There is a beautiful thing that happens when we gather together around a table. In February we started sharing weekly a meal before Creative Life, family style. We hear stories of the week, laugh together, serve one another salad, and break garlic bread. It's something we all need in Canada's loneliest city: connection. To be known, to feel valued, to experience belonging.
Earlier this year, over a bowl of shepherds pie, one of our youth glanced slowly around the table and proclaimed, "this is good."
When I was first dreaming and planning for Creative Life I would draw inspiration and wisdom via Skype from a wonderful woman, Phyllis Novak, the Director of a large community arts initiative for marginalised youth in Toronto. One thing that resonated deeply with me was as we talked about supplies: “We don’t want hand-me-downs, but art supplies instead presented like a beautiful feast; a grand banquet for the imagination!” Last month, when we asked one of our participants how his experience with our fibre workshop was, he replied: "It was awesome! I love this group! Everyone else I know does drugs or drinks. This feels good.”
As Jean Vanier puts it so beautifully: "my experience has shown that when we welcome people from this world of anguish, brokenness and depression, and when they gradually discover that they are wanted and loved as they are and that they have a place, then we witness a real transformation - I would even say 'resurrection'. Their tense, angry, fearful, depressed body gradually becomes relaxed, peaceful and trusting. This shows through the expression on the face and through all their flesh."
This Spring we are running a campaign called Dot to Dot, drawing on this imagery of connection, like those old school Connect the Dot games. At Creative Life we have seen that as we connect, lines of creativity can be drawn, and new pictures of hope can be revealed. To celebrate the transformation in our community we are also hosting several amazing events this June! For more information see: www.creative-life.ca/blog