Educator Testimonials


YARD, Patryk Les

I know that I know nothing. is is my conclusion. For many it could sound bizarre, but for me it is the source of truth and humanity. Aer last year, which was a very important year for me, I have reached many goals and it is time for more. Before I was blocked by the anxiety of doing something. Deep inside I knew thing will turn on the right tracks. Because I always had the feeling I am waiting for that. And it happened.

Simple thank you to Jana Napoli on the Finnisage of the Floodwall exhibition was the rst step I did. Something changed inside me. Now I am 24 years old and the next steps on social issue inputs were important instruments for my personal growth. I think I reached more through that last year than ever before. I found the denition. Life is a story. Life in inself is a form of creation.

I get through giving. It was intention for the YARD idea. YARD was the rst social issue input to create interaction with local community of Wroclaw's poorest district – Nadodrze. Together with Kamil Tobiasz and Basia Browarnik we designed logo and wrote the concept for YARD's conception. YARD happened aer the mural painting with kids on the back wall of Edith Stein House with Jana Napoli, Logan Napoli, Basia Browarnik, and Turron Patterson, and Madonia Graves; two YaYa artists from New Orleans, Louisiana. We were helping those kids create their rst mural.

Now is one year later. So much has happened in my life: Impuls workshops, Operacja Nadodrze… and there are still unknown islands on the horizon. I wrote my Manifesto. My BA Diploma at the Art Academy called "YARD's Color" is correlated with the idea of social issue involvement.


Edith Stein Society

Dear Jana,

Thanks to the Ya/Ya alumni staying on after their granted time with liS on the Divercity 2010 project last summer, we were able to begin a new engagement with the young people in the projects behind us. Turron Patterson and Madonia Graves took the time to get to know the neighborhood. Nadodrze is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Wroclaw. They hung out and played basket ball with the guys, and with time gained their confidence.

We had never been able to do this before. This opened a door to work with them and the young girls to do a Mural of their design, to represent themselves and their neighborhood. This is a new pro active collaboration concept for Poland. Two young and talented Polish artist, Patryk Les and Basia Browamik, came in to help the Ya/Ya's complete the Mural. Patric subsequently came to us with a project call Yard. We then engaged him to work with our initiative, Operacja Nadodrze 2011.

Thank you & best to all with so many happy memories.
We wish you all the best for the future.

Paulina Maloy
Program Department
Edith Stein Society


FEZ-Berlin (01. Nov. 2010)

"Floodwall: Tales of Tragedy and Hope from Hurricane Katrina" took place in Berlin from September 10th to October 15th 2010. The program represented an opportunity for the Berlin public to learn about the impact of hurricane Katrina on the citizens of New Orleans, the remarkable recovery the city is making, and the role of art and culture in the processes of reflection and rebuilding.

Jana Napoli was in Berlin together with two dancers, Carlos and Gentelle, and I had the pleasure of making their acquaintance, showing them our location at FEZ-Berlin (Europe's largest Children's, Youth and Family Activity Center) and collaborating with them, the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy and Jana herself to introduce the Berlin school children & some of our young leaders to Jana's work through outreach programmes concerning the Floodwall exhibition. Both Carlos and Gentelle left a lasting impression on me and the pupils of the Grundschule am Insulaner, who they worked with on two school days during their stay. With more advance notice it would have been a pleasure to create a wider school outreach programme together with them, but as their schedule was very tight and time short we were left hoping that they might return again on another occasion.

I also had the chance to meet with Jana on several occasions and had the pleasure to get to know her as an artist and person. The Floodwall project itself created a beautiful setting for cultural diplomacy, from the work with schools all the way to major decision makers in Berlin and it would be an honor to assist Jana and her team at any later date in her projects, whether in the US or here.

I look forward to meeting her again.

Michael Raj Kunsmann


Berlin Brandenburg International School

Dear Jana and Gentelle,

Thank you so much for working with our Middle School Students last week. All of our students thoroughly enjoyed this exciting experience.

We are particularly impressed with how you, Jana, introduced the students to your "Drawer Speaks" workshops, and encouraged them to think about what they would take with them in case a natural disaster hit them. They were very engaged when they painted their objects into a drawer, and really appreciated how you encouraged each individual student when you spoke to them about their artwork afterwards. I am sure this experience has made all students more receptive to works of art and also in terms of what people go through when disasters strike a whole city or group of people.

