by Alex Andrasik
The Finger Lakes Justice Partnership (FLXJP)’s community skillshare series is back after a successful inaugural run of events last year.
The goal of this community program is to impart useful and creative knowledge to meaningfully enhance people’s lives, all for free. This year, its organizing committee is working to take the concept to another level, with resources for continued learning built into every session.
The result of a collaboration between FLXJP and several Yates County organizations, as well as individual presenters, last year’s skillshares included yogurt making, conflict resolution, plant identification, baking (traditional and gluten-free), and more. The slate for 2024, still in planning, already includes a number of exciting life skills, interpersonal skills, and artistic skills.
Two-time attendee Morgan Hoke is enthusiastic about her experiences. “I wasn't sure what to expect, but I can tell you, I left both skillshares feeling like I truly learned something,” she said. “After the gluten-free skillshare, I felt like I had learned enough to go home and make the same exact recipe. After the crocheting skillshare, I felt like I was given enough tools to go home, practice, and work toward actually being able to create something with my own two hands. I've been practicing since.”
The advantages of these events go beyond the knowledge participants can pick up. They are also an excellent means to create connections and foster interpersonal resilience, according to frequent attendee and new Penn Yan resident Charlie Domahidi. “I think very broadly, it's been a good opportunity to meet people in the community. I appreciate the social aspect of the skillshares,” Domahidi said.
This year’s series will begin on Saturday, February 17 at 4 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Penn Yan with a continuation of December’s very popular crocheting session. All are welcome, no matter your skill level, to learn more about this useful fiber art and handicraft skill, which will be presented by longtime crocheter Hannah Farley. The session will be hands on, with crochet hooks and yarn provided. March will see a session on working with sourdough, followed by a session on origami basics in April. Further events will be announced as they are set. To register for the crocheting session, please visit http://tinyurl.com/yuzc8t7v.
Hoke agreed. “My favorite part is the sense of community. In a town of this size, that's so important. I love that several strangers can come together and learn a new skill together and help each other along the way.”
FLXJP continues to seek presenters from around the region who are willing to offer their passion and expertise to the Penn Yan community. The organizers are open to nearly any skill that can be taught, and FLXJP is able to provide locations, materials and other logistical support as needed. You can get on the list for this year’s series by filling out the form at http://tinyurl.com/52jhvyjx. In addition, this presenter interest form, as well as registration forms for each session, can always be found at https://linktr.ee/flxjp. FLXJP invites everyone to bookmark it to keep up-to-date with their offerings.
Presenters are the most important part of the series, a sentiment with which Hoke readily agreed. “I loved that the [presenters] truly took the time to assist everyone and help anyone that was confused or behind. No one was ever made to feel left out or less than for not figuring it out right away," she said.
FLXJP was founded in Penn Yan in the summer of 2020 with the goal of offering opportunities for education, discussion and understanding around social justice issues of all kinds. Since then, their mission has expanded to include issues of community resilience and cohesion. They submit a monthly column to the Chronicle-Express newspaper, produce a weekly newsletter of social justice information, classes, and action opportunities, and host monthly awareness-raising rallies, among other activities. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.