When I lost my job a year ago, the first place I wanted to be was with my friends at L’Arche Saint John and Creative Connections. When I am with these friends, I feel joy and an overwhelming sense of acceptance wherever I am in life. It’s like sitting down and having a nice cup of tea or coffee with all my best friends who listen without judgement and are just so happy to see your face. There are very few opportunities to get that kind of love in this world, and I am lucky enough to have found this community of belonging.

I started my Journey with L’Arche in 2016. It was a year of great learning and transition. I found love in two places: my career, and my now husband. The more involved I got with Creative Connections, the more I was infatuated with the care and love that was present every day in my life. I arrived every day as my authentic, honest self – no pressure to be anything else, because everyone around me came to their day that way too.

We would start each day with a check in and talk about lows of our morning, the best parts of our evening and what we were hoping to accomplish that day. Debbie would talk about how she was confused about who I was, that I was new, and this space was new. I could appreciate that. I was new! Krista would talk about all her family connections that I may know, and we realized we went to the same high school at the same time! Patrick would tell me all about his dogs and love for watches and cars, which often meant he wanted to go for drives to get the supplies for Creative Connections. I instantly felt involved in their lives. I was never leaving.

My life has been significantly influenced by the authenticity of all our core members. The way that we worked together and approached projects at Creative Connections – so bravely, without inhibition – was inspirational. No one was afraid to fail, or to try something and not like it, no fear that it wouldn’t turn out. These were things I needed to embrace for so many reasons. This attitude has greatly influence how I do my art therapy practice.

In 2015, I started my journey as an art therapist. I was scared. I was trying something new. I was worried I would fail. I didn’t know what I would identify with in terms of a practice. Creative Connection set my vision of exactly what I wanted it to be: a safe space of acceptance, authenticity, and no fear of failure; a space to try something new and encourage growth in art, self, and quality of life.

Alisha D’Souza
Former Program Assistant at Creative Connections

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