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This past week, SSP discussed violence in Chicago—why it happens, what it means, and how people heal from it. I am in awe of the resilience of the communities and people in Chicago that face violence and thrive despite it, and I hope to honor their strengths and learn from them.

On Wednesday, Dr. Oyola led the team in an hour of yoga as an example of how people can take care of their minds and their bodies. In her session, she talked about cultivating a sense of wonder towards everyday situations. I kept thinking about our conversations with community leaders in Woodlawn, who have all stressed the importance of reaching out to others and forming a sense of connectedness as a way of strengthening their community. I can’t help but think these two things are somehow related as I have been feeling both as we get to know and appreciate what Woodlawn has to offer. In keeping your mind and your heart open to other people, you end up learning remarkable things and experiencing more compassion and unity then you would ever guess. I know that I have felt this sense of wonder as our team has been supported and cared for by the community of Woodlawn.

I am so excited for what the rest of the summer will bring, especially since our team has decided to focus our project on fostering this very sense of community in the hope of minimizing violence and improving the health of Woodlawn.

Team Woodlawn meeting Alderman Willie Cochran

Team Woodlawn meeting Alderman Willie Cochran

-Chloe Gremaud