We see the transformation all the time. People gather for one of the Michigan Folk School classes eager to begin, but slightly guarded. Yet, as we dig our hands and minds into the topic of the day — whether it’s cheese making or leatherwork — we see a progression. The first to go is the coat, then a deep breath eases the shoulders, tentative smiles turn into loud laughs, and through a kind of human-connection alchemy, a community is born. The protective husks we develop to move through life are shed.
By the end of class, we’ve learned some things, met some people, and have created a sense of community that participants take with them. What has kept us going and what drives this campaign is that metamorphosis. Our students walk away from our classes (and often return) with an opportunity to share the concepts and knowledge they’ve learned within their personal networks, remembering this feeling of warmth and connection each time they do.