We would like to thank you, Gentelle, for involving our students in teambuilding exercises in which they analyzed the similarities and differences of individuals and teams. The way you inspired them to participate and share their ideas with the help of movement, music and dancing amazed our student (and teachers!). They had a lot of fun – and learned through the Youth Dance Challenge how they can cooperate better with their team members.

I have included a few photos here, and would like to share what our students said after you worked with them: "Can we do these workshops again? Can we have the artists come back?"

So thank you again for working with our 150 Middle School students. We would love to have you back.

Kind regards,

Michaela Jung
BBIS Middle School Principal


Drawer Speaks Workshop Helps Build Teamwork at Anne-Frank-Oberschule (2010)

Dear Floodwall Project Team,

On Monday September 10, 2010 we were in for a surprise during our regular advanced English lessons. Coming in we saw you, four nice-looking and really open-minded people. One of you, Jana, was already chatting with some students and you were very funny the entire time and made us want to participate.

You first told us about your own experiences during the floods, which was really impressive. We were really amazed that you shared your tragic memories with us. The atmosphere was quite breath-taking when you played the video, and we all could see what consequences the hurricane brought to you in 2005. Then you asked us to think about what we would take with us in such a case, something none of had ever thought about. It is scary. After that you gave us cardboard boxes to paint on. So we painted different kinds of cartons, big ones, small ones, coloured, blank, for something for everyone. It was a pitty that we just had one black marker, so we weren't able to paint a bit more colourful, and we wanted to paint more.

What we liked most was to be taught how to dance, even when we had to dance alone in the end. We are really not dancers, but you showed us how, and after a while we even dared to do it. Jana told us that music is the universal language and as she put the music on, the feeling to be part of a whole came through, which was just wonderful. The working atmosphere at this point was awesome and we had a lot of fun. We think your project helped us get to know each other and to work together as a group.

Thank you for those great three hours!

With regards,
LK English,


Challenged Youths Find Inspiration in the Drawer Speaks Project (2010)

My name is Jana Hallas and I teach Special Education in Houston Texas. 

When the opportunity arose for my class to participate the Drawer Speaks Project, I was very excited.  My students have a wide spectrum of physical and mental disabilities, and they rarely participate in any extra curricular activities or anything outside of what they are required to do in their classes.  For most of them, this was the first time that they were even given the opportunity to participate in something that went beyond the walls of the classroom. 

When I announced to my students that we were going to be working on a project that other students were going to be doing in other school all over the country and the world, I saw an excitement in them that I have never seen before.  They worked diligently on their drawers in class, and I even had students stay after class to complete their work, which they had never done before.  I heard not a single complaint from my students, which is rare! But rather, they asked questions, got involved, and went above and beyond what was being asked of them. 

This may not seem like much to many, but these students rarely do more than the bare minimum, and for them to have a chance to get excited and be involved with something that others will see and learn from, was a once in a life time event for them.


Jana Hallas
Cy Falls High School
Houston, TX


Student Testimonial
Freie Oberschule in Baruth (Berlin), Germany

October 2010


We was one day at a ship from the embassy of north America.  It was very interesting and we have learned a lots of things about the Hurricane Catrina in the USA. 

Everybody have painted one little box with things they need to live! I have painted on my box a handy, one TV, Play Station3, my family and my friends. That are the things they I need to live. 

At the ship was a lots of things and pictures about the Hurricane Catrina. 

And then we watched a movie about the Hurricane and is consequents. It was very scary. A lots of people lost her home or died at the hurricane. The Hurricane make a lot of chaos and destroyed villages and cities and woods.

It must be a very bad time for the people they live in North America.

And then we listen to a story from a woman they come extra from the USA to us and tell us something about the Hurricane and is bad consequents and about her life in north America. She tells us that her mother died at the Hurricane that’s was a very bad and sad moment.

I think the day of the ship from the embassy of north America was very interesting and was very funny. That was my text about our day on the ship from the embassy of North America


Oberschule Schlaubetal, Germany

September 2010

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