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Experiencing Community

Experiencing Community

Instructions on how to hold and throw a bocce ballWe not only documented these different neighborhoods in the Park Street corridor, we also became a part of the community. Every time we came back, we felt more and more like community members. Some students had the pleasure of coming back with the whole class to a place they had first scoped out alone—and enjoyed being recognized individually when we arrived. And at every stop on our tour, somebody knew our teacher or Monica Messina, the parent who organized many of our visits.

In December, after walking for the whole day up from Badger Road to Regent Street, we joined our parents and brothers and sisters in a family potluck, highlighted by a parent-created Power Point slide show of the trip we had just taken that day. In May we had another family potluck, highlighted by a Mexican band concert and dance and an evening walk; some of our parents spent the night with us at the UW Space Place, and were still there in the morning when we listened to Eugene Parks, a well-known political leader in South Madison, and to several labor organizers.

An evening walk along Wingra LakeOur last stop on Park Street was at the Multicultural Center (it includes St. Martin House and Centro Guadalupe) which has a free meal program. We were invited to share a meal with local residents, and then stayed afterwards to help clean tables and do dishes.

Although all of us live only a mile or two from Park Street, we felt like strangers when we first came here with our class. Now we are neighbors, with each other, and with the people who live and work in one of the most fascinating parts of our city.

Helping out in the kitchenA big thanks to everyone who helped us take the Park Street Cultural Tour—our hosts who welcomed us so warmly, our parents who helped shape the tour and came along with us, a mother who organized many of the tour events, a father who took many photos, our student teacher who took photos and helped guide the project, and our community partners at the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, the Wisconsin Arts Board, and Chadbourne Residential College who assisted with planning, transportation, fieldwork, documentation, and web design and layout. You have made our world richer.

Detail of mural showing a Vietnan serviceman killed in action and two men playing guitars