On July 13, Stefanie Boettle, our Community Program Facilitator, joined PAIR Houston for a first time Dynamic X-Change workshop.
PAIR, Partnership for the Advancement & Immersion of Refugees, empowers refugee youth to navigate American society, reach their academic potential, and become community leaders. Their programs serve hundreds of students annually, and PAIR serves youth in multiple neighborhoods, schools and community sites in Houston.
We chatted with Stefanie to hear more about her experience with PAIR.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about the students at PAIR?
A: We worked with over 41 kids! They ranged from 8-15 yrs old, and were refugees or immigrants of: Afghanistan,
Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Malawi, Myanmar, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Tanzania, Uganda
Q: What was the goal of the workshop?
A: PAIR Houston's overall theme was "Entertainment" - everything about having fun and enjoying yourself. Three Dynamic X-Change Teaching artists worked with the students to explore the question, "What brings us joy in life?"
Q: How did you interpret that theme?
A: We took the workshop into celebrating our own gifts and talents and finding joy within. We talked about our own gifts, and we found creative ways to "write" our gifts out with different body parts, movements and sounds. From this we created a choreography in smaller groups, and then shared our creations. Each group had to work together as a team, making decisions together, sharing leadership, finding solutions together.
Q: What was a memorable moment?
A: The workshops ended with, what quickly became their favorite game, "Passing the Gift". It's an invisible gift that can become anything that you want, such as a ball of fire that's making you jump and run fast, to earphones that make you dance, etc.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: We had a wonderful time! All students participated with so much creativity and joy. We even got the PAIR counselors to join in!
Barbara Branson, Publications Manager, and the People of Core Dance