2015 Arts & Smarts Year End Celebration

On Thursday, April 30, we celebrated another successful year in the Arts & Smarts program. Over 100 people filled Patchwork’s Meetinghouse to celebrate the children’s accomplishments, to thank our Arts & Smarts volunteers and staff, to reflect on the year’s successes, and to share a picnic supper. We also debuted the latest stop motion video created in the Arts & Smarts program. Here it is:

It was a wonderful celebration of a fantastic program. Below are thoughts about our after school program from a variety of people involved in it.



From a parent: “Patchwork welcomes children and sets a tone of structure, fun, and education.”

From Mandy, a tutor who is also a Signature School student: “I have had a blast helping the kids at Patchwork for the past few years. As a kid, I always had my brother to help me with my homework and I realize not every kid has that opportunity and I am glad I have P1230534b Jasminegotten to play that role that was so important in my life for other children. School and education is one of the most important things in people’s lives and getting to work with such a close-knit group of people who only want to assist in the education process and experience has been a blessing in my life.”

From Meschac, who has brought us international student volunteers all year through the International Community Service program at the University of Southern Indiana: “Everyone who comes here says they want to go back home and start their own Patchwork.”

From a parent: “Grades improved tremendously!”

From a parent: “Patchwork encourages the children, makes them feel like part of a group, and gives them a safe place to express themselves.”

From Meryem, a tutor who is also a Signature School student: “I have volunteered at Patchwork for two years. Tutoring at Patchwork is a unique experience, because helping P1230532 Ashleystudents learn is just as important as building a relationship with them and understanding their backgrounds. During this time, I have also come to realize how complex the process of teaching is and that it requires much more than simply explaining concepts. I like to think that as I helped students with schoolwork, my own teaching skills also improved.”

From a parent: “Patchwork is doing it best and has done it best with every child that I have seen come into Patchwork every evening.”

Our summer children’s activities will begin on June 1. All registration forms are available in our main office and will soon be available on our website: www.Patchwork.org. The summer schedule is:

Art Garden Week I

  • June 1-4, 9:30 am-11:45 amP1230541b
  • for children going into 2nd grade & up
  • Garden! Make art! Do storytelling! Make (and eat!) snacks!

Sculpture Week with Rob

  • June 8-11, 9:30 am-11:30 am
  • for youth ages 11 & up
  • Create sculptures with Rob Millard-Mendez, a sculpture professor at USI!

Dance Week

  • June 15-18, 9:30 am-11:30 am
  • for children going into 2nd grade & up
  • Learn creative and fun ways to move and dance
  • presented in collaboration with Children’s Center for Dance Education!

Sculpture Fun with Jane & Amy

  • July 13-16, 9:30 am-11:30 am
  • for youth ages 11 & up
  • Work on sculptures old and new with our very own Jane Vickers & Amy Rich!

Art Garden Week II

  • July 20-23, 9:30 am-11:45 am
  • for children going into 2nd grade & up
  • Round two of gardening, art, storytelling, and snacks!

Garden Feast

  • July 23, 5:00 pm-7:00 pm
  • for EVERYONE! Come celebrate the summer with us!

Parents, guardians, and teens are welcome to attend Arts & Smarts programming with children, but they must complete the appropriate volunteer applications and background check.


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Celebrating Victories Regardless of their Size

P1220831At Patchwork, it’s as much about the small victories as the larger ones. Take yesterday morning, for example. It was full of important, yet small victories.

A man in his 40’s sat at a table with his laptop. He took a shower earlier and then used our WiFi to complete his online coursework. He’s working toward a college degree and told Shawn he’s glad he can get internet access at Patchwork.

An intern hung a men’s clothing donation in our small clothing bank. In the process, she found a shirt to fit one of our morning regulars. That may not sound like a big deal to you, but to this man it was. He was very grateful. The day before, Shawn had asked him if he wanted to take a shower, but he declined because he didn’t have a clean change of clothes to wear.

John was here working in his role as Co-Executive Director, but spent at least as much time acting as Health Minister (he’s officially only the Health Minister on Monday mornings and by appointment). Several of the people John has been assisting stopped in Welcometo follow up with him about their health conditions. Many people have blood pressure issues, so they ask John to monitor their blood pressure every day that he is here.

There was also a man who had come to Patchwork on Monday and reported symptoms and a health history that John knew could and should be treated immediately with a simple prescription. The man is homeless, doesn’t have an ID, and doesn’t have any kind
of health insurance. The man had already called multiple health care providers in order to get an appointment and be treated, but none would help him. John called the same providers and got the same answer.

