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No Rio de Janeiro, o grafite  é uma expressão artística muito forte; em alguns lugares até sugere a identidade de um bairro ou comunidade. Na nossa comunidade aquelas expressões não faltam, pelo que se torna uma inquietude para as crianças que participam nas aulas do Centro Comunitário.

Numa segunda feira junto com Sole Roura (voluntaria argentina que guia as atividades quada segunda), trabalharam com a técnica do estêncil. Desenharam o estêncil primeiro, probando diferentes formas, cortaram e logo depois apropriaram-se dos muros exteriores do Centro para deixar o seu registro.

Ter a possibilidade de dizer e expressar, nos faz livres. Pelo que aprender diferentes recursos para poder manifestar nossas ideias é sempre bom.

No final, os muros ficam cheios de cores, corações, carros, sol, sorrisos e mais. Todos olham satisfeitos a sua estampa. Um deles diz com alegria: “Olha Tia, Eu também sou grafiteiro” ❤

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Making the World a more Beautiful Place

Meet Miriam Brugmann, better known as Miru.


Miru brings color and adventure to gray city walls in Rio de Janeiro, including our own walls here at the Julio Otoni center.
Her current series is based in her passion for animals, nature and music. It began with inspiration from a powerful full moon over the ocean that inspired Miru while she was living in Salvador, Bahia. Now she shares this inspiration with the children at Julio Otoni, painting murals on the walls of the community center.
You can also see the influence of powerful indigenous culture present in Miru’s art, as she spent a time studying the colors and patterns used by tribes in the Amazon region.


Miru believes that just living in a place full of art and color will improve the lives of the children, and so she makes her contribution to the community center in this way. She also remembers the influence of her grandmother, always encouraging her sister and her to draw and paint as kids. Miru says she never thought she would grow up to be an artist.

To see more of Miru’s art, visit her face book page: Miriam Brugmann

Don’t Forget Your Mother!

Meet Arthur, one of the many amazing kids at Julio Otoni. Arthur is 11 years old and loves soccer. He also loves his mother!

This week we made Mother’s Day cards to celebrate all the love we receive from our moms.
The boys’ artistic talent is only equaled by their soccer skills. Sometimes the best way to call out an artist’s talent is with a promise of a soccer game afterward!
So after making our cards it was down to the campo to play!

Listen to Arthur:

Arthur says he will be sad if you forget your mother this Sunday!


Dia do Sao Jorge at Sinal do Vale

The kids at Julio Otonio went on an adventure for their holiday on Wednesday. Sixteen students went to visit Sinal do Vale, a farm retreat center in the Santo Antonio River valley, about an hour outside of the city. For more information about the center for exchange, experiential learning and volunteering visit their website (http://www.redeh.org.br/hotsites/sinaldovale/?lang=pt).
It was a long day full of experiential learning and exploration.


We toured the gardens, harvested lettuces for lunch and met the chickens that live there. There was also discussions about compost and additive free gardening. After a morning full of learning, the kids got a chance to put their thoughts into pictures by painting a big mural with their art teacher who now lives at Sinal, Hernan.


The day got even better when it was time to play in the pool! We ate the salad we had harvested for lunch, along with homemade veggie burgers and juice.
After all this the day continued with a hike to a waterfall! I can’t think of a better way to spend a holiday from school. Thank you to our friends at Sinal do Vale for welcoming us for the day!



We can’t wait to come back for another visit!



Enjoy your holiday festivities and tune in next week for another post!

Guna the Great Sharing her Passion for Art, Health and Life at Julio Otoni


The Julio Otoni Project has attracted many great volunteers, and Miss Guna is surely one of them. This glowing and healthful soul came to Julio Otoni to teach art classes, which have grown into much more.

Guna shared with me the three key components of her classes:

1. Increasing body awareness and appreciation


Starting each class with breathing exercises and yoga postures helps the kids at Julio Otoni become aware of the present moment.

2. Art as a means to discover youself

Guna and her teaching partner Hernan, use open ended assignments to allow the students to explore. The painting above was created when the students were asked to paint their soul.

3. Food- giving thanks and eating what will help us grow.

Guna created these mandalas with the students to celebrate the fun and beauty in healthy food. This is just one of example of the many healthy snacks Guna and Hernan have prepared for the students at Julio Otoni. Using whole ingredients and no sugar Guna shares delicious vegan snacks with the kids. As an artist Guna is also aware of the importance of the presentation of the food and how this can help us eat with more awareness and gratitude.

Guna’s classes are based in concepts many of us could learn from, and the Julio Otoni project is oh so lucky to have her as a volunteer. What’s even better is that when I asked Guna for any last thoughts about her experiences at JO she only wanted to give thanks for the opportunity to share her gifts with the community, and tell me how grateful she is for this place.
What a beautiful and mutually beneficial exchange!

Thank you Guna, we cherish your good work.


Tchau, David!

This week we say good bye to a long term volunteer at the center. David is returning to his homeland of Austria this week, after nine months of volunteering with the Julio Otoni project.


David has been a dedicated English teacher for both adults and children of the Julio Otoni community, as well as a chaperone on adventures with the kids.

I had the chance to sit and talk with David a bit about his time at the center, and was inspired by his commitment. When David first arrived he spoke no Portuguese and had no teaching experience. Day by day his Portuguese advanced and he discovered his aptitude for creating engaging English lessons. It was the positive response from the community at Julio Otoni that kept David coming back despite the challenges he faced.

“Nothing is too difficult. There is knowledge to be gained from every situation, no matter how difficult.

Some of David’s favorite parts of his time at the center were his excursions with the students. These included visits to a nature reserve outside of the city and to Teatro Sesi here in the city center.


Another favorite aspect of the job for David was the amount of personal growth he underwent throughout the experience. David is returning to Austria with the realization of his capability as a teacher and a higher value placed on education.


Thank you, David. We’ll miss you!

New semester, new classes!

Coming back to school after holidays is always difficult, especially after the joys of Carnival. Luckily the schedule at Julio Otoni is full of engaging classes, taught by local community members as well as our amazing volunteers from around the world.


Click to enlarge

Get to know what’s going on at Julio Otoni by following our blog as we meet and interview a teacher or student each week.


New semester, new face

To start the semester, the center is changing his face with a mural from the plastic artist Miriam Brugmann. Thank you, Miru!