A Soirée for Greenheart in Pennsylvania
By: Haldis Toppen, Work and Travel Cultural Outreach Coordinator
On Sunday, July 14th CCI Greenheart staff Leslie Patt and Haldis Toppen traveled to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to visit participants who were participating in the Summer 2013 Work and Travel Program as a part of the Going Greenheart Tour.
The International Institute for Exchange Programs (also known as I2) planned a special event called the Greenheart Soirée. This event included an opportunity to socialize with employer representatives and J-1 participants over a free meal. The event also quizzed participants on environmental issues through a “gameshow” in which they competed for prizes as teams.
In addition to the usual fun party shenanigans, participants also volunteered for an hour. The International Institute for Exchange Programs had recently collaborated with the Harrisburg Rainbarrel Coalition to provide Summer Work and Travel participants the opportunity to bring together an art initiative to engage Harrisburg’s citizen’s in strategies to reduce storm water flows into the City of Harrisburg’s sewer system and the Susquehanna River. About a dozen blue vinyl, 55-gallon recycled barrels were transformed through a series of art workshops for the J-1 SWT participants and local artists. These barrels will then be auctioned off to foster further development of the Coalition. Student artists not only were able to express their creative talents, but learned marketing, entrepreneurial and sales skills by participating in this initiative.
As the night went on, dancing and singing commenced! Participants have traveled to the United States from countries ranging from Jamaica to China to Dominican Republic to Ukraine. Each country and culture had the opportunity to share a dance or song. When the night closed with the Macarena, not a person could stop moving, because the dancing made us all feel American!