Why art is in my life

By DeShauna Hollie

Middle school scripts
High school haiku’s
Rite of passage puppet shows

Words occasionally slipping out
Fitting themselves together
Largely without me knowing

Forming into creative pieces,
That even I was surprised by
At least…In the beginning

Process mattering so
Much more than product
That sacred place
Between vulnerability and art

Do you know those things that you take for granted as a kid, but as you grow up and go through all of those phases of development that help you figure yourself out? Do you ever think about that instance when you discovered all the gifts that your parents and caregivers have given you, those gifts that you are only now beginning to appreciate? Do you know what I’m talking about?

When I sat down to write this blog I started to think about why I write poetry or why I’m so interested in art, and I remembered being in first grade. I had a pretty lucrative tracing business that year. My classmates often asked me to trace pictures for them from coloring books. They paid me in blow pops and pencils. I also thought back to ninth grade, when I learned how to write a haiku. I’ve been writing them ever since then, and although I don’t trace as much as I used to I do still find myself doodling on meeting agendas (it helps me listen) . Until a few years ago, it never occurred to me that those artistic tendencies were a gift from my father.

My father made us handmade cards for our birthdays and every holiday. They were personalized to our personalities and to our hopes and dreams. They often included cartoon characters from pop culture interwoven with words of wisdom, psalms and poetry. I say cards but usually it was a packet of cards and drawings for birthdays and every major holiday.

Although I don’t remember it, I’m sure I must’ve learned how to trace from him. He died a few years ago but I have quite a few of his stencils that he used when he made our cards.  One of the things that he did for work was that he also painted signs on buildings, usually lettering on the sides of walls. So sometimes when I am walking around town I’ll glance up at the words on the side of a building and see his name.

It’s kind neat to have that reminder of his work and that reminder that art is very much entwined in my culture and in who I am.  I’m grateful to have the opportunity to share why art is in my life.

Get Involved!

  • Every LAST SATURDAY from 7-9pm King’s Landing hosts a Monthly #DrinknDraw event where artists are invited to gather together to draw, have a drink, and enjoy the camaraderie of community creating collectively!
  • Central Texas Artist Collective will be having its first quarterly public meeting on Sunday March 12 at Maker’s Edge from 3-5pm. If you are an artist in the area looking to connect with other creatives, volunteer with arts events, learn about exhibiting/vendor opportunities, mark your calendar!
  • Waco Poets Society hosts open mic every Second Saturday 7pm @ Rufi’s Cocina and every Third Thursday 7pm @ Tea2Go :: open to poets, spoken-word artists, story-tellers, musicians, singer/songwriters, and other performance art/creative expression
  • #CTAC will be having their next #Ekphrasis planning meeting Saturday April, 1, 2017 (location TBD) open to anyone interested in volunteering with the planning process or any of the events along the way to prep for the exhibit opening in the Fall, email: centexartistcollective@gmail.com for more info.
  • Creative Waco has a Top 10 Creative Ways to Engage in Waco over Spring Break, and a line-up of summer camp options for the blooming young artists in your life!
  • The Art Center of Waco has upcoming exhibits, summer camp options, and classes for adults and youth…visit their website to explore the options!
  • And don’t forget to check out the Waco Symphony, Waco Civic Theater, Brazos Nights, Art on Elm coming up April 7-8th, Food Truck Showdown on Saturday April 1st, and many more ways to stay inspired and creatively fed in Central Texas!

DeShauna Hollie is local poet who loves the process of writing poetry and creating art much more than the end product. Sometimes for fun she records poetry for practice. She also loves creating with other people, for her art is very much a community process.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.


Waco Area Connect

By Jasmine Wise

I love the Waco area and it’s hometown feel. I love that I can shop in national chains and local stores right next to each other. I love that I can be engaged in the community at any level I choose. I love that people know each other, like really know each other. I love that people here love Waco and collectively want to see this city flourish. I love that there are individuals in their neighborhoods doing just that. They are creating spaces to improve the areas around them. I am blessed to know and be able to connect with these people. Each one of them sees a need and works to fill it to the best of their abilities.

Waco and its’ surrounding area are unique places. We have three universities yet a largely uneducated population; plenty of new businesses yet over 50% of our population is in poverty. Waco is changing rapidly in population and size. On the other hand, parts of the community are not changing and standing still. Waco, like every other city, is flourishing in many areas yet has aspects that can be improved. The individuals I mentioned above are attempting to create ways to connect their efforts to enhance Waco. They are asking some serious questions to do so effectively. How do we create policies, services, and community initiatives that positively affect different populations in our area? How do we even know what policies, services, and community initiatives are needed? In addition, how do we gain insight from within the community?

I am privileged to work at the Center for Community Research and Development (CCRD) that believes its mission is to help inform the answer to these questions and many more like them. The CCRD, established in 1979, engages Baylor faculty and graduate students in applied social research to improve the local quality of life for all residents. Over the last 38 years, the Center for Community Research and Development has helped inform local hospital/patient relationships, conducted Waco Police Department assessments, and program development for the Cooper Foundation. The CCRD is committed to making the local community an enjoyable place for all to live.  You can found our more about the CCRD here.

