At ReDiscover Center there are so many opportunities for students to discover, manage and transform the life of objects and materials for the purpose of creativity. With a large variety of everyday discarded materials to choose from, the outcomes are wide-ranging and fun. One can spend hours rummaging here and can be inspired with many ideas for any project.
I teach science and social studies at the UCLA Lab School. Two things stand out for me about reDiscover. First, field trips. We bring our students to reDiscover to learn about how to use reclaimed materials to express their thinking as well as to learn about recycling. Recently, in our study of Community Helpers, the students made fantastic tools to help people in our school community. The best was a robot with 4 hands, a computer head and wheels to help our principal do her job! Secondly, reDiscover never fails to inspire the students and me with its range of fantastic materials! We're doing a project now about making a map of California regions. These students will never forget the four regions because they get to construct them out of fabric, random plastics, tiles and other cool stuff!
I wandered in to ReDiscover two years ago thinking it might be a nice activity for my daughter and got swept up with the organization, volunteering, making art, soliciting donations, and now as an instructor/curriculum developer. The staff and volunteers are fantastic and the recycled materials unique and wonderful to work with, for my own personal constructions and as teaching materials. If I were to change one thing it would be to upgrade the facility, which looks to be bursting at the seams and is a bit rough around the edges, particularly in the warehouse out back.
As a consultant who works with many nonprofits, I have had the opportunity to work with Mary Beth and reDiscover. It is a professional organization that has a great program in this area. I have visited the site many times and the concept is great. Keep up the good work.
Each year the reDiscover Center has organized a Big Draw LA event - a month-long drawing initiative across Los Angeles in October - including an award winning program in 2010. This past year, on top of organizing an event, reDiscover Center created over 300 sketchbooks out of recycled material that were handed out to Big Draw LA participants at other events.
reDiscover is committed to helping the community with creative ways to help reuse materials that would otherwise end up as waste. As an environmental artist, my experience with them has been amazing. Children enjoy the projects and learn about environmental issues at the same time - a perfect combination!
ReDiscover is one of those hidden gems - a mission-driven organization that shares its resources and expertise with the entire community, children and adults alike. Their tireless search for, and wildly creative use of, usual and unusual recyclable materials forces the child/parent/teacher to rethink - and rediscover - the joy of creating. The work they do with schools is invaluable - really, no one offers the kind of thoughtful art and science activities they do, whether they're doing children's workshops or teacher training. I can't recommend ReDiscover highly enough.