Tag Archives: Advocacy

Where they are now: Inspirational Alumnae – Erica Merritt ’99

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Erica Merritt ‘99, Associate Director of Advocacy, Inclusion and Public Policy at Greater Cleveland YWCA

Recently, alumna Erica Merritt ‘99 came to campus to give a talk on her passion: Equity. Merritt recently took the position of associate director of advocacy, inclusion and public policy at the YWCA Greater Cleveland. She has the opportunity to take on developing relationships with the corporate community and building connections with public and grassroots leaders in Northeast Ohio.

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Share, make your own signs, spread the word – let’s #BringBackOurGirls

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Nigeria abducted girls: Why hasn’t the rescue effort produced results?

CNN - With every passing day, the wait for the kidnapped Nigerian girls gets more agonizing.

Boko Haram seized the nearly 300 schoolgirls and vanished into a dense forest last month. Their abduction sparked a global movement as throngs took to the streets demanding their rescue.

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Women Watch: remembering women and children, victims of violent crimes

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The Ursuline College community will gather at 2:30 PM Monday, Mar 31 for Women Watch, an annual tribute to the women and children in Cuyahoga County who have died violently during the past year, and Sr. Joanne Marie Mascha who was murdered in a wooded area on campus by a mentally ill neighbor in 1995. Women Watch is hosted annually by the student-run Sr. Dorothy Kazel Club and Student Art Organization.

“We walk to remember those who have died violent deaths but also to remember to be nonviolent,” Ursuline Art Department professor Sr. Diane Therese Pinchot, O.S.U., M.F.A., said.

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Advocacy and Empowerment through Art

Art Therapy and Counseling Students Send Sock Monkey Delegation to South Africa

A section of the Art Therapy and Counseling elective course Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care recently introduced students to the role of craftivism and its possibilities to empower vulnerable populations, as well as promote important social causes and issues through making things by hand.

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Betsy Greer, Crafitvist Pioneer states,  “Craftivism is the practice of engaged creativity, especially regarding political or social causes. By using their creative energy to help make the world a better place, craftivists help bring about positive change via personalized activism. Craftivism allows practitioners to customize their particular skills to address particular causes.”  (“Craftivism.” Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice, 2007). Craftivism can take on many handmade forms, including radical needlepointing, crosstiching, knitting, fiber arts, yarnbombing, and more.
A craftivism initiative explored further in this course included the volunteer-run organization Operation Sock Monkey (OSM).  OSM collaborates with humanitarian organizations that provide laughter, hope, and healing to communities around the world affected by disease, disaster and social/political turmoil through providing handmade sock monkeys to

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communities in need of a smile.  Students in Advocacy & Empowerment through Art became operatives and craftivists for an OSM mission by learning how to sew handmade sock monkeys and then donated these “delegates” to OSM as one of their course requirements.
OSM Headquarters in Vancouver Canada assigned our group of delegates to travel to Cape Town, South Africa as part of the Sinovuyo Caring Families Project with Clowns Without Borders South Africa (CWBSW).  “Sinovuyo is focused on the highest‐risk families with children ages 3 to 8 years:caregivers affected by HIV/AIDS or domestic violence. The program aims to help parents and caregivers develop nurturing relationships with their children, prevent and reduce abusive parenting, while coping with stress from HIV/AIDS, poverty, and violence” (OSM website).  Sock monkeys areused in storytelling and activities that promote parent/child communication and bonding.

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This group of eager sock monkeys look forward to helping families served by the Sinovuyo Project.  A job well done by all the art therapy and counseling students with their first successful Operative Mission!  I hope this experience inspires lots more sock monkey making & craftivism in the future!
Save the date! Ursuline’s Art Therapy and Counseling Program Holiday Happening for students and alumni December 14 will include the opportunity to make another group of sock monkey delegates to be donated towards a future OSM mission effort.
Sources:
Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice: http://www.sagepub.com/refbooks/Book228028
Operation Sock Monkey: http://www.operationsockmonkey.com
Sinovuyo Caring Familes Project- Clowns Without Borders: http://cwbsa.org/sinovuyo
How to Make a Sock Monkey [VIDEO]: http://vimeo.com/28869273
The blog post was written by Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC, CTC-S,  Adjunct Professor for Art Therapy and Counseling at Ursuline College.