2021 Return From Covid19 Prep: The Self Parade

Tom and Cristhian are getting ready for their September 2021 trip. These trips take months of planning and preparation and due to the uncertainty of covet involved to impact decided to allow an informal trip with alumni from past trips who were willing. In order to raise money for his plane ticket, Christian is working with Tom on a number of projects, and waiving reimbursement as an artist, to pay his way, most recently by working to create a memorial day self parade for veterans!

For more information about this self tour, it’s connection to other projects in the area and to support our work keep reading!

It is the mission of Involved to Impact, to inspire positive leadership in communities of needs and to build synergy between leaders through shared experience.

The Self Parade Is sponsored by the Rambling House, Smith-Weiss, Shepard & Spony
and Welts, White & Fontaine, with support from Aldermen Ernest Jette and Tom Lopez

In partnership with Involved to Impact, Operation Enduring Welcome, The Boys & girls Club of Greater Nashua and the city of Nashua, self parade was created by artist Cristhian Londono as an activity for volunteer youth from the Boys & girls Club of Nashua.

Due to the covid-19 epidemic, the organizers of Nashua’s annual Memorial Day celebration were unable to coordinate the participants necessary to create the annual parade, so we made a small scale alternative for veterans living on factory Street as well as nashua residents at large.

Downtown parking barriers, placed to allow traffic redirection due to seasonal outdoor dining provide an opportunity for positive artistic messaging. On the external surface facing the road are patriotic designs along the theme of stars and stripes. On the inside pedestrian side facing the sidewalks are positive and inspiring messages from youth to veterans. It’s location on Factory Street allows veterans coming from the Dalainis house downtown to view these messages as they pass by.

Involved to impact is proud to be the current fiscal agent for Operation Enduring Welcome.

Initially started as a partnership between neighbors to decorate a residential program for homeless veterans for Christmas.. Operation Enduring Welcome really found its voice After positive street arts highly successful hearts and minds mural series.

Hearts and Minds, like Tom and Cristhian’s current project and like Operation Enduring Welcome, began with neighbors helping a community of veterans. A wall outside Dalainis house was tagged, above the veterans, favorite place to sit outside, criticizing the community for forgetting an abandoning them.

Ric Everhard and daughter Gianna consider the space they have transformed

This resonated with Tom and he organized positive street artist Ric Everhard and Raphael Calderon to help build on the message that was presented in a manner that veterans who live there could be proud of. The result was the first hearts and minds mural, the Patriot. It effectively transformed a space that was vacant and abandoned into a point of pride around which veterans were able to gather for years.

The second hearts and minds mural was meant for the community, a prompt to thank veterans for the service they give to the community in protecting our freedoms, located off of Water Street it is highly visible and features all branches of the military at the time. It included many different members of the community, including artist Kristen Wolfe, who has since, sadly passed, Tom Lopez and Lee Colon, lead by Positive Street Artist Manuel Ramirez.

And organizing the funding for it and executing the mural, positive street art worked with the veterans of Delainis House, Who were very protective of the mural as it was being created and supportive of artists working in extreme heat, providing water and first responder support when needed. A 4th of July event series including a hot dog eating contest a concert and a mural tour engaged veterans in what would begin an annual 4th of July event, positive street art began to realize its vision for this series to inspire a passion for urban arts in a productive way, and build stronger communities between artists and veterans

The third and most ambitious hearts and minds mural is located on Quincy Street across from the post office on the wall of Nashua foundry. This piece features members of all service branches at the time as well as scen es including their families. The Promise represents the commitment to keep veterans forever in our hearts and minds as they kept us in theirs, during their service. Supported by the VFW American legion, City of Nashua and with representatives of veterans from all service branches in existence at the time, the promise endures as one of Nashua’s largest and most appreciated murals. The 4th of July celebrations continued and with new partners began a new ongoing tradition that was taken up by Operation Enduring Welcome. OEW was founded in 2018 to build stronger partnerships between veterans and communities with quarterly events for veterans at Dalainis house as well as efforts to cultivate stronger ties to local businesses, for veterans.

If you would like to support 4th of July/ Enduring Hearts and Minds mural, please Subscribe to Operation Enduring Welcome, to sponsor this project click the button below!