Yesterday, John tried one clinic again. He told the nurse practitioner about the situation: John’s health assessment of the man, the medical condition that John suspected but could not officially diagnose, the fact that no other clinic would see the man, and John’s assurances that it shouldn’t take long for the nurse practitioner to see the man, do her own assessment, and issue a prescription.

Only with John’s advocacy did the nurse practitioner agree to squeeze an appointment into her schedule that afternoon. John drove the man to his appointment, the man’s health needs were met, and the nurse practitioner agreed to take him on as a new patient.

We’ll be celebrating much bigger and flashier victories next week at our Arts & Smarts Year End Celebration. The Celebration will take place from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm on P1220760Thursday, April 30.

The evening will include awards for the children, appreciation for our volunteers, photos from the year, world premiers of our animation projects, and an exhibit of the children’s artwork. Who’s invited? All of this year’s participants, their families, all of our Arts & Smarts volunteers, their families, and other friends of Patchwork!

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Parrots, Painting, and Pancakes at Patchwork

When we open the doors for the morning at Patchwork, there is no way to know what the day will bring.

Yesterday it was an Amazon parrot named Midler who was riding in a fancy parrot carrying case. Her owner needed help with his water bill and was relatively new to Evansville, so he didn’t know where else to go. We all chatted and admired the bird while Shawn made some phone calls to locate some help. The man’s sister had gotten him the bird as a therapy animal. Beyond being the man’s companion, Midler is trained to alert him when it’s time to take his medication. He brought Midler out of her carrier so we could get a better look and he showed us a couple of her tricks. He left Patchwork with some leads on assistance with his water bill and having had a friendly conversation with people who cared. We got to meet an interesting individual and his parrot.


Today, the children in Arts & Smarts got to try a whole smorgasbord of activities. They listened to Michael Carron talk about his photography which is currently on display at Patchwork. They got to try building and driving robots. They got to draw. They got to paint garden markers to sell this Saturday at Patchwork’s Pancake Extravaganza. And all the while, children were coming and going to and from tutoring. Reflecting on her time at Patchwork, one of our interns recently said, “I feel like a kid again when I come here.” The fun is infectious.


You can help support Patchwork this Saturday, April 11 at our annual Pancake Extravaganza. From 7:30 am-11:30 am, we’ll be serving all-you-can-eat pancakes plus sausage, cooked apples, juice and great coffee. Tickets cost $6 for adults and $4 for children. It’s always a wonderful morning of leisurely breakfast with neighbors in our welcoming room. Come join us!


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Sozo Health Ministry

Monday mornings are generally busy at Patchwork. Now they’re even more so as Nurse John makes his rounds, catching up with people who are already clients of his Sozo Health Ministry and introducing himself to others who are hearing about it for the first time.

The Sozo Health Ministry (Sozo is a New Testament Greek word Health 02meaning both “to heal” and “to save”) has been in operation for less than three months, but in that time John has seen a significant need for its services. He’s met with over 40 individuals on over 70 occasions.

He’s done basic health screenings, he’s listened to individuals’ health concerns and educated them about their conditions, he’s referred them to other health care providers, he’s provided transportation so individuals can get to doctor’s appointments and the pharmacy, he’s accompanied individuals into doctor’s appointments and acted as their health advocate, he’s visited with and advocated for a client in the hospital, he’s prayed with clients who’ve asked for prayer, and he’s taught the children in Arts & Smarts how laughter makes you healthy.

Several Health Ministry clients are already seeing improved health outcomes and a better sense of holistic well-being, and several have been appreciative of having a health care professional who combines spiritual health care with physical and mental health care. John has had a medical provider refer a patient to him for Health MinistryHealth 03 services. To date, Sozo Health Ministry activities have resulted in over 60 instances of cost savings for other community health care organizations (i.e.: John’s early and simple interventions meant that conditions didn’t worsen and didn’t require more expensive interventions later).

While John’s interactions with his clients are confidential, all of us around Patchwork can see the impact that his care has had on the individuals with whom he’s meeting. Shawn tells the following story as an illustration:

“A gentleman came into my office today.  He discussed his health issues and also some spiritual concerns he’d been having.  I immediately thought of John and our new health ministry.  I was able to introduce the man to John, and John spoke privately with him for a while. Afterward, the man told me that God had sent him to Patchwork today and that God was surrounding him with good people.  He said that today was the best day he’d had in a long time.  He thanked me over and over and told me he had shed a few tears while speaking with John, but he said tears can cleanse the soul. He said, ‘I may have made some mistakes in my life, but I’ve got a good heart, and when I get some money I want to give it to you all because I know you would use it to help people, especially the kids.’ As he left the building, he looked at me with tears in his eyes and shouted ‘I feel Happy!’  As he made his way down the sidewalk he continued to shout, ‘I feel Happy, I feel SO happy!!!'”

