As you know, Wednesdays are early-release days at Rainbow. This is because staff can use these days to update their professional development and participate in trainings that enhances their classroom teaching.

Rainbow teachers and staff headed over to Burton Street Community Center (BSCC) to find out about their offerings, and see how they are integrated with the greater Asheville Community, opening the door for a possible partnership for volunteer and service learning opportunities. They also were able to see what programming they had available for youth and adults alike.

This place has to be one of Asheville’s best kept secrets!

The programming and offerings are incredible there.

The RCS staff walked over from campus – it was a short ten-minute walk, but they had a chance to enjoy the sunshine.

Rainbow Community StaffThey arrived at the Burton Street Community Center a short while later.

Rainbow Community Staff

There they met Shateisha and Josh, who staff the center. They explained what happens at BSCC, its history, and RCS staff had a chance to explore the classrooms.

Pictured below, everyone was in the Game Room. The little photos in the background are what Josh calls his “Wall of Greatness.” Check below for a description of Burton Street’s programs – for everyone in the community.

Rainbow Community Staff

RCS teachers had a chance to check out the kitchen that people can use for healthy eating classes, they saw the homework and homeschool room, and in the largest room, staff played a game. That room also has a stage and bigger community events take place there, such as Hip Hop for Peace and Capoeira classes.

For the game, people had to keep the ball from passing through their legs or from passing between two people. If not, they were out and it became more challenging. RCS folks really got into it. Josh, the Program Director, facilitated the game.

Josh also explained about all the fun events that happen at the Burton Street Community Center.

For Winter and Spring 2015, they have programs for Adults and Students:

Here are some of the highlights:

Burton Street Community Center Offerings

Adults:

  • Burton Street Community Senior Elite Club / $3
  • Circle of Parents / FREE
  • Empowerment of Women / FREE
  • Capoeira: The Brazilian Martial Art-Dance, Fight and Music / $6
  • Yoga Program / FREE
  • Hip Hop for Peace / FREE
  • Poetry Slam

Students:

  • Afternoon Adventures / $10
  • Teen Leadership Program / $10
  • “Taking Back Our Youth” / FREE
  • Girl Scouts / FREE
  • LEAF in Schools and Streets / FREE
  • Primped and Polished Pre-Professionals / FREE
  • 1 Mic Studio / FREE
  • Super Saturdays / FREE

Check The Burton Street Brochure to see a pdf of all the BSCC offerings, schedules and prices.

When Shateisha was speaking to the RCS staff, her biggest wish was that more people would utilize Burton Street. They have so many programs – even athletic programs for youth that include homeschooled children. They have flag football, basketball and more. There are nominal fees for these programs.

One of their proudest offerings is the 1 Mic Studio Class. Anyone up to 25 years of age can take it. It allows young people to come in and use advanced technology to create audio productions. A LEAF artist even comes weekly to help out.

After checking out the facilities, RCS staff had a chance to look at a beautifully created timeline of BSCC. It was designed by University of North Carolina – Asheville students.

Rainbow Community School Staff

The Burton Street Community Center Timeline

BSCC has been around for a long time. It was a school in the early 1900s before changing into a community center. There are photos of early classes.

Staff also had a chance to learn about the history of Burton Street and how it was a neighborhood that had been historically an African American community in West Asheville. According to the tapestry timeline, it quotes a resident as saying

“Burton Street is a loving community that has always been welcoming to everyone…it is a great place to live.”

The Peace Garden

Once they toured the facilities, RCS staff then had a chance to see the Peace Garden. If you haven’t seen it, it’s like walking through a colorful array of historical commentary. From timelines of current African American events, to artists and peaceful commentary, there is something to see in every corner, nook and cranny.

Peace Gardens

At the entrance to the gardens, lots of paths with explanations of what they are begin to surface. Turning left of the entrance, there are stations that illustrate recent events concerning African American citizens.

African American EventsTurning the corner, there’s a cob oven where community members can barbecue, make pizza and try their hand at their “chefness.”

Rainbow Community Staff

Messages and historical commentary abound in the Peace Garden. So many things really do catch the eye.

Rainbow Community Staff

“How You Treat Each Other is How We Treat the Earth.”

When people designed the garden, they utilized old wooden palettes to create “hallways” and “rooms” that community members can explore.

Rainbow Community Staff

An overarching message of peace permeates the feel of the garden. Artists come in and work on improving the visual appeal. One artist, DeWayne Barton, was on site, checking out his work.

GhandiRCS staff definitely learned quite a few things after this local visit to BSCC. In fact, this could possibly be the start of a Rainbow partnership and a link to doing more community-oriented projects.

From youth sports, to volunteer opportunities, to adult yoga classes, there is something for everyone!

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