Some people do it because they have to, maybe they had a run-in with the law, or maybe they are a student at MIAD and simply need to graduate. In order to receive that diploma, they have to pass the Service Learning class that the school requires, by donating thirty-five hours of their time to local organizations and services. To others, volunteering comes to them as second nature. These are the people that have been doing it forever, volunteering at the places that hold a certain importance to
them, and because they already know that by volunteering they enrich not only their own life, but also the lives of others. I myself volunteered for class last year, and although I was one of the students that didnâ€™t really understand what the school was trying to do, making us complete thirtyfive hours of service, when our workload was so heavy that we could barely find the time to breathe. I will admit, however, that at the end of the day, when my service was complete, I came away with a feeling of accomplishment, a feeling of truly helping others, of undoubtably doing some good for someone else, and realized that one can always find the time to provide assistance to their community.The best part about the whole experience though, was the part where I learned a bit more about myself along the way. The stories in this issue are all contributions from MIAD students. Some of them are about service that they completed to fill the hours for the class requirement, others are about service provided for service-sake. No matter the case, I think that we would all agree that providing our time to contribute to the wellbeing and happiness of our community and neighbors was well worth the effort, and well worth the journey that we are all on, this journey towards self-discovery. Happy Reading,
Kristen Palzkill Editor
Photo by Juan Hernandez
Photos by Kristen Palzkill. Photos of Chad by Xavier Ruffin.
A sense of community is the binding force that ties a population together. People of all ages, races, creeds, and denominations unite in the common goal of striving towards the betterment of their collective environment. Throughout the evolution of the human populous, an omnipresent awareness has instilled itself into the minds of community members and motivates them to create the ideal milieu in which to prosper. Of course magnificent acts of good will such as large donations to hospitals or other non-profit organizations greatly influence and bolster a community; it is important to note, however, that even the most meek of contributions to one’s community can bear a substantial impact. At the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, residence hall director Chad Dodds is an exemplary model of such a philosophy. In a continuous effort to improve the community and environment around him, Chad Dodds’ efforts perhaps go unnoticed or unheralded, but the consequential results of his actions
are quite evident in the community and lead by example the sort of influence an ordinary person can have on society. If it is true that people are indeed products of their environment, then it can easily be inferred that a beautiful community breeds beautiful individuals; it is therefore every member of a community’s responsibility to keep their neighborhoods clean and maintained. Practicing as he may preach, Chad Dodds has been known to walk through the city of Milwaukee, en route to whatever his destination may be, with a garbage bag to collect all the litter he comes across on his journey. To most people, giving up the convenience of driving or even taking public transportation to clean up litter seems like a large task. To Dodds, however, it is nothing more than a way to “get good exercise, meet some real cool folks, hang out outside, and by default clean up the community. Somehow it’s different in people’s minds when it’s not labeled as an organized litter pick-up or community event.” Herein lies the true spirit of community; the ability to keep in mind that one does not need to be a member of any larger organization in order to help the community, in any magnitude, is possibly the greatest asset to society. Any community in the world would benefit greatly if this mindset was more prevalent, if there were more people
willing to take a few extra minutes out of their day to find a way to improve the world around them, the benefits would become immediately evident. Improving a community is not limited to enriching the environment though; much of the enhancement of a community comes from the camaraderie of its inhabitants. People need to remember that we are all in this together, that for better or for worse, our actions towards one another form the fabric of society. Similar to improving the natural community in which one lives, improving the psychological environment can be attained through minor actions and meager changes of one’s lifestyle. As Dodds explains, “I just live my life and try to help people when I can. If that is opening a door for somebody, saying good morning, or just giving a high-five and a smile, it’s really pretty natural. I don’t see it as anything too spectacular, but I do believe it helps.” The eloquence of this statement lies in the fact that the actions are nothing too spectacular; none of the deeds listed are drastically or overtly influential to a sense of community, but they are all aspects of the foundation of a strong community.
Chad Dodds may not be some kind of an idealized superhero, he does not roam the streets at night in a cape to fight evil and protect the community, but he does not have to. No one has to go through such lengths to bring about change in the community. The lesson of Dodds is that through everyday actions people can positively influence society by being conscientious of their actions and the subsequent results of these actions. “When you can help others, do it. It’s a really simple concept,” and by abiding this simple concept, anyone and everyone could, and should, help in improving their own communities.
The heartwarming words of a mother to her son still buzz in my ear from over a decade ago. Since I can remember I have always been partial to strapping on some boots and slipping on some gloves to go work outside. It always brought about a sense of accomplishment because you could always see the results of what you just did, unlike design sometimes. While at the time I hated it, subconsciously I enjoyed it because, well, I was just damn good at it. ow enrolled at MIAD living in down town Milwaukee there just isnâ€™t much labor to take part in, or my mom cracking down the whip. But when I heard about the opportunity to pull up my sleeves and get my hands dirty I was already aboard. I spent a semester working at Growing Power, Milwaukeeâ€™s only urban farm, digging ditches and potting plants. I quickly became Growing Powers weekly volunteer workhorse, logging in long days and doing it all with a half smile, it was work after all.
