Meeting interesting and inspiring people is par for the course here at Eyedart Creative Studio. As one of Eyedart’s staff writers, I write for the Good of Goshen, a community-wide storytelling project that Eyedart manages. Good of Goshen is just one of the ways we are able to interact and form relationships with fascinating local people.
Good of Goshen is an online endeavor highlighting, through video and written articles, the people and organizations making the Maple City an ideal place to call home.
Who are some of the Good people we’ve met along the way? They include:
- Kathy Meyer Reimer, a Goshen College professor who uses children’s literature to impart a love of reading and learning. Note: Her enthusiasm is infectious.
- Nate West Jr., director of The Post, an after-school club aimed at being a positive influence on the youth of Goshen.
- Martin and Mari Lou Lopez, who run Los Primos Restaurant. The path leading to the now successful business wasn’t always easy, but Martin and Mari Lou’s motto of “Si se puede” (“Yes we can”) helped guide the way.
- Julie Freshour, who owns Jules Boutique in downtown Goshen. Freshour’s parents were temporary foster parents who felt it was important to give back to the community. Julie learned from their example, and Jules Boutique has hosted fundraisers for laudable local organizations including the Goshen Boys & Girls Club and Child and Parent Services.
- The English Learner (EL) teachers in Goshen Community Schools. These dedicated educators have a goal of English fluency – and academic success – for students striving to learn a new language.
- Gilberto Perez Jr., senior director of intercultural development and intercultural partnerships at Goshen College. Perez’s work promotes education, communication, cultural inclusion and bridging cultural divides.
What are some of the things we’ve learned? A sampling:
- Goshen College, which went from having a 4 percent Latino student population in 2007 to 18 percent in 2015. The college went from having an 18 percent Latino first-year class in 2014 to 30 percent in 2015.
- Martin Lopez has served food to both actor/director Clint Eastwood and labor organizer Cesar Chavez.
- While most English Learner students in Goshen Community Schools speak Spanish as their primary language, the program also includes children whose first languages are Japanese, Khmer, Marshallese, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, French, Cantonese and German, among others. Additionally, Goshen Community Schools has the largest EL program in the state of Indiana for a school district of its size.
The list goes on. Meeting people and hearing what they have to say – and learning something along the way – is part of a day’s work at Eyedart Creative Studios. It is rewarding work, indeed.