Spring 2018 Garden Hill Fund grant recipients
Brooke Brewer s96 ($5600)
Documamas / Another Kind of Girl Collective — Jordan and Peru
The Another Kind of Girl Collective (AKGC), a media arts collective of young women living in displacement, began as a project working with Syrian refugee girls. In summer 2018 the AKGC will conduct a cross-cultural pilot project: a visual exploration, cultural exchange, and co-creation process between four teenage mothers living in two different displaced communities—two indigenous Shipibo teens in Lima, Peru, and two Syrian teens living as refugees in Jordan—resulting in a finished film. Each of the young women has previously made a film documenting her life within her respective community, but as they all step into their roles as mothers and transition into young womanhood, they want to document this moment, share it with others and, in one girl’s words, “show the world what it’s like to be a mother and a little girl at the same time.” AKGC will facilitate workshops with these artists to help them collaborate and to document their experiences of young motherhood in these transitional spaces. Through this, and future, cross-community collaborations, we intend to hone a model built on deep work, sustained relationships, and increased equity and access. We know there is a global power imbalance in representation through media, and we believe this work can be part of larger processes of shifting those power dynamics.
John Lynch s01 ($1200)
Volunteer support for STEAM Youth Teacher Training — Boston, MA
Volunteering in community education at the South End Technology Center at Tent City (SETC), John will co-author a creative computing curriculum and mentor 25 youth teachers who will bring it to 600+ elementary students in free, city-wide STEAM camps. SETC invited John to develop curriculum for their Learn2Teach-Teach2Learn program, whose mission is “to create a critical mass of Boston youth creatively engaged in the latest STEAM (STEM + Arts) education who can help catalyze deep cultural change in their communities.” Each spring, the SETC trains 30 high school students of color as youth teachers. The youth teachers then bring the curriculum to free STEAM camps for elementary students each summer. In late July, youth teachers present their work to other professional educators and academics at the Scratch@MIT conference.
John will have two roles as a volunteer: in the first role, he will develop curriculum to teach students to use MIT’s free programming language, Scratch, to create their own interactive stories and games, developing their understanding of computer science in a fun and personal way. Students will then build physical controllers to interact with their programs, learning about electrical engineering through craft and building projects. John's second role will be to mentor and train Learn2Teach-Teach2Learn youth teachers who run these lessons and activities for elementary students in the summer. Once the elementary summer programs begin, he will provide support to youth teachers in the field, and help them prepare for their Scratch@MIT presentations. John is a full-time stay-at-home parent who is taking a break from his career as an elementary math teacher, and the GHF grant will provide funding for childcare so John can attend SETC planning sessions and mentor students during the week.
Rose McDonough f00 ($2400)
Growing Colorado Kids — Denver, CO
Growing Colorado Kids (GCK) advocates for newly resettled refugee youth by teaching important life skills and growing thousands of pounds of fresh produce. GHF funding will purchase blackberry bushes to expand our growing to fruits; will fund the 'Volunteers' line item in our budget; and will help pay for general operating expenses. GCK began in 2008 when founders Denise and Chris Lines became aware of food shortages affecting many of the young refugee children. The program began by utilizing inner-city garden plots to grow food with and for the youth and their families. Volunteers worked with the youth, educating them about gardening and creating a supportive community. The program underwent a shift in 2013 when GCK moved to a one-acre plot at the farm owned by the founders. This enabled all program youth to learn and work together and increase their capacity to produce food for their own families and to donate to local organizations fighting hunger. In a very short period of time, GCK has transitioned from primarily a hunger abatement program to a farm program that provides opportunities for learning, leadership, teamwork, community building, and fun. The high school graduation rate of GCK program participants is 100%, with all graduates either now in college or gainfully employed.
Sylvia Ryerson s04 ($4800)
Voices Beyond Walls
Voices Beyond Walls is a participatory radio project that aims to enact meaningful and affordable communication for families separated by the U.S. immigrant detention system, and bring public awareness to the largely invisible crisis of prolonged and indefinite immigrant detention. The United States has the largest immigration detention system in the world, detaining approximately 380,000 to 442,000 people per year. Thousands of people—including legal permanent residents with longstanding family and community ties, asylum-seekers, and victims of human trafficking—are detained for weeks, months, and sometimes years. Immigrant rights activists have long called for an end to the inhumane practice of prolonged and indefinite detention. And yet, in a recent and devastating blow, on February 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people in immigrant detention have no right to periodic bond hearings, meaning there is no constitutional requirement to expedite their cases and ensuring that the cruel practice of prolonged detention will continue. People in prolonged detention are often isolated from access to legal assistance and community support, and are vulnerable to abuse. Staying in touch with one’s family is a critical lifeline of support. Yet even this right can become extremely difficult and prohibitively expensive—visitation time is limited, phone calls and travel are costly.
