The Inclusion Project – September Outreach by Coco Bookmyer
As the morning bell rang kids shuffled to their classes in Quamichan school district and eventually the eighth graders made it into the various rooms to where they were to experience a pilot project of connection and inclusivity. The facilitators of this event were a mix of ages from 9th graders to senior citizens, helping bridge the gap of generations. As the eighth graders sat down it was clear they had no idea what they were stepping into. We commenced with ice breaking games that helped all of us feel more comfortable and lighter in our hearts. We played a game called the “traveling culture game” in which we had the kids split into four different groups who were playing different games and one person would travel to a new game culture and would not be explained the rules, so it was up to them to figure out and try to play along. This was a representation of how stepping into a new culture can be very confusing and sometimes frustrating, while also fun and exciting. Another exercise that we did was a skit called the “Sensitivity line” where the 9th grade facilitators shared familiar stories of the sorts of things that can happen when entering into a new school. This was touching because most kids have experienced these things and can find common ground with there peers on these topics. Towards the end of the workshop we got into smaller intimate circles and asked the students questions that evoked thoughts of inclusive behavior, greatness in diversity, and feeling safe and supported. After conversing on these themes we put our ideas on a piece of paper that was put together with the other students to create a big beautiful mandala. As facilitators we hope and believe that we planted the seeds of connection between the diverse kids that participated in activities of the day. This project is just the beginning of the creation of space for these young folk to step into their unique diversity and shine forth their gifts.