Community fridge to community library: Stories are an integral part of community building. A kindergarten and first grade class at Fitzgerald Community School in Northborough, who have been exploring this topic all year, are now ready to share some stories of their own. Teacher Maria Ravelli, known for helping start the Worcester Community Fridge project (her class was inspired to start one in Northborough as well), has been teaching the kids about how stories have been passed down through history – such as the oral traditions of indigenous cultures , and how it could be applied to their own community. “We practice project based learning,” said Ravelli, “and every year we give the class a problem to solve – this year it was how can they share stories in their community.” While the idea of totem poles held an appeal for much of the class with the carved images of various animals such as mice, bears and eagles, they settled on a more practical method through a small lending library outside the school. The kids opened a snack bar at their school to raise money to purchase the kit from Little Free Library, a national book sharing organization that sells premade kits for mini-libraries that anyone can build and set up, as well as the initial round of books to fill it. Most little libraries have a theme of some kind such as diversity or anti-racism. The Fitzgerald free library will focus on children’s stories. “We wanted people to have books to give to their kids so they can learn how to read faster,” said Ryan, the class’ self-appointed spokesman in a Zoom interview. The class chose the colors, and a parent volunteer will help build it – with the official opening being on May 1.
Pretty Powerful: 100 Years of Voting and Style, will be finishing its exhibition run at the Worcester Historical Museum on April 18, having been extended from its initial end date of March 31. It opened on Oct. 23, the 171st anniversary of the First National Woman’s Rights Convention in 1850, which took place right here in Worcester. The exhibit followed the evolution of women’s fashion design and its connection to women’s empowerment in the 100 years since the passing of the 19th amendment that gave women the right to vote. If you’ve been meaning to go but just have not gotten around to it, this weekend is your last chance and I strongly recommend it. As voting rights come under attack across the country in the guise of security, I can think of no better time to check out an exhibit dealing with one of the key voting rights acts in our nation’s history, to understand that democracy is a right, not a privilege. The exhibit is more than just a display of fashion through the ages but how women’s place in politics and society has changed – clothes and how they look are, after all, the most basic way in which we interact with our community.