Opening Doors, Opening Minds

Opening Doors, Opening Minds

Community Walls

The Community Walls program is an educational outreach program that asks youth ages 11 to 17: "What is it like to live in your community?" The program uses original artwork to help young people gain greater cultural understanding, define their community, express what it is like to live there, and build pride in their culture. The artwork program is coordinated by local Hostelling International hostels and councils and is displayed in hostel buildings and administrative offices for public viewing. Community Walls utilizes a standards-based curriculum. To learn more about opportunities near you or your destination, please complete the form below:

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Support Community Walls

Community Walls gives participants the skills to travel through their lives and our world. Can you help Hostelling International USA provide more educational opportunities for young people? Please consider helping with a donation or by becoming a volunteer.

Below are examples of these artistic expressions from participants in Chicago.


Englewood, Chicago
Troop 892

Brittany H
Erica B
Brianna B
Mercedes L
Liliana C

ML: My Englewood neighborhood has many large homes and apartments along very busy streets.
BH: I included my house and a church. When I look up on a beautiful day I see bright sun, clouds and birds. I imagine drawing an "H" for my name.
EB: I showed my house and school where I play with friends and ride my bike. It is colorful and represents me.
BB: I hear El trains go by on my block. It's filled with people moving fast. We have lots of stores, parks and churches. Englewood is a nice place to grow up. I love my community.



Mayfair, Chicago
Troop 933

Airielle M
Brittani M
Kara T
Marylyn H
Stephanie S
Jennifer M
Samantha H
Jennifer J
Elizabeth Z
Ashley K
Amber K
Karen B
Michelle S

We showed what we like in our community, and the important things to us. With so many girls in our troop from different areas of the city it is hard to have one unified sense of community. We chose something that represented us as a troop. We talked about things that were special to us as teens and our culture as tradition. The two trains are something that connects us, one with tradition and one with our generation's interests. The skyline shows that we live away from downtown but can still see it from our neighborhood, which has more trees and nature instead of tall buildings.



Lincoln Park, Chicago
Troops 825 & 560

Leah K
Jennifer S
Cathi S
Michelle B
Leigh H
Ellie S
Taylor D
Chrissy S

The images you see in the painting reflect our vision of people and noteable places in Lincoln Park. We showed economic status, racial diversity, education and religious diversity. This painting is how we view our community.



Uptown, Chicago
Troop 957

Allison L
Keontay M
Brittany J
Tiara B

Chicago is known for its fantastic pizza, and we were inspired while eating a deep dish pizza. We highlight different places in each slice of the pizza that make our community unique. The pizza slices also represent the different ideas and creativity of the artists which are representative of the diversity in our community.
We interviewed various people who live and work in our community. We asked them to give us three words that best describe the "Uptown" community. The most common responses are the words we included on the crust of the pizza... Community, Unique, Busy, Involved and Diverse. We hope you enjoy your visit to Chicago, its many neighborhoods and a tasty piece of Chicago style pizza!



Rogers Park, Chicago
Troops 253 & 426

Anan A
Zahra L
Sabah L
Samrina D
Shafali L
Natasha T
Anum B

We are part of the Shia Imami Ismaili Community. The bright mosaic is like broken glass allowing you to have a look into our community. Inside you see our warmth through freshly baked cookies. We live together harmoniously, just as the music we listen to. The Ummah is like a blender full of ice cream mixing together our different flavors to create a new much tastier one. Our Ummah, based on the five pillars of Islam: Salat, Zakat, Hajj, Shahadah and Sawm, does not end here in Chicago but reaches believers all across the globe.



Lakeview, Chicago
Troops 1682 & 500

Christine J
Sarah Z
Dianna D
Phyllis A
Jillian A
Kiana R
Andrea H

The flags represent the heritage of each girl. The L train is coming out of the base of the tree, and the tree represents the foundation of Chicago.
The flags show how diverse our community is. Most people in our community get around using the CTA. The school letters of every girl are on the tree trunk. The swing represents the Chicago Park District, which is a big part of our community.



Chatham, Chicago
Troop 870

Kiara B
Tanisha H
Veronica C
Dominique M
Rosie S
Brianna L
Bashowna R

The image you see in the painting is of many girl scouts helping other people and having fun together. The central focus of our community and painting is our church. We chose to paint this because our church is central to our lives. We believe in God and his miracles. We work through girl scouts to know ourselves better, help others, have fun and learn about the world.