Scene 3: Ronell’s Sight into the Help Centre


Finishing a tour of the Village Ronell told the team she wanted us to see her house. Earlier we had found that most days we would be working from her house. We saw touring her house as a good ice breaker to get to know the two women better. It would give them a chance to open up to us so in turn we can open up to them. We also saw it as a good place to start discussing some of the logistics of the project and what we will be doing during our workdays in the village.

Key “Take Home” Observations:

  • The team needs directions and pre-determined goals each week to guide progress
  • The team will be working along with the Pathway team at times
  • City council is aware of the project and wants a tangible location
  • Closed driving range may be a possible venue
  • Garden Village wishes to connect with other neighboring communities to show them how the members come together as a close-knit and safe place
  • There is hope for using the centre to help improve communications with the city and utilization of trained community members for services such as a health clinic

Action and observations:

As we concluded our first walk through the streets of Maitland Garden Village, the team found itself at a yellow house that followed the similar dual house layout of the old village as designed over a century ago. Upon the team’s arrival, we met up with an anxious and excited Ronell waiting in the doorway of her welcoming home that she shares with her husband, Andre, and son Ryno. Working our way into the newly added common area that connects with her front door, we found where our team would set up shop for most of our time in the village. After a few moments of small talk amongst the teams and sponsors, we were all welcomed into the kitchen where there were snacks and beverages set out on the table. With a quick description of the house and a short history concerning the house style and comparison to our own homes, Ronell emphasized several times that we were to feel at home and not be shy. This moment really defined the comfort level among the various characters in this story as we all began to feel at home with one another. With more casual conversation and some snacks, we all once again met in the little addition to the three room house and began to talk about our role in the project. Ronell went to explain that it would become our role in this project to secure the necessary land through the city council with the creation of a proper proposal. This land would again be used to hold as a venue for a community help centre that may connect the members of Maitland Garden Village through the Green Light Project and the various other organisations of the village. As the proposal were to take structure, the team would continue to strengthen the community based organisation through formal structuring and marketing. As Lorenzo found his way to Ronell’s, we continued to discuss further the direction and changes they wished to make in regards to last year’s team and progress.

In our discussions with our sponsors and Lorenzo many new dimensions of the project began to take form. Lorenzo began the discussion by giving insight into his personal goals for the team in regards to work ethic and ideas. The WPI team last year that worked with the community and established the Green Light Project had some difficulty finding direction in the starting days of their arrival. There seemed to be a lack of experience on the part of the community with working with the students. As there was some struggle with direction, and ultimately focus, there was a rush towards the final days that may have been unnecessary. It is Lorenzo’s hope that our team quickly gain focus with goals and ideas from the very beginning. With these, the team and community may be able to stay on track and accomplish goals quicker to further the project and benefit the community. Though Lorenzo expressed his preference for immediate direction, there was little presented to the team. It was placed upon our team to determine the direction and update Ronell and the other managers of the Green Light Project as we progress along.

After establishing the need for focus and direction, the discussion continued on as Ronell wished to inform us more on the current status of the project in relation to the city council and intended outcomes. We were told that the idea of creating a help centre for the village had been pitched to the city council to discuss feasibility and assistance. The council asked for the Green Light Project to get back to them with specific locations of interest. There is a closed driving range within the village near the Black River that looks promising.

Looking upon the possible new venue, Ronell went on to explain her vision for the help centre. After learning about the proposed venue, we were told that a proposal would be necessary to obtain the rights to use the land and building from the city. On a more long term level, Ronell went on to explain the Green Light Project’s hope for the final outcome of the project. The help centre is meant not only to connect and benefit the local community members of the village, but it is also meant to connect with neighboring villages as it may show the functionality and trust among the village and its residents. The centre will hopefully show the other villages how a community can come together for a common goal of improvement of the village and its way of life. It may also begin to show how a tight-knit group based on trust and honesty improves the community in such ways as decreasing crime and exclusion.

In connecting with other communities and becoming a role model through its practices, there were also other more specific samples of services and issues that could be addressed by such a centre. As the community lacks an important resource of transportation, public or private, many issues begin to arise. With no transportation for students studying in high school further down the road, there arises an increase in the dropout rate due to weather and distance. There was once a bus; but as the community was not fully aware of its presence, the company took Maitland Garden Village off its route.  With this, the village also lacks a health centre and a grocery store with reliable hours. Since there is no public transportation for these services, many are forced to walk long distances in the same discouraging weather conditions. Though there is the option of carpooling or services provided for a fee, they are rarely utilized due to the expense. As for carpooling and private cars, they are used on occasion but most with such means are unavailable due to work during certain times of the day. It is the hope of Ronell that the centre may be able to address such issues through local means and contact with local agencies, such as using locally trained individuals for a clinic and contacting the city for local transportation.

After the discussion of the importance of the help centre and several goals for its established use, the meeting at Ronell’s came to a conclusion. We were told that we would be able to scope out the proposed sight and went on to the driving range. We were also informed that we would be collaborating with the pathway group on a lot of our work.

Reflection and Learning:

Looking back upon this meeting and essential moment of understanding in our project, there were several aspects that led to new understandings and variances. As this was our first day on the site, there was little our team had in mind in going. We were not sure about what to expect except for what we had learned during our preparation period on campus into the functioning and support of a help centre. When we spoke with Ronell, we had not considered the true nature of the help centre and all that it may entail as it affects the community and those around it.  Our team had originally seen the centre to be a venue for the Green Light Project. Ronell had a larger vision in mind as she wished for it to be able to connect people outside the committees as well. Along with this, we were unaware of the connection Ronell wished our project to have with the pathway project. This connection with the river and possible tourist attraction was new to the team. Aside from the difference in vision, there was also a slight difference in the direction between Ronell and Lorenzo. As we all spoke of what we thought of the project and where to go next, Lorenzo was able to express the need for outlining our specific goals separate from the other team as Ronell seemed to wish for a stronger connection. As the opposing opinions came about, they were able to still agree on the need for structure and direction from an earlier stage than the previous year’s project. Seeing all this unfold, we were unsure of our relation to the other team and what work we would find ourselves doing aside from obtaining the property we were about to see.



To go to the previous scene, click here!               To go on to the next scene, click here!


Act 1 Main Page

Cast of Characters

MGV Homepage