Recent Projects

Beirut, Lebanon, Children's Social Services Program
White Hutchinson has been selected to serve as program and design consultants to a new not-for-profit children's social services organization in Beirut, Lebanon called Children Interactive Community (CIC). It is being founded and funded by a group of businessmen from throughout the Arab world. CIC's mission will be to enhance the education and life skills of poor Arab child, including teaching tolerance and problem solving skills. The program will be neighborhood-based, emphasizing partnering with other NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and the government. There are currently 150 NGOs operating in the greater Beirut area. Beirut was chosen as the prototype location for the program, which will be introduced to all areas of the Arab world in a phased approach. Beirut is perhaps the most challenging social environment in the Middle East for development of such a program due to its wide multi-ethnic/religious diversity and continued division that still lingers after the 15-year civil war. Beirut's highly pluralistic population consists of various Muslim sects (including Sunni, Shi'ites and Druze) and Christian denominations (including Maronites, Greek Orthodox and various Catholic denominations) as well as different ethnic groups including Armenians, Palestinians and Syrians. CIC will serve the lower socio-economic children and families of all ethnic-religious groups.

CIC's program will include home invention; a model childcare; development of neighborhood libraries, toy libraries and computer centers; assistance in capacity building for other NGOs that work with children; teacher and social worker training; development of neighborhood play and recreation facilities and enhancements to existing school environments and curricula. This comprehensive approach to children and their families will require partnering with the mosaic of NGO's, political and religious organizations and the government.

Research is still underway. Pilot programs will be launched in several months. CIC's new headquarters and training center is expected to be completed in two years.

White Hutchinson's was considered a perfect fit for CIC's needs due to our extensive and broad-based experience with the design and programming of children's edutainment, enrichment, learning and recreation facilities, our experience with both family and children's social service programs and not-for-profit organizations, and our cultural experience in the Middle East. Future issues of this eNewsletter will report on CIC's progress.

Paradise Park Children's Play & Discovery Center, Lee's Summit, MO
Provided a one-day training to play staff on play leadership, behavior management and child development in the newly opened children's play and discovery center. The center was designed by White Hutchinson for children under the age of eight with their parents and includes the following events: outdoor play garden that includes pretend fishing, campfire cooking, pedal go karts, climbing structures from Europe and a dinosaur dig; performance areas both indoors and outdoors, pretend village that includes a house, supermarket, dress-up room and pizza restaurant; interactive cooking; art studios; face painting; water tables, reading room and a construction area.