Welcome to Collage!
In my experience, the journey of life is all about intersections; intersecting spaces, intersecting people, intersecting ideas, intersecting identities. At it’s core, that last one is what Collage is all about: recognizing that all people are built of countless intersecting identities, each playing with and against the others in more ways than we may ever really realize.
Often times we recognize this on a subconscious level: we know that our best friend isn’t just some dude. Maybe he’s a white dude. Maybe he’s a white, cisgender dude. Maybe he’s white, cisgender man of French-Canadian ancestry. Maybe he’s a white, cisgender, ethnically French-Canadian man who is starting to explore a queer identity he’d never considered before. All of those pieces of him are significant, and all of them affect the way that the others are presented, the way he internalizes them, the way he shares them with the world. Over our lifetimes, with greater or lesser clarity and depth, we come to define ourselves and those around us through the lenses of these intersecting identities. We all do this, whether consciously or not.The same is true for our kids. Indeed, our kids are – as this blog and this venture – at the beginning that journey.
The beginning… It’s a scary place to be. Taking one’s first steps on such a big and significant path, not knowing where that path leads, not knowing what choices one might have to make along the way, or what consequences one might face for those choices. Worse, as much as we focus on our own paths, we are constantly reminded that others are watching our paths as well – and frequently have thoughts or judgments or critiques of our choices. Knowing this, while simultaneously not knowing the real immensity of the undertaking, is where our children find themselves. We as parents, or educators, or caregivers, we know this on some level, but we also tend to forget just how awfully difficult it can be. My own daughters, who are incredibly fierce, self-assured, and determined, are facing this right now.
I founded Collage as a service, a space, and a resource to help kids navigate the stress of intersecting identities in a way that allows them to explore their own complex web of identity safely and confidently: working with peers in a moderated environment where they are able to stretch their comfort zones and expand their self-awareness while still feeling centered and grounded. Giving children the language and tools to explore and express their intersecting identities ultimately helps them to become more successful academically, socially, and beyond.
The broad aim of Collage is building bridges of compassionate community, and so Collage’s approach is holistic: although our primary focus is to facilitate the growth of our youth, Collage also offers classes for parents as well as educators. Collage is not intended to replace school, or church, or parenting, but rather enhance all those spaces. Ultimately, we want to build a web of communit(y/ies) that support our youth in every facet of their growing identities.
So, thank you for joining us on this journey. Thank you for joining me. I hope walking your path illuminates mine; I hope walking my path illuminates yours.