One of our newest initiatives in this commitment is the Waco Area Connect (WAC). The Waco Area Connect is an online survey system housed at the CCRD. The WAC is unique because it will use direct answers of people within the community to communicate to the local entities that can enact change. Our anonymous surveys cover a variety of topics concerning the Waco community.  In recent years, we have asked about public health, neighborhood safety, social services, local education, and transportation issues.

The Waco Area Connect asks important questions directly linked to the community. We know that the voices come directly from our community and therefore welcome and value them. The WAC is significant because we take your answers and inform your solutions. We do not use national data of projects that have worked in other cities but use data from our city to advise change. We want our community to know they have a hand in solutions are created and handled on a local level. In addition, that their policy makers can hear from them through well informed grounded research.

The CCRD has collaborated with Prosper Waco to answer some of the questions above. Because of this, some of the questions asked will directly correlate to the goals of Prosper Waco: health, education, and finances.

The WAC is attempting to expand its reach to differing members of our local community.  If you want to join your friends and neighbors in Waco- McLennan County to take occasional online surveys you can click the link below and add yourself to our registry. We value your time and would prefer you use it to engage in the community because of this we attempt to limit our surveys to two (2) surveys per calendar year. If you agree with our consent form, we will follow up to ask for your e-mail address.
Click here to access the Social Research Registry Consent Form. 

It you did not get this before, I love Waco and its surrounding areas. Please help others love them by letting us know your opinions. I hope you join us on our journey to enhance an already wonderful place to live.

By day, Jasmine Wise is a graduate student in the department of Sociology at Baylor University working on her Ph.D in Applied Sociology. While at Baylor, she works as a senior analyst at the Center for Community Research and Development.  By night, she is a youth leader at Acts Church in Waco, TX. By weekend, she develops her passions for public speaking, growing churches, developing communities. She wrote her first book, “Confessions of a Sinner”, in the Summer 2015. If you want to get in contact with Jasmine, please email her at wise.jasmine@yahoo.com




Spurring Student Success: Free counseling services for MCC students

By Madison Albee

Part of the mission of McLennan Community College is to engage, educate, and enrich the community. To achieve this, we provide services that ensure student success. Not only is academic success challenging, but students may also experience a variety of personal, social, emotional, and adjustment issues that require assistance.

One very important (and little-known) program we provide is free counseling. The MCC Student Counseling Center provides free psychological counseling for students who are enrolled at MCC, as well as University Center students who attend classes through partner universities at MCC. MCC licensed professional counselors and counseling interns from the clinical mental health counseling program at Tarleton State University are available to help students overcome their challenges. Session lengths vary depending on the student’s needs.

Dr. Ryan D. Foster, director of MCC’s Student Counseling Center, said the Counseling Center serves more than one purpose: “The SCC’s purpose is twofold: (1) to serve students and families of students at MCC and University Center partner schools with comprehensive counseling and related services and (2) to provide opportunities for graduate students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Tarleton State University with supervised clinical training and experiences.”

Individual Counseling:

One type of counseling the Student Counseling Center provides is individual counseling. This is a one-on-one meeting with a licensed professional counselor or licensed professional counselor-intern. Individual counseling is designed to focus on short-term goals in order to facilitate students’ college success and adjustment. The number of counseling sessions a student will receive varies and is determined by the nature of the concern, and an agreement between the student and counselor. Some of the most common concerns for college students seeking counseling services include but are not limited to:

  • Feeling stressed out or anxious
  • Feeling overwhelmed by school workload, work, family responsibilities
  • Feeling sad, depressed and/or low mood or energy
  • Difficulty adjusting to a recent change
  • Difficulty in making decisions or unsure of the future
  • Relationship issues
  • Feeling isolation from others
  • Grief issues
  • Sleep issues – sleeping too much or too little, difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep
  • Concerns about alcohol/drug use
  • Eating disorders
  • Trauma – recent or past
  • Thoughts of self-harm or harm to others

Crisis Counseling:

Another type of counseling the center provides is crisis counseling. The most common concerns that may warrant a crisis referral include but are not limited to:

  • Concerns about my ability to keep myself safe
  • Having a current plan to attempt suicide
  • Having taken recent steps to end my life
  • Having a strong desire to physically hurt or harm someone else
  • Experiencing sexual assault/harassment/relationship violence
  • Hearing voices or seeing things other people do not
  • Experiencing emotional distress which prevent my ability to meet my daily responsibilities.

In crisis situations similar to those above, students are advised to call 911 if it is after hours, and they are not on the MCC campus.

Dr. Foster said he has seen students grow during their time spent at the counseling center. “I have seen clients of our counseling center develop healthy emotional boundaries, coping skills, self-awareness, and insight into their own intrapsychic and interpersonal process,” he said. “Many of our clients benefit from the emotional and personal growth that they achieve through counseling here.”

It is important for students to be aware that MCC has services available to them should they need it. Students may schedule an appointment by phone by calling 254-299-8210, sending an email request for an appointment to counseling@mclennan.edu, or by coming by the counseling office, located in the Wellness & Fitness Building, Room 101.

For more information, go to http://www.mclennan.edu/counseling/crisis-counseling.

Madison Albee is a senior at Baylor University from Fort Worth, Texas. She is studying journalism/public relations with a concentration in marketing and is graduating this coming May. Currently Madison works for MCC as a public relations intern in the marketing and communications department. She is also the public relations assistant for Luca Magazine.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.