Sylvia is an independent radio producer, sound artist, and journalist who is working with families that have loved ones held in immigrant detention to create “audio postcards” from home. The pieces capture the sounds of everyday life—a walk through one’s neighborhood, family gatherings, a child being put to bed—and then weave these soundscapes together with music and family voices speaking their personal hopes, dreams, and memories, so that each audio postcard becomes a sonic affirmation of the recipients’ belonging to the world beyond detention walls, and to a home in the United States. The audio postcards will be broadcast on public radio stations to reach those currently in detention and the general listening audience. Each audio postcard is a unique act of resistance rooted in love that reveals the abnormality and inhumanity of our present immigration system, and imagines something better.
Tyler Eldridge s08 ($6000)
Solar Home for Abandoned Youth — Sao Paulo, Brazil
We will create a solar power system at Lar do Menor, a children's orphanage in Sao Paulo. Lar do Menor is an orphanage founded in 1987 which takes abandoned children off the streets and provides an opportunity for them to live, learn, play, and grow. The solar system will reduce the orphanage's electricity costs by over $3,000 per year (and $37,500 over the life of the project), allowing them to better serve the children, as well as providing the children an opportunity to learn about energy/environmental issues and contributing toward Brazil's adoption of clean energy. The first objective of this project is the installation and continued operation of a solar power project at Lar do Menor's main building. The second objective is to create an avenue through which this project and similar projects can be supported by charitable giving.
Tyler operates a small company, Brasol, which will contribute to the community by building and operating solar power systems for charitable organizations in Sao Paulo. Many people have expressed interest in contributing funds to build such solar power projects, and Brasol is willing to contribute its project management, design, and execution capabilities to further this effort. Success on this second objective will be the formation of a 401(c)3 organization capable of raising funds for additional charitable solar projects in Brazil. On both fronts, this project will also serve as a model for how businesses can create good in their communities. In Brazil, charitable work tends to be top-down through large organizations. This project offers an alternative: a small business leveraging its skills and capabilities to do good in its community. In this instance, Brasol will not only contribute to the successful installation of the solar power project but will also bear the costs of the on-going maintenance and up-keep of the system. Here, success would be additional small businesses following suit and finding ways to contribute their talents to building better communities.
Celebrating a record year in alumni donations
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all 886 alumni who demonstrated their Mountain School pride and devotion by contributing $278,464 this past year. We surpassed our collective fundraising goal of $250,000 and raised $50,000 more than the prior fiscal year. All of these funds go directly to closing the $1 million dollar gap between tuition income and the school's expenses, including an outlay of more than $650,000 of financial aid.
Participation was down by 4%, registering a 32% giving rate. We hope that in this current fund year—ending June 30, 2019—we will be able to return to the 1,000+ contributor level, as each gift makes a big impact.
We are grateful for the more than 100 volunteer fundraising agents who give of their time, creativity, and commitment to their semesters to achieve these impressive results. Along with class agents, they are the true bonding agents that account for this high level of semester-by-semester giving performance.
Showing their indomitable pioneering spirit, the first semester ever at the Mountain School, f84, led by Margaret Chandler Martin and Kristen Richards Parnes, once again topped the list of semester participation with more than half the semester contributing! Julia Brasfield, newly on board helping s88, stepped up to successfully encourage 53% of the s88 group to donate and remember the incredible journey they began together 30 years ago. Celebrating 25 years since their Mountain School semester, s93 took top honors in dollars raised by a semester with $26,525.
On the other end of the age spectrum, s17, the most recent semester engaged with giving back, proved their mettle with 34 members contributing to the 2018 Sugaring Challenge. Noa Schumann s17 organized that effort, and Rory O'Holleran also galvanized support from the competing f16 group, which collected donations from 27 classmates. Hurray for a fabulous launch showing their giving potential and legacy!
Thanks again to all our alumni contributors. You truly help sustain the Mountain School.
Summer Session: the start of something new
About 50 alumni plus their families came to campus July 27-29 for a vibrant weekend of learning, fun, and connection. Sessions included design thinking, pop-up placemaking, leading a values-based career, carbon pricing in higher education and corporations, beekeeping, a science hike and a poetry hike, creative writing, learning about wild edible plants and timber framing, and more, plus kids' activities and impressive evening entertainment. Many alumni commented on how much they learned, connected with other alumni, and enjoyed the experience:
SAVE THE DATE!
SUMMER SESSION 2019
Contact Annie or Beth with your contact info and to let us know
of your preliminary interest in attending and/or leading a session.
A note from the Admissions desk
We're already ramping up our recruiting for the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 semesters! Mountain School faculty will be on the road, visiting schools and planning school visits from October through January this year. There are always places that we have a hard time getting to, or conflicts in our schedule that make it challenging to be in two places at once. We're looking for alumni volunteers to give presentations this year at schools in any of the following locations:
Reunion 2019 dates:
June 14-16: 5, 10, 15 years (f13, s14; f08, s09; f03, s04)
Aug 2-4: 20 and 25 years (f93, s94 and f98, s99)
The Mission of the Mountain School Alumni Committee is to support a dynamic community of Mountain School graduates by connecting them to each other and helping them to carry forward the intellectual curiosity, celebration of place, and commitment to service
we associate with the Mountain School. Got feedback? Contact us.