CRIATIVOS DO BAIRRO
The task of finding locally based NGOs focused on social impact in neighboring communities Real Parque and Jardim Panorama and prepping collective ideas into projects that could stand the test of an evaluating committee was divided among Avenues São Paulo students of different classes and age groups. One 6th grade class was responsible for CEI Recanto da Alegria 1, a public daycare from Jardim Panorama – an extremely socially vulnerable community next door to Avenues – whose name literally translates into Nook of Joy. The project conceived by Avenues’ students in partnership with the institution’s management and its participants – babies and toddlers between 0 and 4 years – was hands-down approved by the committee, without reservations. Its name: Nook of the Imagination.
“Our budget is very limited, mostly invested in maintenance, because we must prioritize our needs. But the idea here was to make an improvement which would directly benefit the children. And because they’re so little, Avenues’ students had to spend time with them, playing, drawing, to figure out what would be best”, explains daycare director Diane Regina Sant’Ana, responsible for caring for 105 children. “And when they saw our ‘messy nook’, where we keep toys in boxes and a costume rack locked up behind a gate, they said: maybe this is it. And we agreed”. The students then went on to sketch ideas for mirrors, closets, tents, and accessory racks. “Construction ended before social isolation was implemented and it looks beautiful, perfect, just like we envisioned it. We bought costumes, accessories, now we just need the kids to come back”.
For Valéria Cortez Mariutti Grotti, an Avenues mom and member of PACE (Parents Avenues Community Engagement), it was a win-win scenario. “For us, parents, it was most gratifying to see the funds raised at the school fair being put to such good use. The NGOs and institutions, on their end, had a chance to understand their own needs and how to adjust them to the budget at hand. And, finally, I have no doubt that it was the sort of formative experience that the students will never forget. It taught them way beyond what they could pick up in a classroom”, she points out.