As human beings, we have two core needs: to belong and to create. Deny these, and we lose who we are and what we can become.
Belonging cannot be conditional. It must be unconditional. It confirms our worth. It allows us to be whole, in mind, body and spirit. Rip away unconditional belonging and we are left longing and incomplete. Lost, fearful children pretending to be adults.
It is from that wholeness that we create, that our spirit manifests our unique genius that gives our life meaning. Without that expression, this journey is a void.
Jami and I have always shared this understanding. It lies at the heart of the Dayton experiment. Each student, each teacher must deeply feel that they unconditionally belong and are worthy. And then must be challenged to find their voice and find their path, to create.
I am sitting writing this in a space with that premise was first tested. TaborSpace. A partnership between a community and a church to reimagine a sacred space.
We simply sought to develop a place of unconditional belonging with the hope that from there, creativity might flow. And it worked. Ten years later, over 3,000 community events are held here, more than any other venue in Portland. There are art studios, music classes, writing workshops, and so many other gatherings. Just because we created a safe place to gather and create.
Jami makes sure that every student who walks into her schools knows that they belong. Regardless of their story, their struggles. They belong. She and the staff then challenge each to find their greatness.