Leila Reynolds is a recipient of a Fellowship from the Marcy Migdal Fund for Educational Equality. The award supports exceptional students engaged in activities aimed at enhancing access to education for vulnerable students, either locally or throughout the world, and helping them succeed in their education. Click here to learn more about the Marcy Migdal Fund.
Leila Reynolds partnered with an organization called the Horn of Africa Services (HOAS) which provides after school programming and tutoring help to East African youth in the South of Seattle, centering around Rainier Vista. HOAS runs a summer program which focuses on integrating academic enrichment activities with community building and student engagement.
Using the funds from the Marcy Midgal Fellowship, Leila added a workshop series to the summer program, focusing on arts as activism and allowing the students to become exposed to public art, while raising social awareness and fostering expression of identity and community empowerment.
The series worked with children in Columbia City, Leila’s own community. The area is considered one of the most diverse in the United States according to age, languages spoken, ethnicity, and family makeup. As Leila states, “I see this workshop series as a way to hopefully provide an avenue for them to raise their voices and take ownership of the community… I would love to in some small way make an impact on these kids experience of their community, one that allows them to see both themselves, their peers, and their community in a positive light.”
The workshop series took place over five weeks during the summer in which artists in the community gave lectures, participants were taken on field trips to view public art, and workshops on issues of identity, community, and social justice. The series culminated in the students creating a collaborative mural (pictured).
“All of the kids loved the experience (as did I) and we can’t thank you all enough….The mural is currently being shown at the Jake as part of the Summer Institute In Humanities final show, which I was a part of. “