We begin by expressing our sadness and solidarity with the people of Boston, who have experienced another terrorist act of violence. We pray for them, and all of us on the planet, in this time of dire beauty. We dedicate our work to the continued blossoming of compassion worldwide.
In 1993, when Wind and I first conceived what would become the Daughters Sisters Project, our strongest motivating intention was to seed teen talking circles as far and wide as possible, because every teen needs a safe space to tell the truth, experience deep listening, feel out-loud, have each other’s backs, and know they matter.
Last week, I traveled to Point Reyes, Calif. to lead nine adults, mixed gender, between the ages of 20-something and 60 in a three-day TTC Facilitator’s Training. They’d invited me down as a group because it was easier than having them all fly up to one of our trainings on Bainbridge. They were a diverse group of ingenious and heart-centered youth advocates – some wanted more ideas and tools to deepen their existing circles, some wanted to start teen talking circles for the first time, and some didn’t know why they were drawn to attend. They were teachers, administrators, artists, parents, wilderness education leaders, environmentalists — from the California Global Youth Summit, Marin Independent High School, Tomales Bay Youth Center, Bolinas Stinson Youth Foundation, Lasting Adventures and other youth serving orgs.
For me the experience was powerful. To be with so many people from the same community, committed to talking circles was such an honor. Plus, having three young men in the training was special enough (not many men do the ttc facilitator’s training), but these young men blew the doors of my heart wide open! They are the kind of male role models teen teens really need. Everyone shared deep truths about their own teen years, easily accessing their authenticity, compassion, and emotions. I left Marin on Monday knowing that what each one experienced in the training would impact their relationships with teens, I took away with me more to share with the next training group from the wisdom and experience of these amazing people.
Sending blossoms of blessings in this beautiful new Spring, linda
Over the past few days, Lilly and I spoke with a couple participants to hear their reaction to the training. Below, Ariana Aparicio, College Access Advisor at Tomales High School, and Alex Warner, wilderness guide and early childhood teacher filled us in.
Linda Wolf: Hi, Alex. What did you think of the training this past weekend?
Alex: It was powerful. We had a good facilitator. It was super productive, and the people I would consider stakeholders in the community attended it which made for a good circle, a powerful circle. Having already facilitated a lot of circles, I got more ideas and tools to deepen the circles that I’m already doing. I learned more tools and ideas and ways to be in circle with other adults. I think that the most impactful part was to revisit my teen years, and then to have an opportunity to talk to myself [as a teen] was pretty amazing.I guide wilderness trips for teens in the summers, and I work with second graders during the year doing counsel, and also even younger kids, five, six, seven years old, and we have opportunity to be in circle with them too.
Lilly: Hi Ariana, thanks for talking to me this morning! How was your experience of the training this past weekend?
Ariana: I didn’t know what to expect before I went… Now that I did it, I understand. It was one of the best three days I have spent. I felt truly privileged to have been part of that group, included in this opportunity…at the end I was like, “Wow, I didn’t realize I needed this” –a comfortable safe space where you were listened to, without judgment. I’d like to provide a circle for the teens in my community.
Lilly: Could you tell me about your community?
Ariana: My community is a small rural town in west Marin, about 400 people… Half the population is Latino, and half predominantly white. We have a youth center, but nothing where students or teens feel like they can go and just talk. After college, I went back to my old high school, Tomales High School, to help students prepare for college. I’ll use what I’ve learned in our training in my work with them. There is a need for teen talking circles here.
Lilly: I’m assuming you didn’t have a teen talking circle growing up. Could you describe the need for that, your needs as a teen that weren’t being met?
Ariana: I grew up in a community where I was trying to receive resources from the school, support from certain people that I thought I could rely on because they were also Latino and would understand my situation. When I didn’t receive their support I felt rejected, ignored, and pushed aside. I felt like I wasn’t deserving of their help, and felt humiliated at times because I didn’t understand why I was treated like that. But then I used that negligence from the adults in my life to push forward and seek help from others. I’m still looking back and wondering why, why it had to be like that. But it’s like a blessing, because I learned to be independent. I learned to be my own advocate. I found my voice. I learned to question authority, and learned that I mattered too. I learned that my points of view should be addressed. I learned to empower myself. Now I want to provide that support for teens at the high school level. Leaving the training, I felt truly humbled and honored to have shared this experience with the members in the group, and Linda herself.
For info about our June TTC Facilitator’s Training, check this link: TTC June