The Gaines Group
Eastern mennonite School

In order to live you must find joy, otherwise you are just surviving

In order to live you must find joy, otherwise you are just surviving

Last week was a rare honor for me, my seventh grade daughter allowed me to join her class at Eastern Mennonite School on a field trip. I did not get invited to any last year, so I did my best not to embarrass her too much – seems some is a requirement and then some more just for fun. More than just getting to spend time with seventh graders at an art museum, I was looking forward to this trip to the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum in Charlottesville to see the works on display. Even though the museum is almost directly across the street from our Charlottesville office, I had not visited. Right now they have featured work by Damien Shen who is able to capture emotion and spirit through both drawings in charcoal and photography. His work is amazing and you should go see it before the exhibit closes in mid-December. Outside the museum the trees are artwork as an “outdoor yarn bombing” exhibition has been installed. Yarning in Australian slang means telling a story. This exhibit highlights significant dates from 40,000 BCE to the present.

Eastern mennonite School

My favorite work at the museum might surprise you. It was a simple installation with an incredible message. We need JOY to live. The artist, Vernon ah Kee is a member of the Kuku Yalandji, Waanji, Yidinji, and Gugu Yimithirr peoples. Through clever puns and plays on words and objects he fuses the history and language of colonisation with contemporary black/white political issues to expose degrees of underlying racism in Australian society. This particular work transcends all color and race and hits home for me at the core of humanity. We need JOY to live, otherwise we are just surviving. When the students were asked what the installation meant to them, it was my daughter that spoke up and said “we have to enjoy life.” I certainly hope she remembers that message each day. Life is hard and in today’s society we are hard on each other. If we could just spread JOY, wouldn’t life be better for everyone?

Eastern mennonite School

The Kluge-Ruge Aboriginal Art Museum of the University of Virginia houses an incredible indigenous Australian art collection. It has paintings from the Papunya movement and Arnhem land artists. The museum collection originated with John Werner Kluge and Professor Edward Ruhe (University of Kansas). It features bark paintings, acrylic on canvas, sculptures, and artifacts.

on the road collaborative

Want to change the future? Mentor those that will be the change.

Want to change the future? Mentor those that will be the change.

On the Road Collaborative has kicked off YEAR 2 of the program. This year they welcomed 87 Skyline Middle School youth to their day 1 event. This organization, founded by Brent Holsinger, creates an entire pathway of opportunity and support for young people from middle school through high school graduation. Our connection to On the Road Collaborative began last year. Deborah Smith and I, along with Eastern Mennonite School student Erin Hostetler, took on the challenge of teaching 5th and 6th grade students architectural design.

on the road collaborative

Over 11 weeks this past Spring we met with the students in the 6th grade computer lab for 1 1/2 hours each week to learn about design. What an incredible opportunity for us to teach young minds that will one day run our city the importance of design. This often overlooked idea, design, impacts every aspect of our lives. Design creates places for conversation in our homes, communities, downtown, and in our places of work. Design impacts our health, energy usage, access to natural light, and the health of our streams. That is a lot to cover in 11 weeks with young minds at the end of their long day. So we called on our friends and had guest speakers join us each week to talk about architecture, building, civil engineering, building science, structural design, building code, and even marketing. Through this 11 week course where the students each designed a house they were also exposed to the broader world of design and how the human mind impacts so many more things through design decisions.

on the road collaborative

The broader goal will not be realized for many years – to help influence these young leaders to understand the importance of design. Perhaps some will enter into a profession where they will design solutions to reduce our impact on the environment, but all will experience the impacts of design and hopefully realize that we are living what we have designed. The immediate goal, they designed houses that were cool and imaginative, is that they know Deborah, Erin, and I care about them and want them to succeed.

on the road collaborative

On the Road Collaborative is such a wonderful organization and is giving these students a gift. It is also an organization that is giving this community a gift by opening up possibilities for these students to see the world in a new way. If you want to change the future? Mentor those that will be the change. Support On the Road Collaborative as they empower the next generation.

 

 

Deborah Smith

Deborah Smith received her Master of Business Administration degree from EMU

Deborah Smith received her Master of Business Administration degree from EMU

Congratulations on your achievement at Eastern Mennonite University.  We are very proud you and appreciate your hard work invested to achieve this goal!

