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Purple Leaf

Luther student explores the healing impact of community support

Capstone project: How and Where do you Heal from Things you Cannot See?
Kassidy Morency
BA Christian Studies and Global Citizenship, Class of 2024

Christianity, Interfaith Dialogue and Community Engagement major Kassidy Morency explored the intersection of sustainability and mental health in her BA capstone presentation. 

After searching for an ecovillage that would be suitable for her project, Morency secured a placement at Heartland Collective, 25 acres near Nevada City, California. The purpose of Heartland is to serve as an intentional community and Micro Resort, transforming people's lives through nature. 

"I hope that through my project people are able to notice that we are capable of healing and do not need to stay stuck in the same patterns we were raised in. I hope that people are able to learn several new ways of coping with the changing world around them and that nature plays a vital role in this stability," said Morency.

This tightknit community fostered support and healing by shifting between productivity, contemplation and re-engagement. In small worlds of shared values where people intentionally see one another, Morency was able to witness firsthand the transformative impact this kind of environment can have on an individual's ability to heal from things we cannot see. 

"The most surprising part of this projects process was how humbling it was to see the interconnection of the participants. Within a matter of two days, four hours total, the participants seemed to have known each other for a lifetime and expressed genuine care and interest for each other. That is something that I could have never managed or manufactured," said Morency.

Morency created a trial program podcast titled "The Healing Global Citizen Journey" with an accompanying 70-page guidebook that includes a park location, speakers, episode information, activities with instructions and a book club. The goal being for listeners to tune-in, head to the park, participate in the activities in their guidebook and reflect. 

Morency's trial program resulted in participants feeling a sense of belonging and empowerment, while being able to explore their creativity. 

Moving forward, Morency is hoping to apply what she learned from this project to her future work. 

"This project impacted me by giving a voice to my healing journey which helped me recover from PTSD during my time at Martin Luther. This project helped shape the direction of my future by realizing that I am able to combine sustainability and mental health to create a more wholesome approach to care. In the future and going forward from this summer, I will be continuing my work," Morency said. 

"I plan to create a similar project for my hometown of Windsor, Essex. Over the summer months I will be working at Hidden Acres as the Inclusion Program Facilitator ensuring that campers and staff are receiving the care they deserve." 
Unknown Spif - $key