The main focus of Deborah Gordon-Gurfinkel’s work is the use of the creative arts in literacy with particular focus on children and youth who are high-risk for failure. The program that has evolved out of this interest is called ‘Telling It’ which currently has four sites in Washtenaw County. In the past twenty years Deborah has specialized in working with homeless children and in the past six years more of the work has been with 7-12 year olds from SOS Community Services and with youth from Ozone House and at COPE, an alternative middle and high school in Ypsilanti.
Working in collaboration with the Community Based Arts course at the Residential College continues the important component of U-M students engaged in direct work with the youngsters. The team aspect of the work is critical and to that end Deborah engages artists from the greater community to work in the program. These artists bring slam poetry, film-making, photography, tagging, hip hop and other art forms to the process of literacy; its acquisition and development.
Community Based Art (two years)
Telling It (as a course for four years)