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designers.in.service: Bridging Local Communities With Upward Bound

Posted April 21, 2014
enter photo description
Students from Kent State University's public health and
math/science Upward Bound programs celebrate National
TRIO Day, a national day of service. The students paired
up with designers.in.service members to design and
assemble 11 pieces of art that were individually inspired by
the lives of 11 residents of the New Seasons Retirement
Community in Akron.

Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design’s designers.in.service organization recently hosted 40 students from the Upward Bound programs at Stark State College. During the visit, the youth from Canton-area high schools enjoyed a light snack followed by an informative conversation with Bill Willoughby, associate dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design.

The visit concluded with four miniworkshops, led by designers.in.service members, highlighting techniques and skills applicable within the academic concentrations of architecture, architectural studies and interior design. The workshop topics were Orthographic Projections, Sketching + Drafting, Scaling + Measurements and Presentation + Portfolio. The high school students benefited from learning about this profession from Kent State students’ perspectives.

With a slightly different focus, Kent State’s public health and math/science Upward Bound programs joined designers.in.service at the Summa Center at New Seasons in celebration of National TRIO Day, a national day of service. As the students from area high schools arrived, they were paired up with a designers.in.service member. The teams worked together to design and assemble 11 pieces of art, each one individually inspired by the lives of 11 residents from the New Seasons Retirement Community in Akron. designers.in.service students had interviewed the residents two weeks prior to the event. The teams of students also worked on one group piece, a compilation of the “words of wisdom” shared by the residents to today’s youth.

While designers.in.service led the project, the students from Upward Bound were integral in performing this service for the interviewees. Following the design session, the senior residents were invited to a luncheon for fellowship and presentation of artwork.

Not only did Upward Bound students learn, refine and apply design thinking, and craft and presentation skills during this project, it was a multigenerational, cultural learning experience for everyone involved. The elders' life experiences provided inspiration, humility and valuable life lessons. Just like the artwork, this experience was unique; three generations of unique individuals gathered in one room united in the name of service, despite their differences, became a community of valued acceptance.

designers.in.service plans to host another community day event this spring.

For more information about designers.in.service, including its community initiatives, visit www.designersinservice.info.