Growing Power spends their time planting and harvesting fresh organic fruits and vegetables, that they then sell back to the community in order to raise awareness about health and self sustainability. Growing Power was originally created by founder, Will Allen, to offer a program to teens that enabled them to work in his greenhouses to grow food for their community. What started off as a goal to help change the north side of Milwaukee, turned into a national and global rethinking on sustainable food systems.
rowing Power now works with the Community Food Center, the Whitcomb Mason Boys and Girls Club, Youth Corps, School Gardens, and other Community Gardens. The one program I was able to take a part in was the Maple Tree School and Community Garden, which is a partnership between Growing Power and Maple Tree School. With this partnership, members of the community and school are provided with an opportunity to learn basics of organic agriculture and develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills, along with other
valuable skills. Volunteers from all over get together and install over a thousand feet of raised garden beds in this community, and at the end of the summer 13 community youth members receive stipends and weekly produce from the garden, in exchange for keeping the garden maintained and producing efficiently. This helps keep the kids of this community out of trouble along with teaching them a valuable skill set that will serve them later in life.
I had partaken in jobs such as digging a 4 foot wide, 30 feet long, and 5 food deep ditch for the new aquaponics system there were installing. On several occasions I joined a team that would take a huge compost pile, fill up an entire semi-truck 4 feet high with the compost and then transport it somewhere else. And when we got there, we then just unloaded it the same way we got it in, one wheel barrel at a time. Potting soil and pulling weeds became a space filler between major projects at GP, because it always seemed like there was something to be done. Not once was there a time when they didnâ€™t have work for me, it was just a matter of who was going to get to use me.
fter a few weeks I came to grow a sense of pride in what they were doing for the community. It is one thing to give someone food and pat them on the rump, but it is truly helpful to teach them how to get involved in their own sustainable foods, by teaching them how to grow, work, and get involved in the community. The work Growing Power is doing doesnâ€™t have an immediate effect, but over time it will help reshape and grow Milwaukeeâ€™s North side
communities that are in need of change. In a time where money is often short, space is even shorter, and time is the only thing we seem to have on our hands; it is important for people to learn how to get involved in self-sustained growing for themselves and their community. Growing Power is here to help that dream come true.
has a certain place that, as a child, they could release and be themselves. Whether it was a play room filled with hundreds of toys, a backyard that turned into a different adventure daily, or a camp that provided a complete escape from the normal world, each person had a deep connection that, for some reason, grew stale over time. Many people leave these places behind or forget them as they grow. However, there are those few places that stick with us no matter where life takes us. This past summer, I spent what could be my final week volunteering at a camp that I have attended for the past ten summers. I started as an eleven year old Pathfinder, moved up through the camper ranks, and have worked as a volunteer counselor for the last four years. Nothing could replace camp in my life, but as I graduate and find a job, finding the weeks to return is getting harder and harder. As a possible farewell I decided to make sure that, while I might be leaving camp physically, there will always be a piece of me there to stay. I have always dreamt of doing a largescale painting of some of my favorite places around camp. From the time I started there, I believed that it was one of
the most beautiful places I had ever been. As my junior year progressed, I realized that most of my summer was going to be taken up by a design internship, and over the past few summers have seen my free time reduced. Realizing that this might be my last chance to spend some good time at camp, I figured it was now or never. I got in contact with the
owner and the Camp Director who I have grown to know over the years and brought up the idea of donating a large painting. I also expressed how I could do the painting in the open air, at camp during the final session. This would not only give me a chance to go up, but campers as well as staff would have the opportunity to watch as the painting took shape. After all the plans were set, I waited as the summer went for the final session to arrive.
and my excitement drew it out even more, but I arrived on the Monday of camp to hugs from my friends and introductions to the new staff. There were a lot of new faces, but much of the same Camp. As I began painting, campers and counselor alike grew interested. They would sit and watch as the Boat House emerged from the canvas; Sit in awe as sketched turned into a painting; Ask more questions than I thought a landscape could ever inspire. Each day passed and each day a new face would be sitting behind me as I worked. I left camp at the end of the week, a new six foot tall painting of the Boat House hung in my place. As I drove I questioned whether anything was helped at all or if I just used my talent to con my way to camp for a week. I struggled with this until I started getting e-mails, calls, and notes. People saying how wonderful they thought the picture was, how greatly it captured camp, how much fun they had watching me paint. I realized that, though painting is something I take for granted, to others it is an amazing gift. Giving this gift to Camp was probably the best thing I could have done as a farewell. After ten years of enjoying Camp Olson and taking so much from it, I found a way to leave a piece of myself and a beautiful gift to the place that was my release for so many summers.
