In 2011, The Ann Arbor Thrift Shop awarded the Ann Arbor CIL Recreation Program with an Anne M Hayes grant. The money was used to create several mini grants which are given to people looking to participate in recreation activities in the Ann Arbor area. Over the past year these mini grants have helped 13 people gain access to recreation activities they would not have been able to afford otherwise. One of our grant recipients Lily shared her story with me last week:
Until I was awarded the Ann Arbor CIL Recreation Mini Grant the only thing I’d ever won was a pint of brown house paint from the local hardware store when I was nine years old. The grant was significantly more meaningful—and fun.
The grant application came along when I was feeling discouraged, wondering if I would ever make art again. Or eat outrageous restaurant food again. Life on SSDI was interfering again. The Ann Arbor Art Center’s classes and anything from Zingerman’s Bakehouse are permanent residents on my wish list.
I decided to apply for a ceramic tile class over a deadly pastry binge that probably wouldn’t technically qualify as “recreation” according to the grant guidelines. The class would last longer and I’d have something I wouldn’t regret to show for it later.
The instructor, Inge Merlin, was delightful. She’s the best antidote for “fear of failure” in an unmastered medium. I’ve always been stiff and hesitant with clay but here I felt completely free to work in a loose, playful style and it’s probably the first time I didn’t worry about results. I had a wonderful, if too short, semester. I would indenture myself and sleep on the Art Center’s slab roller at night if I could, just to keep making.
Huge thanks to everyone who made this experience possible.
We are so glad that Lily was willing to share her story and some photos of her beautiful work. If you are a recreation grant recipient and would like to share your story and photos on our website please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anne M. Hayes Mini-Grants are distributed by the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living for people with disabilities seeking to participate in community recreational opportunities in the Ann Arbor area. Mini-grants may cover all fees related to participation in any community activity including transportation costs up to and not exceeding $250. Examples of qualifying activities include: athletic camps or tournaments; arts classes or workshops; continuing education or credit classes; conferences; small group trips; and more. To request an application form, please contact Melissa at (734)9710277 x27 or email@example.com; or stop by the Ann Arbor CIL office.