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Knowledge Blooms at Patchwork

P1210401The first crocuses blossomed today at Patchwork. It’s warm enough outside to imagine going out without a coat and the sun’s shining, so the children’s program staff decided to take the kids outdoors for a little fresh air.

In addition to running off some extra energy in Patchwork’s front lawn and posing for photos, the kids took time to begin writing the script for their next stop motion animation video.

Stop motion animation is one of our main art activities for the spring, thanks to a grant from the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana. The kids began in January by working with Elisa Pike, Patchwork Program Assistant, to create a video about their “sparks” (the things that they are excited about and enjoy doing).

To create the video, each child created a self portrait in polymer clay, identified a spark, and worked with Elisa to determine how to act out the spark using stop motion animation.

P1200900Kaylee (age 9) got really, really inspired by the process. For several weeks, she worked after the day’s programming was over to make her own videos with no help from adults. To date, she is proud to have completed four videos.

It’s one of the wonderful things that happens at Patchwork. We do a wide variety of activities, never knowing exactly which one will light a spark within which child. The kids get to try all kinds of things and get adult support for this exploration. If they find something they enjoy, they can explore it in more depth. It’s part of how we help kids bloom at Patchwork, just like those wonderful crocuses by our front door.

For your enjoyment, here is one of Kaylee’s videos. A synopsis: Harli’s spark is singing. A lizard takes Harli’s things. Harli cries. The lizard brings Harli a cupcake and candy. The the lizard takes Harli away. Then the lizard gets squished by a falling stage light.

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Hospitality in the Snow

P1200939Patchwork was closed, for the most part, from Monday to Wednesday this week because of the winter storm. We didn’t want to risk injury or accidents for any of our staff or volunteers if they attempted to get out in the snow.

However, John and I could safely walk over to Patchwork each morning to make sure that none of our guests were waiting in the frigid cold for coffee and a shower. Several of the folks who frequent Patchwork spend the night outdoors and likely have no way of knowing that EVSC has cancelled classes so Patchwork is closed.

None of the mornings this week were as busy as usual, but there was still plenty of activity. Monday we went through two pots of coffee, despite being officially closed. Tuesday there were a few showers and a man was able to keep his meeting with his parole officer. The man also did some cleaning for us while he was here.

Most of our guests are like that. They try to help out or contribute where they can in gratitude for the hospitality that they receive from Patchwork. We enjoy visiting with P1200950them, hearing the interesting stories from their lives, and getting to know them as human beings.

Over the last few weeks, one man has taken it upon himself to clean at least one thing in the building every day he’s here so that things will continue to look nice. He even cleaned up after a few guests who were not as considerate and left messes in the shower. Another donated $5 toward our coffee supply. Another continues on his personal mission to keep our shower looking good by cleaning it regularly using extra elbow grease.

Another man was simply grateful that he received exactly what he needed when he needed it last week. His adult daughter was having a birthday later in the week. He inquired in the food pantry and was very pleased to find the perfect birthday cake there. However, he relies on a bike for transportation and couldn’t find a way to carry the cake without destroying it.  Since the man is a regular, John offered to drive him and the cake home. The man was so grateful that everything worked out and that he would have a cake for his daughter.


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Soup, Salad, & Style!


Soup, Salad, & Style!

fundraising luncheon for Patchwork Central

Thursday, February 26, 2015
Noon-1:30 p.m.

at Patchwork Central
100 Washington Avenue
(812) 424-2735

Make your reservation today!

To reserve a place, send $40 per person to Patchwork Central, 100 Washington Avenue, Evansville, IN 47713. All tickets are $50 if paid for at the door. (Please notify our office if you will attend as part of a group of 6-8 individuals and we will reserve space for you to sit together.)

Lunch includes:
– Spring Fashions from Wildflower Boutique
– Art by Patchwork Children for every guest
– A silent auction
– Gourmet Lunch provided by: Acropolis Restaurant & Catering, CRS OneSource, Just Rennie’s Catering & Cookie Co., & Madeleine’s Fusion Restaurant

Table sponsorships are available for $400 per table of eight. Additional sponsorship opportunities are also available. Please contact our office if you would like to learn more!

$25 of each ticket purchased is tax deductible.
Proceeds benefit Patchwork Central’s ongoing work to serve the people of our community.

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