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Dear Friend of Flourish Ojai, 

 

   Since sending you a message last fall about our change of focus, we've thoroughly enjoyed building partnerships with youth and young-adult related organizations in the Ojai Valley, including The CREW, the Green Valley Project, the Ojai Valley Youth Foundation, and Mesa. Our weeks are now dedicated to creatively supporting these organizations in their missions, which has opened a new world of possibilities for uses of the center and for our practitioners to share their gifts with youth in our community and the adults who nurture them. 

 

   Mesa is a new Ojai Valley nonprofit preventing homelessness and cultivating wellness among youth transitioning out of foster care. A couple months ago, Mesa received a grant to purchase a 10-acre property on the East End, which they are now revitalizing and preparing for young adults ages 18-24 to call home. We are thrilled to support this new purpose in our Valley through inviting you to meet the founders and watch 3 wonderful documentaries provided by the Ojai Film Festival. 

 

   For Mother's Day Weekend, the Ojai Film Festival screened two shorts and one feature-length film in celebration of Mother Earth, as part of their mission to enrich the human spirit through film. During the screening, the founders of Mesa, Dan Parziale and Kyle Thompson, guided a conversation related to the nature-based themes of the films and share the vision for their new farm here in the Valley. https://www.mesafarm.org

 

   “We recognize that when people experience trauma throughout childhood, it becomes incredibly difficult to live a healthy life as adults,” says Kyle Thompson. “The same goes for our planet. When we traumatize the earth, it’s not possible to continue to function in a healthy, predictable way.” 

 

   This lineup of films illuminates how caring for Mother Earth is caring for ourselves. In “The Falconer” (75 min) Rodney Stotts seemed destined for a life of drugs and street violence until he joined the Earth Conservation Corps and developed a passion for falconry, which he shares with young people in his Maryland community. “Shepherd’s Song” (20 min) shows how losing both her parents by age 18 pushed Jenya Schneider to find meaning and hope in her life. That came in the form of a flock of sheep used to restore California’s native grasslands as part of the local Cuyama Lamb project. Architect John Davis and his wife Lorrie Brown built their dream home in a canyon of the Topa Topa Mountains. When the house survives the largest wildfire in California history to date, John embarks on a mission to promote fire-resistant architecture. The short film “The Thomas Fire Architect” (7 min) chronicles John’s journey.

 

   These films were offered free-of-charge to our community, on Saturday, May 7, at 2 pm and again at 7 pm, at the Flourish Ojai center in downtown Ojai, on the corner of Aliso and Cañada. 

Diana and the Flourish Ojai Team