Photo: Outreach at Coxwell/Danforth Library
Now in its fourth year, Swallowing Clouds is in full swing this spring, having finished two programs during the March Break at Sanderson and Parkdale Public Libraries and one just recently at Bloor/Gladstone Public Library. Currently we are stationed at Coxwell/Danforth Public Library on Saturday mornings in May and June, and we are soon to return to Oakwood Public Library in mid-May.
Over the past year, Swallowing Clouds has added several excellent arts leaders-in-training, who bring their enthusiasm and creativity to the program. One of these young ladies is the multi-talented Shahla Lafeer. Here are reflections from Shahla’s time spent with Swallowing Clouds during March Break.
Shahla Lafeer is a Commerce student who currently attends Riverdale Collegiate Institute. In recent years, Shahla has participated in the All-City band and orchestra, as well as the Dare Arts Organization; a program intended to increase a child’s potential in the arts. Her passion for working with children was attained during her years volunteering at Eastview Neighbourhood Community Centre, where she worked with several children in communities that were undergoing social and mental change. Upon volunteering, Shahla was able to grasp onto the fundamental leadership skills needed to direct and maintain programs for children that enabled for intellectual and mental growth, which lead to her involvement in the Swallowing Clouds Program. Shahla hopes to continue her positive involvement in creating a better and safer tomorrow for the children of today!
“During the March Break of 2014, I was fortunate enough to work with the Swallowing Clouds Program at the Parliament Library, a program dedicated to working with children on developing reading and writing skills, along with improving their creative background. At first, I was a bit timid and afraid of how the children would respond to my presence and behaviour, but as time went on, I became comfortable with the program setting. Being able to work with children that are motivated and excited to attend the program made it easier for me to play the role of a mentor and help direct activities. I had an amazing experience with the program, as I was able to work and connect with the children through several activities including writing poems, playing games, and creating art. Throughout the course of the program, I learned the fundamental skills needed to be a mentor to the children. I was able to mature as a leader, and received the necessary skills needed to direct and maintain a program in order to make the activities enjoyable and beneficial for the children. Overall, my experience with the Swallowing Clouds program is a memory I will always cherish, as it gave me the opportunity to blossom as an individual and taught me how to utilize my skills to create a better, beautiful tomorrow for the children of today.”
Featured image; table décor care of Swallowing Clouds participants! Though it’s probably too hard to see, written on it is a group poem written by the kids this past March Break at Sanderson Public Library. It is an alliterative poem inspired by Erin Robinsong’s poem which was in turn inspired by e.e. cummings. Here it is:
Zebras zigzag a lot.
Your yogurt tastes like yams
Xander’s xylophone gets x-rays
Whale’s words were very watery
Voldemort plays volleyball is his very valuable Volkswagen
On Tuesday and Thursday Toronto eats tacos
On Saturday sixed said sky son
Sound and sheets are noiser
The rat smelled the rose
The Queen does the quiz
The pet peeked in the package
Octopus breaths oxygen
Marlo’s mighty mynx
Lily’s Linx leaped
Kiya’s kites can fly
I had the idea to jump into the ice and the jam
The horse is happy and has a house
Giraffes got good grapefruit
A fairy follows fast folks for fun facts for friends
Elephants eat entire exhibits
Dogs draw dandelions
Crazy chicken can chew chocolate!
Beaver blows blue bubbles!
Apples always are amazing!