Reason #22: Shared interests lead to unlikely friendships

Categories:Projects
Kirstin Vander Giessen-Reitsma

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Reason #22: Unlikely friendships can form around shared interests like music and crafting.
When I was 21, I took a master gardener class through my county extension office. I was the certainly the youngest person in the class, but I really enjoyed developing relationships with people of different ages and backgrounds than I. When it came time to complete my volunteer hours for the course, I discovered a diverse group of kindred spirits whose shared love of gardening and community service led to starting a program to landscape around new Habitat for Humanity homes and teach the homeowners how to care for their new plants and trees.
I can think of several other experiences in my life when a shared interest brought me into relationship with people outside of my “bubble”: playing summer softball, working at a Chinese restaurant and for my town’s parks department, starting a volunteer-run fair trade store. I count these experiences invaluable because of the ways they challenged my assumptions and broadened my horizons, teaching me what it means to respect different opinions and become friends with people I never would have encountered if I confined myself to a narrow comfort zone.
One of our hopes for the programs at Huss School is that they will become a medium for such unlikely friendships–friendships across the boundaries of age, race, religion, income level and more. The community garden has already begun this process and we look forward to seeing how craft times, live music and special events can continue to call a wide range of people into collaboration and community.

Author:
Kirstin is a member of the *culture is not optional core community and is the Head Caretaker at GilChrist Retreat Center.