HOPEFUL stories deserve to stand out more than the ones rocking Hope’s potential. Here’s my highlight this week:
Last summer, I began a new youth workshop theme called “Play…Dream…Imagine.” With every child connected to technology in one way or another, it’s becoming increasingly rare to “just be.” Adults are as hooked as the kids, and one television commercial epitomizes that with “Have you talked to your kids today?”
The purpose of my workshop is to incite families, through a child’s eyes, to play, dream and imagine. Play the name-game aloud while riding in the car. Lie on the lawn at night and dream up crazy names for the stars. Imagine something big you’re able to do to make a difference. Those are some of my challenges to students, as I work with them to create their own hopeful story.
This week, I came across a story of an artist who created a project that brought playful imagination and dreams alive in her community. Candy Chang is an artist, designer and urban planner. Her project, “Before I Die, What is important to you” culminated nearly a year ago in New Orleans. With permits in place to use the side of an abandoned building, she invited friends and neighbors to create a wall of inspiration by filling in the blank: Before I die I want to___________.
“Before I Die is an interactive public art project that invites people to share their hopes and dreams in a public space…the responses have ranged from the funny and creative to the thoughtful and heartbreaking.” Many of the responses captured my attention and this one made me smile: be published. My fill in the blank includes: before I die I want to see a cure for cancer; before I die I want to skydive; before I die I want to become a grandmother; and more! What’s on your list?
Some would call the project a bucket list. Yet, I think of it as a living list; what have you put off, not done, let fall by the wayside because the child tucked inside of you no longer plays, dreams or imagines. The before I die project has been replicated in cities around the world. Imagine the impact you could have by playing with your tucked away dreams!
Candy Chang’s project is a hopeful news story that received (and continues to receive) deserved attention. She brought together a community to share an art project; in the process they shared their hearts and dreams, and inspired one another. To read about the project and see where it’s traveled, visit Candy’s site.