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Hope for Home inspires community art

“The idea was how can we be together when we are apart,” Hazelwanter said. “It’s a visual of spreading hope and solidarity in tough times.”

COCHRANE— A group of Cochrane High School teachers have united to help bring the community together during the COVID-19 pandemic, while practicing social distancing.

Councillor Lauraine Laudel and Grade 9 and 10 band/English teacher Jasmyne Hazelwanter launched the Hope for Home project as a fun activity for the entire family.

“The idea was how can we be together when we are apart,” Hazelwanter said. “It’s a visual of spreading hope and solidarity in tough times.”

The duo has placed little wooden houses with hangers in boxes to decorate and hang in front of Cochrane High School, École Manachaban Middle School and Elizabeth Barrett Elementary School.

The Hope for Home project is designed to, "Spread messages of hope, cheer and connection during these strange and difficult times."

Laudel said she was inspired to bring the project to Cochrane after learning about Hope for Home from a friend in Calgary.

“They sent me pictures and it just looked so cool,” Laudel said. “It looked fabulous.”

The project served as a way to connect with the kids while engaging in learning online and provided a way to involve the entire community.

Hazelwanter said she hopes people will stop by, grab a house, decorate it and bring it back to hang up and show off their work.

The houses have been sanded and drilled with wire. Lauden said they are ready to go— They just need some paint and TLC.

Hazelwanter added that it is important to use waterproof paint— Some of the houses have unfortunately been washed clean in the summers more vigorous storms.

Through donations from Spray Lake Sawmills, Home Depot and Michaels they were able to launch the project with about 110 houses, she said.

Shop teacher Darren Sagan and construction teacher Rick Ross helped prepare the houses for decoration.

“It was a team effort,” Laudel said.

She added that they are looking forward to seeing the little Hope for Home community grow.

There are about 50 houses left to decorate, Laudel said, but they hoping to get more out for people to decorate.

The goal is to get the entire fence in front of each school decorated, Hazelwanter said.

She added that even if they run out of wood encouraging people to get creative and use found items like cardboard to show off their artwork.

“If it catches on that would be fantastic,” Laudel said.


Chelsea Kemp

About the Author: Chelsea Kemp

Chelsea Kemp joined the Cochrane Eagle in 2020 as editor, bringing with her experience as a reporter and photojournalist. She writes about politics, health care, arts and entertainment and Indigenous stories.
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