For years, there was a large concrete pad on Eliada's campus that was unused and unsightly. One day, Jan Thomas, the principal of Eliada Academy, had an idea to turn the concrete pad into something her students could really use.
According to Thomas, "I had some friends who were constructing a labyrinth, and they taught me a little about the idea behind them. I remember thinking how the concept of the labyrinth fit in well with what we teach our students. One day, it came to me that we could create a labyrinth on the concrete pad. The rest is history!"
For centuries, labyrinths have been used in meditative practice as a metaphor for the individual's journey for life. A labyrinth is different than a maze in that the intention isn't to confuse; there is one path that leads both in and out. Labyrinths are often used in hospitals and other healthcare settings to promote a more holistic model of care. The purpose of the labyrinth is to promote mindfulness, tranquility, and a healthy "time out" from the stresses of life.
"Many of our students are working on dealing with past traumas and challenges. For them, it can be hard to manage their emotions. Teaching them to handle stress in a healthy way is important, and mindfulness is something we discuss with them often. We hope to use the labyrinth as a tool to promote these concepts in a more experiential way," says Thomas.
Through researching labyrinth construction, Thomas found Chuck Hunner, an experienced labyrinth builder who was immediately interested in the project. After a visit to Eliada's campus, Hunner generously agreed to donate his time to the effort. Several months later, the once useless concrete pad gradually transformed into the outline of a beautiful labyrinth.
Now, Eliada is seeking volunteers to complete the last phase of the project. One of the most time consuming aspects of labyrinth construction is the coloring process, during which a colored cement polymer must be carefully dabbed in the thin groove that creates the design. The process will require nearly 100 hours of labor, and the more quickly it's completed, the better the result will be.
"The coloring process is not like painting," says Thomas. "It uses a very small brush to apply a thin concrete-like polymer inside a fairly narrow groove. Because it's so much like concrete, the color has to be mixed almost constantly. If we can complete the coloring process in a few days, we'll have a more consistent color and texture."
The project will take place on Tuesday, August 3,1 through Friday, September 3. There will be two volunteer shifts each day; a morning shift (9-1) and an evening shift (2-until). A 4 hour commitment is required for each shift, and volunteers are encouraged to sign up for more than one. No special skills are required. Interested volunteers should contact Carolyn Ashworth at 828.254.5356 x 113 or via email at email@example.com.
Eliada is a 107 year old non-profit agency serving North Carolina's children and families. Founded in 1903 by Dr. Lucius B. Compton as a home for women and children, Eliada's full service continuum includes Child Development Services (Pre School, After School, Summer Camp, More at Four); Residential and Day Treatment for children and adolescents; Foster Care and Therapeutic Foster Care; and Therapeutic Recreation services. The agency enters its second century with pride, committed to the fulfillment of its mission statement: Helping Children Succeed.Read the full article