We don’t always know what impact our programs have on people’s lives until later, sometimes much later. We found out on a spring evening in a beautiful barn at Stone Bridge Farm where thirty former participants joined a reunion of our Pass it On Girls program.
Kate Nash was the first facilitator of Pass it on Girls (PIO) – an after-school program that supports self-awareness and healthy relationships by creating a safe and trusted space for sharing, learning and practicing important life skills – twelve years ago. She still runs the program every week during the school year, together with Kk Labis, for The Circle Education.
Thirty young women, now in their late teens, twenties, and begin-thirties, came back in June to join the circle once more. “As a mentor, you don’t often have the chance to see the effects of a program you’re facilitating, so seeing all these girls and hearing their stories was a great reminder of the power of the work we do. That evening I saw the impact that Pass it On had, and still has, on them.”
It was an evening of sharing; sharing memories, thoughts, and emotions. “This program has been so good for me”, says Olivia Hayne. “Kate really showed up for me when I joined the program eight years ago. High school was a challenging time for me, a period of uncharted growth. Pass it On was a safe space for me. A place where you can be your true self, that is super important.”
Former participants mentioned that being in Pass it On helped them build relationships, set healthy boundaries and value the importance of good friendships. “I didn’t know how important Pass it On was, until after the fact”, says Alli Gaines. “Pass it On gave everyone a chance to see that many people had similar problems and fears, so it helped to make high school problems feel less isolating. It also gave me important skills, around being vulnerable and listening to others, that I still carry with me today.”
Kate was touched by how many Pass it On participants remembered the things she shared and the advice and insights she gave them, sometimes many years ago. “It is such a gift to share a comradery with youth. I treasure the sharing and the connections we built together. A lot of the girls couldn’t wait to leave high school, to go out into the world, but now realize that they have missed being part of a community. Some even mentioned that they wished they could have a program like this in their adult life. It is so valuable to have spaces to connect.”
The Pass it On reunion re-inspired Kate in her work for The Circle Education. The past two years, navigating the pandemic, have been challenging for her. “It is hard to build connections in a time of disconnection, or even of fear of connection. I experienced a certain amount of fatigue facilitating safe connections in a time where connection has felt dangerous although, deeply needed. Seeing the fruits of people coming together and connecting with each other makes me hopeful for the coming years.”
Our Pass it On programs have just wrapped up for this school year, but will start up in September again. Read more about the 2022-2023
Thank You to our Pass it On Reunion Supporters
We would like to thank Country Grocer, Romy and Bryce Chapman at Stone Bridge Farm, Salt Spring Island Legion, Branch 92 and the Salt Spring Foundation for contributing to an amazing night!