. The volunteers at Something New are the reason why I experienced many of these emotions, and experiences. The Something New volunteers are a special group of dedicated, devoted, and loving crew who were welcoming from day one.
In my efforts for others to experience the dedication of the Something New Organization, I do my best to share my ASB trip experience with those who have little knowledge of the trip itself. I hope to inspire others to take action, join the Alternative Spring Break trip next year, and to create positive encourage for others out there to continue supporting the wonderful Something New Organization.”
Get a glimpse of what our #ASB2017 was all about! Here is our Closing Video for Week 3:
Definition: relating to behavior that is considered unconventional and is often seen as a challenge to traditional norms.
Synonyms: revolutionary, out of the ordinary, non-standard, radical, unconventional, uncommon, unusual, nonconformist, different, possible
Something New just wrapped up an exciting spring break season, welcoming over 200 students from 15 schools for an ‘alternative’ take to their spring break. Just days after President Trump’s revised travel ban and continued halt to the U.S. refugee resettlement program, our New Alternative participants spent the week, serving, learning, and training in Clarkston, GA — a new home for many from conflict zones around the world who are seeking freedom and opportunities for their children. Clarkston, GA is known to be the “most diverse square mile in the United States”. The students chose to spend their week participating in Something New’s service-learning program, New Alternative.
Our groups collectively spent over 360 hours serving in the Clarkston community. Students volunteered in schools that represent 60+ native languages, and found that it was possible to connect despite language and age barriers. While our students weren’t serving in the classroom or at a local after school program, they were outside preparing community gardens for fresh crops and clearing parks and recreation areas for the community’s use.
In addition to service-our students participated in a variety of educational activities. They learned about civil and human rights at The Center for Civil and Human Rights, learned from community leaders during a panel at the Clarkston Community Center, and had an opportunity to learn more about nonviolence and how the nonviolence journey begins within themselves through our introductory New Way training.
Student highlights included learning more about refugee resettlement along with learning more about themselves and making new friends. Thank you to everyone who came during March — we are so glad to know you and can’t wait to see you again!
If this sounds like a trip for your college or university, please contact our New Alternative director, Emily Mumford for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What is the Revolution Summit?
The New Way Revolution Summit is open to all—students, professionals, community leaders, and people seeking the tools and knowledge to apply nonviolence as a lifestyle and as a change-generating tactic in a variety of settings.
The Summit will focus specifically on equipping college students, professionals, and community leaders to effectively incorporate real-world peacemaking and conflict reconciliation strategies in support of diversity, inclusion, and meaningful coexistence.
Attendees will get immediate practice applying principles learned in the training room as they engage in direct action and community service opportunities in the Atlanta area. With support from New Way trainers and staff, participants will create personal action plans to take home and will benefit from ongoing support throughout the year.
What is the cost and what does cover?
The cost of the Summit is $289. It covers the training, material, continental breakfast, lunch, and snacks each day. It does not cover cost of housing or transportation to and from Atlanta. Participants will be sent an invoice prior to the Summit.
Where do I register?
Register for the Summit HERE. Please note on the form if you’re interested in applying for a scholarship. We will send that application separately.
If you have any questions, contact Ronald Smith (845-671-1353 or email@example.com)