Hope in Los Angeles and Italy. Our first cross-cultural project.

[e]speranza means “hope” when two neighborhoods listen to one another.

In Spanish, it is esperanza, a word you might hear at Animo Pat Brown High School in Los Angeles, California. In Italian, the word is speranza, something that might echo through the halls of Don Milani Middle School in Northern Italy.

Starting in October 2012, fifty students at these two schools became Community Listeners as they asked their neighbors “What do you hope for?” and then worked together to create a cross-cultural Hope Gallery to share those hopes with their communities.

The goals of this project were to cultivate compassion in these students through our Community Listening process and give students the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover how hopes can be so similar, yet so different on the other side of the world.

For details about [e]speranza including photo galleries, profiles of our schools, and our scheduled curriculum, take a look at the information below.

esperanza-blog2 gallery-construction gallery-walkthroughgallery-opening

Meet Our Schools

We worked with a middle school and a high school more than six thousand miles apart.

Occimiano, Italy

At Don Milani Middle School, we worked with 25 eighth graders. The school is located in the rural village of Occimiano, just outside of Turin in Northern Italy.

  • Village Population: 1500
  • Primary Languages: Italian/English
  • Find out more about Occimiano here.

Los Angeles, USA

At Animo Pat Brown High School, we worked with 25 ninth graders. The school is located in the urban Florence-Firestone neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.

  • Neighborhood Population: 60,000
  • Primary Languages: Spanish/English
  • Find out more about Florence-Firestone here.

The Project Curriculum

The [e]speranza project spanned six months, gradually giving our student Community Listeners a closer and closer look at their own hopes, their neighbors’, and hopes from halfway across the world. Here’s a look how the project was structured.

Students at Occimiano, Italy Our students were welcomed to The Hope Chronicles and introduced to their new assignment as Community Listeners. Their first task: to express their own hope for themselves, their family, their friends, or the world.
DSCN1967ok Our classes “met each other” for the first time through stories, photos, and videos. Then, each student was paired up with a partner at the other school. Students began by sending a photo essay of their own hope and a letter to their new penpal.
525568_155975001224641_1520212484_n Students at both schools carried around a Hope Journal and invited family, friends, neighbors, and strangers to write their hopes in it. Meanwhile, both classes exchanged hopes and stories with one another, giving them a chance to discover what hope looks like on the other side of the world. Throughout November, we shared some of these hopes and stories on our website.
IMG_1156 Together with students, staff, and volunteers in Occimiano, we created a Hope Gallery in Northern Italy. The local community was invited to view all of the students’ journals, photos, stories, and videos, all displayed in a first-class, well-designed (and student-built!) gallery setting.

Are you interested in a Community Listening project in your school?
Contact us today, and we’ll help you create the perfect project for your community.


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