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November 21st, 2014

Community

Last week we helped run a Community Day on the Cranbrook Estate along with several members of the Tenants and Residents Association and Cranbrook Community Garden. There was biscuit decorating, a bouncy castle, a fancy dress competition, face painting and a tree mural which everyone that came was encouraged to contribute to. A group of our girls ran a little cafe with hot drinks and cakes they had made at club which were impressively good!

I really enjoyed watching how they interacted with the people that came, some who they knew well, some they knew of and some they were meeting for the first time. And also the different roles that they took, as they switched between serving others in the cafe and being served through other activities like face painting. One of my highlights was when a couple of the girls instinctively started regulating the smaller children on the bouncy castle so that everyone was able to have a go.

The day reminded me of the importance of community. Despite coming together as a group of individuals as we regularly do in our girls clubs, separate from our unique sets of circumstances, we are each part of networks of people. The girls don’t exist in isolation which is clearly evident as so much of what we talk about when we meet is their interactions with others, good and bad, confusing and exciting, frustrating and inspiring. Community can be an amazing force for good as we share eachothers needs and resources but can also be difficult and even painful as each of us also can’t help but bring our baggage and brokenness with us.

Developing independence is a defining task of adolescence but the ultimate goal for us all must be successful interdependence. So as our young women are learning what makes them distinct from others and uniquely valuable we also want them to learn how to give and receive, to accept and challenge, to compromise and stand firm, to apologise and forgive and all the other skills we use to relate to those around us everyday. Our hope is that they will be able to celebrate and contribute to all that is good in their communities starting now!

Fiona

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