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Home > First East St. Louis Visit: Day 1

First East St. Louis Visit: Day 1

On September 10, 2010, a classful of hopeful 451ers traveled south to meet the community partners we would be working with throughout the semester.  Our group traveled in what was affectionately deemed the VIP Lounge, behind the Big White Bus, and discussed a multitude of issues ranging from the wonders of Anne Lamott, foot-high pie, adventures in Africa, tricky concept papers, and Opal’s House.

After a long day of visits and tours of ESL, we finally pulled up to Opal’s House and met our community partner Essie Calhoun.  Upon entering the building, all of us were struck at how inviting and homey it felt.  This was not just a shelter, but a home. Essie gave us a brief history of Opal’s House before leading us downstairs to the “computer lab.”  Currently the space was equipped with five non-working, large, old computers, several large desks, a large table, and piles of stuff.  Not a very collaborative working atmosphere.  Our eyes were swimming, however, with all the possibilities.  We gave our suggestions for the space, and may have gotten in a bit over our heads.  Whitney was able to rein us back in by focusing on Essie’s three top priorities, which were:

1. Updating the website

2. Getting 6-7 working computers

3. Creating a functional space

After saying our goodbyes, we called it a day.

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