It's A W.I.N. (Art & Wellness in Nature)
The It's A W.I.N. (Art & Wellness in Nature) program is a community-driven approach to supporting youth, families, and community partners in North Chicago, Waukegan, Round Lake, and Highwood to:
- Increase equitable access to the many health benefits of nature;
- Strengthen environmental awareness and action through youth empowerment; and
- Cultivate rich cultural connections to the natural world.
It's A W.I.N. supports children and families through their ecosystem of care. We collaborate with vital community organizations who support youth education and health, and shape our program around community-defined goals, knowledge, and feedback. In order to deliver culturally-competent programs at multiple touch-points in a child's life, we intentionally partner with a wide variety of organizations, including healthcare providers, libraries, childcare providers, nature organizations, immigrant support organizations, and school systems.
While COVID-19 has put a hold on any in-person programming, we have been working closely with our community partner organizations to learn about the most urgent needs communities are facing, and how we can plug in to help.
Read our latest blog post to learn more about the ways in which we have adapted our programming to respond to the evolving needs of our community partners and families in Lake County during this crisis.
View our youth art zine, Caring for Our Future, an exhibition of student artwork, poetry, and advice from middle school students in our COVID-19 virtual programming with Family Services of Lake County's Y.E.S.S. program.
Artwork by a student from Family Services of Lake County's Y.E.S.S. Program, created during a virtual program with Brushwood Center staff.
Our program strategy is rooted in the asset-based community engagement model, which is a bottom-up way of working with communities that focuses on community strengths and assets, rather than on deficits, problems. Specifically, Brushwood Center prioritizes:
- Building authentic, long-term relationships with community-based organizations and partners;
- Collaborating with community assets to develop mutually beneficial programs and contributing resources where needed to advance the health of people and the planet; and
- Combatting settler colonial legacies and false narratives, such as white saviorism, through cultural and artistic platforms.
Research shows that access to nature is critical for both human health and learning, leading to: