Get to Italy
Brendan Attridge, born and raised in South Boston, is an intern at Southie’s Medicine Wheel Productions. Brendan has a life changing opportunity before him but he needs your help! Recently named the 5th Roberto Valdez Scholarship Recipient, Brendan has the opportunity to visit Italy as part of yearly retreat with Medicine Whee Productionsl.
Medicine Wheel’s Michael Dowling says the scholarship helps give a young person the opportunity to step out of life of distractions to take a journey of awareness. “All to often I take the supports that I have in my life for granted. The young people I work with remind me on a daily basis to stop and listen!
Two years ago it looked like Brendan was well on his way. He was enrolled as a student at the prestigious Lesley University and was pursuing his music career. Since being forced to leave school for financial reasons he has struggled to find a meaningful path. He recently called me and let me in on what was going on in his life. To be privy to this was a humbling gift for me.”
Medicine Wheel is looking for 300 people to donate just $10 each to send Brendan to Italy. If you need more convincing, here is a letter from Brendan:
My name is Brendan Attridge, and I was born in South Boston, MA. I am lost. A free faller, out of step, unorganized but not disorganized, and in need of direction: a purposeful escape. I graduated high school in Brighton MA, but was denied a chance at higher education. After two semesters, a 3.3 GPA, and countless efforts to stay in school, my only option was to withdraw because I could no longer afford it (all this while living out of my backpack). I am a product of the city, but I don’t let it dictate the young man I am determined to become. I am a product of Medicine Wheel; Medicine Wheel is my escape, and the community I look to for guidance. I first met Michael Dowling in the summer of 2006. I needed community service hours, and instead he gave me a job. I didn’t fully understand how landscaping a vacant areabehind a high school correlated with artistic outreach, and it was something that took me some time to learn and appreciate. To make a change, you must first learn that we all can and should create. Landscaping that vacant lot created change, and over time Michael’s dream of the South Boston community reaching out to one another followed suit.
He worked with all of us: the youths in distress. The hoodlums, trouble makers, lost souls who had never before seen reason behind creation as an outlet, or the worthiness of investing in the potential that resides within all of us. Some of us made it through those tumultuous times, plagued with negative influence, drug use, pressure to commit crimes; and some of us didn’t. Regardless of our endeavors, the idea to create was still nurtured in all of us.
Michael and Medicine Wheel took me under their wings, and showed me compassion and guidance I had never before experienced. They taught me that letting people in, accepting who you are, and maintaining hope of mutual trust with our companions were some of the keys to a more fulfilling life. Instead of reprimanding me for my juvenile ways, he approached me with respect and consideration. I definitely wasn’t used to this, and it most definitely made me more accountable for my actions. I became more aware that my actions have consequences not just for me, but also for those around me.
The life I lead previous to my introduction to Medicine Wheel had always been structured around the arts. Guitar was a way to cope with just about anything: hopelessness, stress, and anxiety etc., the typical mundane spirit of the growing adolescent. Unfortunately though, the City of Boston didn’t provide many resources to channel the artist inside all of us during the tender youth of my generation. Until I found Medicine Wheel (vice versa?) the spirit of the artist was slowly fading within me. *”People destroy because they’re not invited to create”, and Medicine Wheel opened its arms and paved the path for me to not only create, but also realize we all have worth in what we give back to the earth; that every soul is precious and worthwhile.So to sum it up, here I am, almost twenty-one years old. A young adult without education, sapped for almost all of my money, and with no real place to call my own.
Home means sanctuary. Medicine Wheel is the closest thing to a home I have, and this artistic retreat to Italy will be the closest thing to sanctuary I’ve had in a long time. This isn’t just an opportunity to travel for me, it is a call to break out of my comfort zone. A wake up call that life has so much more to offer even when it feels like it has turned its back on you. This retreat is not only sanctuary and a chance to honor my artistic temple,
but a much needed rest from my ever-meandering life. Please help fund the journey that could potentially point me in the direction of better things to come.
To donate visit: http://mwponline.org/wordpress/?page_id=692