One Story program to host gifting event

DOWAGIAC — A way to both craft and create something meaningful for a different generation is coming to Dowagiac through the One Story program.

Dowagiac’s One Story program, a collaborative program running until the end of May that involves a series of events relating to the theme of a chosen book, this year’s being Mitch Albom’s “Tuesdays with Morrie” and N.L. Sharp’s “Effie’s Image,” kicked off last month with the theme of connecting generations. The program’s next event will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Pokagon Band Community Center, 58620 Sink Road, Dowagiac.

The event is called Gwiké ‘amen, meaning “to wrap them up” in the Pokagon language.

A collaboration with the Pokagon Band Early Childhood Education program, Gwiké ‘amen will allow people to create a variety of crafts to be given as gifts of appreciation to elders living in Dowagiac and surrounding areas. Elders will also have a chance to create gifts for the younger generation.

“We’ve all been to ‘make-and-take’ events where you create something and take it home with you,” said Bobbie Jo Hartline, one of the event’s organizers. “But this will be a ‘make-and-give’ event. There will be multiple stations around the community center to make crafts.”

All the crafts will be based on the medicine wheel teaching of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. The medicine wheel is divided into four sections based on direction. Inside of each quadrant contains different themes and teachings. The crafts for Gwiké ‘amen will focus on the eastern side of the wheel, which features themes of youth, springtime, love and birth, according to Kristie Bussler, another organizer of the Gwiké ‘amen event.

“We thought that if this was going to be geared toward children and connect generations, that this would be an appropriate way to do that,” Bussler said.

Some of the gifts that will be created Saturday include pinecone bird feeders, milkweed seed-cloths and bowls, in addition to others.

Both Bussler and Hartline said that they believe that the Gwiké ‘amen event will benefit the community by allowing generations to connect through gift giving.

“When we are connected the generations, we want to give families, especially young children, the chance to give,” Bussler said. “Even though they might not know exactly who they are giving things to, it will give them that sense of doing something good for the sake of doing something good. They know they are participating something that will serve the greater good of their community.”

Hartline added that she hopes that children who participate in the event will enjoy it, as she believes it to be a fun way to learn about giving back to the community.

“We are going to teach [the children] things that day, but they will never see it as teaching,” Hartline said. “They will see it as fun.”

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