Clothesline

 by Jennie Garbett

Over the course of the week, there were some great activities to participate in. Maybe it was the Smile Epidemic events that got your attention, or the ”iChooseDignity” event that pulled on your heart strings. Each day during Respect Week there were great things happening at Conestoga’s Doon Campus, hosted by Student Life Leaders and volunteers.

One event that meant a lot to me personally was the Clothesline Project; this day offered a fun way to express ourselves and give back to our community – providing help for those in need. During this project, we were given a plain t-shirt to decorate with messages of love, hope, and respect. We all had a blast putting our own take on this theme in creative ways with fabric paint and markers. Some people drew pictures that told their own story; others made an impression with thought-provoking quotes. Being a geek, my own personal favourite was to spell out “I love you” in binary code. After these t-shirts were finished, they were proudly hung up on our make-shift clothes line surrounding the Atrium, creating a dynamic visual display of messages to explore. T-shirts were later picked up by their creators to bring home, or could be donated to be given to someone in need.

While in the process of adorning these shirts with pretty, geeky, or jazzy imaginings, we found ourselves chatting it up with each other about the events going on. The focus was on reflecting with ourselves this question: what does a healthy relationship look like to you? This question can be applied to both friendships and intimate relationships.

Donations for the event went towards Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region; a cause that is close to my heart. Many people didn’t realize that standing right next to them was a survivor of domestic abuse, rescued with help by the very organization they were there to fundraise for that day.

You have no idea how greatly someone’s life can change from the support of a place like this. They provide help to those who don’t know where else to look; more than that – they help people to realize there is hope again.

From my perspective, being on the other side of the fence now, it feels so good to be giving back to such a great place – and in such a fun way, too! This event was a reminder to me of how far I have come since first walking through the doors at the Women’s Crisis Services.

I feel so thankful to everyone who has participated in this project. I expected to make a fun, messy shirt. That was fun, but the meaning behind it will last for so much longer.