I’m happy to have a post from our instructor, Kacie Clark! Kacie writes about the need for healthy communities for teen girls, and how to help them feel valued and included.
Now that I’m expecting my own child, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and reflecting on my childhood and adolescence, and how I can help my child navigate through the inevitable rough patches that the teenage years, in particular, may bring.
The word “community” keeps reoccurring to me: community regarding feeling a sense of belonging, of kinship. I think one of the hardest parts of being a teenager is feeling like you’re alone in the universe; that you’re the only person like you and no one else can understand your struggles and your story. Having a place to create and nourish friendships with like-minded people would have been a huge boon for me.
At Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest, creating this sense of community is both integral to and inherent in the classes we teach: we encourage cooperation and trust between our girls to help foster the bonds of friendship and inclusion. We learn together, motivate and assist each other, and work together on our projects to create beautiful and meaningful pieces of art.
As late author Susan Vreeland wrote:
“Where there is no human connection, there is no compassion. Without compassion, then community, commitment, loving-kindness, human understanding, and peace all shrivel. Individuals become isolated, the isolated turn cruel, and the tragic hovers in the forms of domestic and civil violence. Art and literature are antidotes to that.”
In our classes, we ask our girls what they want to say to the world, what they want to share. By working together in a community, by creating ties to one another, one girl’s voice becomes many, becomes determined and strong.
Kacie Clark, Instructor, Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest