Bridging The Gap for Social Inclusion
A Community Collaborative Event with UNE
During the Fall 2016 semester, two students from the University of New England’s School of Social Work, Lisa DiGiovanni and Lauren Dembski - both 2016 School of Social Work graduates - collaborated with Kesho Wazo on a Social Inclusion/ Art project. The UNE students facilitated discussions and focus groups with Kesho Wazo, learning about young people’s lives. Dembski and Kesho Wazo also worked with Casco Bay High school, running focus groups in the classroom to include students’ thoughts and experiences. They supplemented these discussions with written and creative media, engaging students in uncomfortable but critical conversations around issues of race and the cultural gaps within education. The UNE students and Kesho Wazo participants used the material generated from the focus groups to create an arts project: a physical bridge that depicts ideas of how the community can bridge social gaps that exist in our society. They revealed the bridge at an event on the Portland UNE campus in December and shared stories, poetry, and ideas for future collaboration with the professors, students and members of the community.