Wesley Prep Students,
Homeless Women Team to Create Poetry

What began as a school project of delivering Christmas cards and food to a transitional housing center grew into a weekly poetry workshop and a lasting bond between Wesley Prep fourth-graders and women of Austin Street Center.

poetry

A group of fourth-graders and women from a homeless shelter are calling for the people of Dallas to find common ground through works of poetry. 

What began as a school project of delivering Christmas cards and food to a transitional housing center grew into a weekly poetry workshop and a lasting bond between Wesley Prep fourth-graders and women of Austin Street Center, Park Cities People reported

Fourth grade teacher, Lori Cousino, told Park Cities People’s Brian Kendall she led the Common Ground Experiment in hopes to cultivate students’ creativity and introduce a connection of support between the kids and underserved women. 

[Photo: Screenshot via Common Ground video]

“They truly bonded, and I don’t think the relationships are over yet.” 

Monica McGee

“It’s an unlikely pairing,”Cousino told the newspaper. “You wouldn’t think kids from a private school in Dallas and someone in a homeless shelter would become friends.”

During their meetings at Austin Street Center twice a week, the ladies and students developed a long-lasting bond by writing poems together to inspire their community.

“I saw compassion and love from [the women of Austin Street] I hadn’t seen before,” Austin Street Center women’s program manager, Monica McGee, told Park Cities People. “They truly bonded, and I don’t think the relationships are over yet.”

According to Park Cities People, the students delivered their poetry with their Austin Street partners to a full coffeehouse April 29 at Opening Bell Coffee, and ended the event by gathering all Common Ground Experiment participants onstage to deliver a poem together.

The Opening Bell.  [Photo: Screenshot via Common Ground video]

Students raised money to create a book of their workshop poems and are currently selling them on the project’s website to benefit the shelter. 

The students and women are planning some events to stay in touch over the summer, according to the Common Ground Experiment Facebook page. Several of the women who worked with the students have recently transitioned into permanent housing, so students are collecting money to purchase household items for the women. 


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