I believe that it’s a soda, not a pop, that drinking is for when you’re thirsty, and that love, beauty, light, and truth live, hidden in all of us. I believe that there are good people, there are people trying to be good, and that evil is a choice, not a person. I believe that happiness is basking in the company of those that love you, and my happiest moments are those fragments during which I first perceived love—staying up late talking to my little brother, asleep with one friend on each shoulder after a Chicago day-trip, sandwiched between them on the train ride home, listening to them breathing and knowing that I belong there. I believe that home is where you are accepted, where the lights are left on for you at night. Home can be held between my mother’s arms. I believe that everyone is flawed, that death is a part of life; regret, a waste of time. I believe that the greatest gifts can’t be earned—we’ll always be falling short of deserving them. I believe that I am over analytical, I fear that I am crazy, I wonder if I’m creative enough to be an artist for my entire life. I believe that everyone should be listened to, and my only enemy to that aspiration is time, who spites me for neglecting him. I believe that knowledge is a drink most sublime, and I don’t care if the cup is half empty or half full, I’m drinking the rest of it. I believe that the sky is a gift, and that all living things have value, something to teach, something to give.
All opinions based on reason have merit, and there is rarely a definitive right or wrong unless someone gets hurt. That’s never right. Ever. I believe that the greatest sin one can commit is to injure another human being, because all human beings are the same at the core and by injuring another, I injure myself. I guess you could say I believe in karma. I believe that human beings are relatively simple—we all want the same things, but the depths of our experiences and how we perceive the world, how we go about attaining what we seek make us too complex for even ourselves to understand. I think that if I try my best to understand others, I might begin to understand myself because lets face it—aside from my name, my statistics there’s not much that I can fully comprehend. I do things because I think they’re right, because my experience has taught me no other way. There’s always something to be learned, life is a gift, and things never go perfectly if you expect them to. Best of all, I believe that anything is possible. Happiness? It’s possible if you want it bad enough. Vanilla ice cream and cocoa pebbles for breakfast? I’ve done it.
Each semester, MIAD students volunteer their time and energy at area establishments. Out of the 33 Communication Design majors polled, 10 had not yet completed their service hours, 6 served out of the area, and 17 served in local Milwaukee neighborhoods. At local placements, 677 hours were collectively served, and hereâ€™s how it all panned out.
The moment you hear someone is sick, every memory you have with that person is pulled out from the file folders deep within your mind. I distinctly remember every moment on my Maddie timeline–every birthday party, sleepover, school day, and trip. I remember the day walking to softball practice that I found out about Maddie’s cancer. I remember receiving the terrible phone call two years later from Emma, my best friend.“Mar, Maddie passed away tonight.” My steadily increasing heartbeat filled my ears and pounded into the receiver of the telephone. Every Maddie memory I had came racing through my mind. The memories wrapped themselves into a ball that lodged itself tightly within my throat.
In my lifetime, I had only been to one funeral. My great grandfather lived to be one-hundred years old. Here I was at my second, Maddie Paguyo, victim of a brain tumor at the age of fourteen. Emma and I entered my church arm in arm. Boards and posters covered in photographs, awards, and report cards from Maddie’s life surrounded the large lobby. I never looked at them; I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I have always regretted that. I saw Dannie; Maddies best friend; Emma’s little sister. I grabbed her and held her tightly, the fresh smell of perfume in her hair.“I’m okay,” she told me. I realized in that moment what was going on. Maddie’s family and close friends had months to say their goodbyes. This one day was for the rest of us to get our chance to do the same. It was surreal. I sat in the pew of the sanctuary where I had slept through services, sung, colored, received my first communion and been confirmed. Every person who had known Maddie whether directly or indirectly was gathered in one room. I thought to myself, who would be at my funeral? Emma’s head rested on my shoulder and for the first time in my life, I contemplated death; how quickly things can be taken away. A slideshow of pictures brought both tears and laughter. Maddie’s poetry was read, her middle school choir sang, and one by one, her friends stepped towards the altar and spoke. Dannie walked down the long aisle towards the podium and Emma’s grip tightened on my hand. She was our mutual little sister, our baby, put in such an adult position and handling it with such poise and maturity. We were proud of her composure yet, at the same time, torn apart by her pain. I believe that we all have one moment in our young lives in which reality suddenly snaps into place. Maddies death was that moment for me. Maddie taught me that life is short. She always wanted to be a teacher, and at the age of fourteen, she did just that. She taught all of us that life can throw terrible things your way but you must roll with the punches. I believe that every moment, and every memory must be cherished. Nothing is forever.