Deborah Smith
Deborah Smith Graduates from Eastern Mennonite University 
HARRISONBURG, Va. (June 3, 2016) – Deborah Smith from Harrisonburg was recognized as a member of the 2016 graduating class of Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va.
Smith received a Master of Business Admin.

eastern mennonite universityEastern Mennonite University is a Christian liberal arts university of about 1,500 students, located in Virginia’s scenic Shenandoah Valley. EMU is guided by the peace principles of Mennonite Church USA, educating students to serve and lead in a global context through cross-cultural study and an interdisciplinary curriculum. Established in 1917, the university offers over 40 undergraduate majors and six graduate programs offering nine master’s degrees. Eastern Mennonite Seminary is part of the university, as is the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, which helped launch 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Leymah Gbowee. See more at: emu.edu/about.

canstruction harrisonburg 2016

Canstruction Harrisonburg 2016

Canstruction Harrisonburg 2016

Canstruction Harrisonburg 2016 wrapped up earlier in April and it was a huge success. This year’s event included teams from Blue Ridge Architects, 4 teams from the JMU Engineering School, and Valley Engineering.  These amazing teams constructed a 8′ tall corn cob, a bridge, a space shuttle, and several buildings from JMU. With their combined efforts this event raised 6,098 pounds of food!

This event is important to our community because it raises awareness of the issues of hunger we have in our community. Factoring in inflation, many families now earn less than they did before the great recession. Finding it challenging to make ends meet, many people have to make tough choices between hunger and paying other bills. The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank serves an average of 118,600 people per month. They also distributed 24.8 million pounds or 20.6 million meals last year.

canstruction harrisonburg 2016 canstruction harrisonburg 2016 canstruction harrisonburg 2016 canstruction harrisonburg 2016 canstruction harrisonburg 2016 canstruction harrisonburg 2016canstruction harrisonburg 2016canstruction harrisonburg 2016canstruction harrisonburg 2016 canstruction harrisonburg 2016 canstruction harrisonburg 2016 canstruction harrisonburg 2016 canstruction harrisonburg 2016 canstruction harrisonburg 2016   canstruction harrisonburg 2016 canstruction harrisonburg 2016 canstruction harrisonburg 2016 canstruction harrisonburg 2016

SVBA Home and Garden Show

SVBA Home and Garden Show in Review

SVBA Home and Garden Show in Review

The 2016 Home and Garden Show is in the books. This year’s event had the most attendance since we have been part of the event. Our booth space featured my “new” 60+ year old drafting desk. The desk was Ray’s Grandfather’s drafting desk. We are going to use it in the new Depot office space.

SVBA Home and Garden Show SVBA Home and Garden Show

As the SVBA Home and Garden Show continues to evolve into a larger community event each year. This year Canstruction, the Harrisonburg Homesteading Festival (although weather impacted this event), the non-profit showcase, SPCA Adoption, MTC Auction, and the WHSV Yard Sale all at the same venue.

SVBA Home and Garden Show

MTC pavilion at sunrise

SVBA Home and Garden Show

yard sale

Sponsors of this year’s event included “look lives” that were featured on WHSV.

Some of the SVBA building members were banner sponsors this year.

SVBA Home and Garden Show SVBA Home and Garden Show SVBA Home and Garden Show SVBA Home and Garden Show

There is always a wide variety of vendors at the show.

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The Friday night VIP party continues to be a huge success.

SVBA Home and Garden Show SVBA Home and Garden Show

MTC is a huge part of this event and the auction is a source of funds for scholarships. The school uses this event to showcase their student’s skills. You would be amazed to see how many programs and how excellent these students are in their field of study.

SVBA Home and Garden Show SVBA Home and Garden Show

With 5,000 people attending the event this year, the event certainly was popular. However, the SVBA Home and Garden Show committee continues to look for ways to improve. If you have ideas of what the show could evolve into over the coming year, please let me know.

Canstruction Harrisonburg

Canstruction Harrisonburg 2016

Canstruction Harrisonburg

Canstruction Harrisonburg 2016  is a unique international nonprofit organization which hosts competitions, exhibitions, and events showcasing colossal structures made entirely out of full cans of food. After the structures are built the creations are on display on the public as a giant art exhibition. At the end of the viewing, all food is donated to local food banks.

Canstruction Harrisonburg

Facebook Event HERE

Why Canstruction Matters?

The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank exists for a few very simple reasons: Food sustains life. It restores options. It provides hope.

BRAFB is an emergency food assistance agency that serves more than 114,000 people each month, a near record in the Food Bank’s history. Last year, we distributed 18 million meals to hungry families across the Blue Ridge. We expect to serve even more this year. The economy might be improving for many of us, but for the working poor, hunger is a daily struggle. Families shouldn’t have to choose between paying the electric bill or buying groceries.

