As Pass It On draws to a close for another year, I find myself in that same parallel of emotions I feel every year at this time. I am sad to part ways with the young women I’ve spent the past year with. Although we live in a small town and see each other often here and there, the connection we’ve built over the past year will shift as our time together will be one in passing instead of the intimacy of your Pass It On circles. And I also feel some relief. One less pressure, one less commitment and more room to spend with my family and animals, friends and garden.
But between this sadness and relief is always the worry of next year. The unknown of the non-profit and funding. Will there be enough funding to carry our little program one more year? It reminds me of my childhood when every June my father (an elementary teacher at the time) would be laid off. The concern and displacement he felt – regardless of his efforts as a teacher – to have to wait and see if he would be hired again. Pass it On rests every year in that purgatory. Despite my best efforts and the keen interest and success of the young women in my group, the program`s fate rests on a dime, and who will give it.
If Pass it On does not get the funding it needs to run again next year, I would be okay. I would miss it deeply but the program is a small one that carries a large impact. And that is what worries me about lack of funding, if the program were not to run. The loss of a program that nourishes and strengthens so many young women. Young women I see changed in the course of a year. In their confidence and compassion. If Pass It On does not run, who or what will fill the gap and who can judge how great the loss?
Pass It On directly influences approximately 30 grade 8 to grade 12 girls. Plus 20-30 more grade 8 girls through workshops facilitated by Pass It On. But how many are affected and changed by those 50 odd young women? Imagine what they create and enhance with their own enhancements. We effect each other greatly with our moods and responses. I hope the young women of Salt Spring continue to have the opportunity to be a part of Pass It On. To mentor, to grow, to share. I know it is not uncommon for amazing programs to lose funding and melt away leaving room for gaps and new things to fill those holes. But I also know when you tend a plant it grows strong, as opposed to replanting and neglecting over and over. Maybe as a community and a society we will continue to give and support small but incredibly important programs like Pass It On so we can mature in many positive ways as a People.
Kate Maurice – Coordinator Pass It On Program
Do donate to the Pass It On program or to SWOVA so we can continue our work with youth, please visit our website: www.swova.org