LEAF has more than 20 years of experience creating spaces for art and music through festivals, community events and arts education programs. Go to the festival: it’s family-friendly and it sells out every time. Why art engenders transformation of communities as it did for Hull House in Chicago in the 1890s, Harlem in the 1930s and many places since deserves more conversation. Here we’ll just say that our relationship with LEAF goes way beyond their ability to help us develop art and music programs. LEAF Panama is in no small way responsible for inspiring the development of APTS. LEAF’s founder, Jennifer Pickering, introduced us to leaders in her community working on this issue, which is dear to her heart. Thank you. Lesson: art paints the vision and inspires action to achieve the mission.
Yara Mowafy was standing in line at the George Mason University campus food court in Fairfax, VA and people kept trying to buy her lunch. She found out it was because when meal plans go unused, they remain unused. This led her to discover that there were hungry college students on her campus and Mason's Pop-up Pantry was born. Pop-up Pantry has regularly served more than sixty students, and influenced what is now a network of food pantries at a number of universities. Lesson: One person with curiosity and action has immeasurable impact.
APTS uses plastic bins from Target to pick up food donations on a weekly basis. We regularly brought the donation to The Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV)—the single largest shelter in Washington DC. The first few times we went, residents and folks on the street asked us if we needed the bins. Our reply was that we needed them to get the bread. On about the 4th visit, after a couple of people had asked about the containers, I asked one of them why he was interested in it. He replied, “I need something for my stuff.” I gave him the container. We explained this to the managers of Target and they agreed to donate the money for the plastic tubs. We thought homeless, hungry people would really appreciate the delicious pastries and breads—and they do eat it all—but what they really wanted and needed were containers for their belongings. Lesson: listen to your clients and give them what they need, not just what you think they need.