About Canstruction

Founded in 1992, Canstruction promotes the design community and raises food for  hunger relief efforts. More than 100 Canstruction competitions were held in cities around the world last year, making it one of the largest international food drives.

homesteading festival

Harrisonburg Homesteading Festival

Harrisonburg Homesteading Festival is a new event added to the SVBA Home and Garden Show this year. April 9-10, 2016 the Homesteading Festival will feature education sessions and exhibitors. The education topics will cover canning, gardening, alternative energy, water efficiency, aging-in-place, bee keeping, backyard chickens, and solar photovoltaic systems. Our hope is that this addition to the Home Show will help those wanting to prep for an uncertain future or homestead to be better prepared.

homesteading festival

If you want a booth space to market your homesteading products, let me know. If you want to learn, put April 9-10 on your calendar.

Where is the fire in the belly attitude that this country is built on?

Where is the fire in the belly attitude that this country is built on?

As I watched the middle school girls basketball game yesterday, it hit me. From the first quarter on, they looked tired. It must have been a particularly hard day of school. They played well, but there was no fire, no emotion. As I watch sports I see that fire in some college games. There is a fire in the belly attitude with the fans and teams – they want a win and they play hard to get there. When the team does not win, they are deflated, spent, physically tired.

caasss

I do not see this in professional athletics. It seems more important to celebrate the individual effort by the individual after every play. So what you made a catch – did it change the game or did it just fill time? This individual celebration in professional athletics seems to have taken over the fire in the belly attitude that makes this country the greatest place in the world to live. I don’t think we have lost it as a country, but is certainly seems we are losing it. It certainly seems that we are focused more on the individual celebration than building a brighter future for everyone.

celebration

My father taught me to work hard and to treat every job as if my reputation depended on it. BECAUSE IT DOES. When I started my first job at 12 years old delivering papers, my parents helped me understand how to run a business, but put it on my shoulders to do the work. With every job I have had since I have treated it like my own business and put forth the best effort possible each day. Did I fail to achieve my potential? Many times. However, the failures were used as a learning opportunity, they were not just blown off as if they did not matter. This is the fire in the belly attitude that this country is built on. The true American spirit is hard work, support for each other, pride, and empathy for others. NOT GREED. The fire in the belly attitude is not about making money, it is about making the future better for you AND your family, friends, community, and country.

As I look around my community, I see the drive to be better, the  fire in the belly attitude in some great leaders. They are working hard to improve our community. These leaders are are bankers, non-profit CEOs, videographers, administrative executives, web experts, insurance salespeople…. They are the people working to make our community better. They have drive and passion. They don’t stop to celebrate every catch, they take the burden on their shoulders and move this community forward and celebrate winning as a community.

VBK 10 under 40

My desire as a father is to pass this fire in the belly attitude on to my children. As an employer, I want to pass it on to my employees. As a community member, I want to pass it on to everyone.

bike and build

Citizen Architect – How Meg is giving back

Citizen Architect – How Meg is giving back

DONATE HERE to support Meg!

A guest post by Meg Carpenter from our Charlottesville office:

I am so excited to say I will take part in Bike & Build this summer!  It’s an amazing program that sends volunteers out to bike 60-80 miles a day to various communities across the country, raising awareness about the affordable housing cause and picking up a hammer to help build affordable homes! If anyone hasn’t heard of the affordable housing cause, it’s a large issue in communities across the country. A home is a life necessity! In every state, a person working at minimum wage for 40 hours a week cannot afford a two bedroom unit at Fair Market Rent. Virginia is the 9th most expensive state with regards to housing wage, and a person working at minimum wage would have to work over 88 hours to afford a two bedroom unit! 

bike and build

In order for me to participate I must raise $2250: $750 by the end of January and $1500 by the first of April in order to keep on track and my place in the program. And all proceeds will fund young-adult driven affordable housing projects. Bike & Build has had a huge impact on the cause and please look at bikeandbuild.org for more information. The reason I am doing Bike & Build is because, while in college, I was in an architecture studio that worked with the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program, and it really opened my eyes to the issue.  I had no idea prior to volunteering, that my own community had such a strong need for affordable housing.  This summer I have the opportunity to raise awareness and can’t wait! I would love to have your support in any way possible, even if it’s a dollar. And it’s tax-deductible 🙂 If you donate please let me know because I want to send you a thank you note and sticker that says “I support” with the Bike & Build logo, that I had a local graphic designer make as a thank you!

bike and build

I have already started my part by training and learning even more about the affordable housing cause. AND for every dollar donated between now and Christmas, I will add one extra mile to the 500 miles required to train for the trip! So put me to work!!!

Please check out my bio, learn more about the specific trip I am on, and find the link to donate here! http://classic.bikeandbuild.org/rider/8718

Architectural Resources for Primary School Teachers

Architectural Resources for Primary School Teachers

I have created / gathered some resources for teachers to use in elementary, middle, and high school that incorporates architecture into the curriculum. Let me know what you think. Click HERE.

If you know of links I should include, let me know by adding to the comments below.

house KVISIT.indd KVISIT.indd