Westerly Students Partner With Oasis Community Center; Create Murals for Residential Playground

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Westerly 7th grader Andrew Petrarca and 6th grader Christina working side by side with child resident of the Villages.

Westerly 7th grader Andrew Petrarca and 6th grader Christina working side by side with child resident of the Villages.

Westerly School’s 6th through 8th grade Leadership class is reaching out to provide hope for kids fighting homelessness. The students have partnered with the Oasis Community Center located at the Century Villages at Cabrillo to create six murals for the residential playground. The project will be completed through the collaboration of Westerly students and the children living at Century Villages at Cabrillo.

The students from Westerly made their first visit to the Villages where they joined with their new partners and got to know one another, shared laughs, and participated in group art projects. They used artistic expression to tell stories, visualize ideas, and talk about hopes and dreams, all of which ultimately made it on to paper with markers and pastels.

Westerly students collected over 20 different pieces of art depicting hopes and dreams of all involved. The students later projected these images onto 6 different 4×4 foot panels which allowed them to trace the original work. Westerly retuned to the Villages last Friday where they brought music, pizza and lots of paint! The students, staff and residents spent hours working together on painting the murals and channeling their “inner artist”.

“A huge part of Westerly’s Leadership class is encouraging students to think beyond themselves and work to better the community as a whole. Projects such as this show an immense amount of growth in our students.” says David Perram, Westerly’s Director of Student Affairs.

The Director of Community Development at CVC, Kimberly Crawford remarked that “So often the children we work with at the Oasis Center feel burdened and stressed about their life and situation and it’s nice to give them an opportunity to step out of that and just be kids with hopes and dreams” one of our young participants Suzie, who is 7 years old said “A dream is something you don’t have now but if you work hard can have someday”

The murals turned out to be a terrific experience for all involved. The student work depicting hopes and dreams will hang proud for many years to come.

ABOUT WESTERLY SCHOOL
Westerly School, Long Beach’s premiere independent school, serves students in Kindergarten through eighth grade by igniting a lifelong love of learning through innovative instruction, collaborative projects, and community involvement through student leadership. With its whole-child philosophy and safe-learning community, Westerly nurtures students’ creativity, forming problem-solvers and idea-makers prepare for the ever-changing world. Westerly School is a non-profit, non-denominational independent school located on a five-acre campus in the heart of Long Beach. For more information about Westerly School, please visit www.westerlyschool.org

ABOUT CENTURY VILLAGES AT CABRILLO
Century Villages at Cabrillo (CVC) is a residential community established to break the cycle of homelessness. A former 26-acre US Naval housing site, CVC has become a nationwide public-private partnership model to benefit those in need. A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, CVC was established in 1997 when the US Department of Defense transferred the land to CVC under the McKinney Act for the purpose of providing transitional and permanent housing to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless. For more information about Century Villages at Cabrillo please visit www.centuryvillages.org

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