This week, we’re excited to highlight six posts from Elaine Johnson, the coordinator of LEAP (our Life skills, Education and Arts Program). We asked her to write about her five favorite moments from 2017.
Looking back at 2017, I couldn’t just list five classes or five trips because what stands out from LEAP is a compilation of experiences, accomplishments and feelings. While LEAP classes are held at a specific time and place, the LEAP community is much further reaching—it’s the poem that is written after hours, the 112th photo taken for a photography class and the epiphany that changes a woman’s outlook entirely. I am lucky to share in so many of those moments that it is difficult for me to narrow down my favorites to such a tiny number!
It is important to take a moment and note that many of these experiences were only possible because of the support of the Calvary community. Without the persistence of our volunteers, the generous support of our partners and the donations of individuals near and far, we would not be able to share these experiences with the women.
The second memory that stands out to me from 2017 was the performance of Nina Simone’s Four Women at Arena Stage. When Linda (a current client) first came to Calvary and found out LEAP often attend plays, she started talking to me about Nina Simone. “We’ve GOT to go to this, Miss Elaine,” she said. “Have you heard Nina’s song Four Women?” she asked. Links were sent. Videos were shared during breaks. Through our partnership with Arena Stage, we were able to get tickets to the final dress rehearsal and enjoy a remarkably creative look at the life of the activist, the intellect and the musical genius of Simone. Apart from the thrill of a night on the town, the women were taken with the strength of each character. The play has set a new bar for conversations that happen in LEAP: we each speak from our strength, without the need to win anyone over and always listening for strength’s in other’s contributions.
Check back on our blog tomorrow for Elaine’s third favorite memory!