The Common Ground Experiment

May 5, 2017

What do you get when you take a class of fourth grade students and a group of women experiencing homelessness? A bunch of unlikely friendships and some beautiful poetry. This is the vision of the Common Ground Experiment, a collaboration between Wesley Prep and the Austin Street Sisterhood program.

It all started when Wesley Prep students did a community service project preparing and delivering bagged lunches for Austin Street to distribute to our guests. The kids got a lot out of that experience—but wanted something more hands on. Knowing that they love being creative, the idea to connect with the ladies in the Sisterhood through a poetry class was born. For weeks, students came to the shelter to collaborate with their homeless friends and co-write poetry, which has been published in a book that is now being sold to raise money for the shelter.

Wesley Prep fourth grader Dylan says, “If we just stop and talk to people, it can change both of our lives. I think it’s cool how that works. If everyone did that, I bet only half as many people would be homeless, and I think that would be great”

On Saturday, April 29, the Common Ground Experiment hosted a poetry reading at Opening Bell Coffee to share their work with the community. A packed house listened closely to students and homeless women—now close friends—read the work they wrote together.

“If we just listen to our kids,” said Austin Street guest Teri, “just listen to ‘em… we could really learn something.”

Check out the story from WFAA about the Common Ground Experiment here.

Enjoy a poem from the Common Ground Experiment below, and get your copy of the book here:

Brothers and Sisters in Session

By Courtney, Cynthia, and Winn

I am from the sweet smell of homemade chocolate chip cookies
And my love of the wonderful taste of coffee cake
I am from the fun, jiggly look of Jello, and its cool, fruity taste
We are from all these mouthwatering, tasty, sweet treats
Made with love by our parents
I am from relaxing in bed, to playing basketball with my friends.
And I’m from painting a perfect masterpiece
To playing a competitive game of jacks.
I’m from signing quietly to myself
To singing on the biggest stage of Broadway Junior.
We are from the biggest to the littlest things!
I am from driving the gator at the farm
When I was little
To dressing up Barbie in beautiful outfits as a girl.
I am from dressing myself in my favorite
Fabulous dress up clothes when I was younger
We are from our favorite childhood memories.
I am from Christmas Eve cookies
To the awe of Fourth of July fireworks.
I’m from wearing my awesome St. Patrick’s Day outfits and
Christmas filled with beautiful lights, lifted high
With Jesus’ love.
And from getting chocolate on Valentine’s Day
To waking my family up early on Easter morning.
We are from all of these special moments filled with love,
And mostly we are from our God above.


Stay up to date by signing up for our newsletter.