Summer'12 Newsletter A World of Values The Ark has many components, a wide variety of programs and people, is supported by a broad cross-section of the community and works on a variety of levels. As we say, it is 'more than a meal!' In this edition of the newsletter, Jeremy Jeresky, founder of our art program, The New School of Colour (NSoC) reflects on his involvement here and what the Ark means to him. I first walked through the door of the Ark Aid Mission two and half years ago. As an artist, I was, and continue to be interested in facilitating public art projects which encourage inclusiveness and dialogue. Subsequently, with the encouragement and support of Douglas Whitelaw and many volunteers, I was able to establish an open and free art studio in the basement of the Ark. This program came to be known as The New School of Colour. It primarily caters to the needs and interests of the Ark's constituency. However, many community members from Western University, Kings College and Huron College often volunteer and participate in the program. This socially integrative sensibility inherent in The New School of Colour enables and encourages a highly diverse experience for participants. Furthermore, community art exhibitions are often organized and manifested collectively by this diverse range of participants. NSoC meets Mon. & Wed. evenings. Many of the paintings are for sale. An average of 20 people participate each night.
As this program continues to grow, many opportunities for larger collaborative endeavours have developed. Agencies and programs such as Women's Community House, Teen Challenge, The Cross Cultural Learner Centre, Grit Uplifted creative writing journal, and the Unity Project have worked with myself and The New School of Colour. These special projects have served to promote a greater sense of community between the agencies and those who access their services.
Every now and then I reflect on my experiences at the Ark as not only that of an artist, but as a human being. Doing so has allowed me to think about how being involved with the Ark Aid has changed my life in the most nuanced and visceral way imaginable. Undoubtedly, working with community members who are dealing with social and personal issues of poverty, mental health, and drug addiction (to mention a few), has widened my perspective and understanding of the effect that such issues have on people in our community. On a personal level, I think the most significant aspect of this experience has allowed me to fully realize the power of compassion and love typified by Jesus Christ in Mark 12:31 and in Luke 6:35. It really is through my experiences with those who access the services of the Ark, its volunteers and through the wisdom of Douglas Whitelaw that I have been fortunate to learn, understand and live a life emulating the values of compassion and love. These are values that I also endeavour to bring into The New School of Colour as a way to establish an ethos that is accepting and encouraging. Undoubtedly, the fruits of such sensibilities leads to joy, and I am happy to say that both the Ark and The New School of Colour bring joy to many members of our community. The Ark Aid Street Mission, Inc
696 Dundas Street E., London, Ontario N5W 2Z4 Tel. 519-667-0322 Fax: 226-289-3045 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.arkaidmission.com
Canada Summer Jobs The Ark is pleased to have received a Canada Summer Jobs grant to hire a student. Josh Baldeosingh returns again this year to help particularly in connecting with our younger clients. He connects well with all sorts of people and folks are glad to have him back. Josh graduated this spring from UWO and plans on attending Tyndale Seminary in September.
Where is the Ark T-shirt? One of the Ark volunteers is Kevin J. who also happens to be the Canadian Lawn Bowling Champion. In April, he participated in the World Championship in Wales, proudly wearing an Ark T-shirt. T-shirts can be purchased from our website or at the office for $15 and they raise funds for the Ark. Where will you wear your shirt? Send in a picture and we'll see where the Ark travels this summer!
More NSoC Watch the NSoC video on the News page of our website
Saturday, September 29 – our third Ride for Refuge. We need people to ride – 10, 25 or 50 km and we need people to sponsor those riders. More info at www.rideforrefuge.org, choose 'Partners' from the left hand menu to find the Ark page. Follow the directions to register a team, join a team or sponsor a rider. Last year our riders raised $7000 for the Ark. Let's top that!
Summer Days You might think that the warm weather would reduce the number of folks coming in for meals and snacks. In fact, weather plays very little role in determining those numbers. It just seems that more and more people are coming – new people and familiar faces more often. In a way, I wish it were not so. But, at least the Ark is here and seems to be doing something right. We are so thankful for the food that arrives, almost daily and the volunteers to serve it. Thanks to all those who have given clothing, food, or funds this year. You are making a difference to many people. There is a long summer ahead, with lots of need. If you can help the Ark care for someone during these hot days, it will not go unnoticed. From everyone at the Ark, have a great summer! Doug Whitelaw Executive Director