The whole community now feels the cold as Winter slowly sets in. People will flock to the indoors for warmth, the No-Freeze Shelter will continue to welcome those who are lost and finding their way, the theaters will continue to perform. The garden comes to somewhat of a standstill.
People may want to be indoors and relax in the warmth, but the gears of our community do not stop churning over some cold weather. As the chilling weather set in, and the garden winded down to a close for the season, I saw the youth attend some of the most productive workdays that have been conducted at GROW Windham.
During the Fall and beginning of Winter, the youth attended workshops and conferences to better their advocacy and leadership skills on a very deep level. In November alone, they had their first workshop with Maya Sheppard from Hearing Youth Voices and learned all about who holds power in their community and how they can build their power as a people. We conducted a workshop together to build on that, and they all brainstormed fascinating ways that they can all make real change in their community. They also all went to an Environmental Justice conference at Wesleyan University and discussed how they would like some ideas brought up in those workshops back to their own community.
The youth acknowledged something very important, which is that Windham is in a relatively hidden and forgotten corner of Connecticut, therefore some programs that could be very helpful in fighting things such as food waste don’t reach our area. That is something they realized they can change.
Another workshop with Maya was held in early December to talk about how to properly organize a campaign, which the Windham Youth CORE did alongside community members, members of Hearing Youth Voices, and Windham PRIDE.
Our youth may not be able to frolic in the great outdoors and grow a lot of produce during this time, but there are still heavy volumes of motivation and productive ideas brewing in this organization as they all work to become the best advocates they can be.