Refortify teaches kids about design

Chicago kids team with VOA for Refortify Chicago design

Two weeks ago, the Refortify team assembled a tent from clothing generously donated by VOA employees during the month of March. The design was provided to us by our little architects Aiden and Taniya, from the Breakthrough program, based in Garfield Park, Chicago. They conceptualized a Harry Potter treehouse complete with a bridge to a contemplation space and a pool. Quite a challenge!

Refortify is a design competition where teams of 5-6 people work with local youth enrolled in the Art and Science program at Breakthrough to create forts constructed of donated bedding and clothing. Through this event, Refortify gathers bedding and clothing for Breakthrough’s men’s and women’s shelter while giving kids an opportunity to learn about viable career opportunities in the art and design fields. The Refortify team teaches kids about the design process. Refortify allows participating kids to see their designs develop from concept to creation. Last week, “Refortify (forts and fabrics for a cause)” creations were on view at the Mohawk Group showroom in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

The VOA team utilized PVC pipes and angles to provide the structure for the tree house. The clothing was strung together with zip ties and hung from the horizontal beams.  A willow tree was the conceptual structure, and the clothing was hung from it like the branches of a tree.  Our bridge was cardboard, spread over blue clothing, and there was a small room inside that became the contemplation space. Clothing was stuffed inside pillow cases and duvets. It was all very plush in the end.

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