Meet Jeanne Granville, the Executive Director of the Fresh Start program which has been providing services and inspiration to at-risk youth and families since 1994. Jeanne volunteered for the Denver Faire, explaining that she was starting a makerspace program in her facility and she was eager to participate.
The Denver Mini Maker Faire team spent some time learning about the amazing work Jeanne does. At-risk youth are the primary demographic Jeanne works with. She works with kids from all parts of the globe and from a variety of cultural traditions; although her focus is on the kids, it appears that the makerspace is a neighborhood epicenter around which both adults and children gather. When Jeanne talks about her kids, she glows, and as she describes her plans for the center, it is clear that it fills her with such energy that she can’t sit still. So, she explains her plans and bustles around the space, moving boxes, and although she is still making decisions about the organization of the space itself, her vision is clear. She wants the space to be a respite and a creative, inspiring oasis for the community. she describes how the mothers of some of the girls want to come in when she starts sewing classes, and she describes her reaction when she was asked to put on a stem program in the summer. “I don’t even know where to start with that,” she says, her eyes widening. “but, it’s something that I feel strongly about, and it needs to be done, so we’ll do it.” It is clear that Jeanne has huge passion and big plans. They have a community garden, boxes of paint, wood working supplies, the makings for tie dye, sewing machines, coloring books, paper, markers, foam stickers, and all manner of other crafting supplies; she needs to figure out how to organize the space and how to take the next step…to establish the center as a regular and dependable resource for neighborhood kids to come and work on projects, and provide access to what they need to visualize ideas that transcend the sometimes quite harsh reality they face.
Our team gathered to spend a day helping organize the space with Jeanne and Caryn, a helper from the space, a young girl who is an excellent student, an artist and a sophomore in high school. She is an honor’s student, and it is clear she has big dreams in a context where people are confronted by struggle every single day—one can’t help but be moved to help her achieve her goals. If you are interested to learn more about Jeanne and her program, click here for the Fresh Start website.
We are all inspired by their plans and look forward to ongoing collaboration. Be sure to come see Jeanne and her kids at the Denver Mini Maker Faire on June 11/12.