DARE to Connect Safely

Dare to Connect Safely

(Painting By Heather Ferguson and daughter 'Pickle')

DARE to Connect Safely is an online and interactive programme, developed in reaction to the lockdown and social isolation measures taken in response to the Coronavirus. It is part of the DARE to Lead Change programme, led by Bryson Care, supported by the European Union's PEACE IV Programme and delivered by DARE / TIDES Regional Trainer, Carole Kane.

Due to not being able to deliver peace training in face-to-face groups, DARE to Connect Safely brings people together via a virtual space as a Facebook Group. In coming together, they create a common understanding of safety, calming and peace despite much uncertainty.

The creative process also taps into available resources: there may be lockdown, but Spring is bursting out all around. Also, it is important for people to engage in a daily walk and connect with self, others and nature.

There are various entry points:

  • Initially, participants are invited to go for a walk and intentionally engage their senses; to see, feel, hear, taste, touch. Based on whatever catches peoples’ attention on their walk, they are invited to take a photograph or make a drawing and accompany this with a descriptive phrase, set of three words or write a Haiku. These are shared in the Facebook Group. It is not a competition and keeping the process simple, works best. Words are then collated into a collective poem on a daily basis and shared on the discussion thread.
  • At the start of this process, DARE regional trainer and mediator, Carole Kane shared live sessions which gave some grounding and context to the page – linking practical engagement with theories relating to peace. These can still be seen in the group. These slots have now evolved into bi-weekly “reflections” which frame the opportunity for people to do a little free writing or drawing.
  • These slots have also evolved into weekly interactive Zoom sessions also led by Carole which last for one hour. They are growing in numbers and open to whoever wants to be involved. Again, they relate to theories of peacebuilding.

DARE to Connect Safely

(Photo: Stefania Gualberti)

The main aim of DARE to Connect Safely is to use a Facebook group as a platform to promote a sense of safety, calming and hope. Research states that these interventions and preventative efforts should be made in the early to mid-stages of broader public health and emergency management and therefore relevant in this pandemic crisis. Participation in the group offers a sense of self and collective value as individuals can be involved alone or connect with others.

Who can be involved? ANYONE – whether you have participated on a DARE programme before or want to get involve now, you are welcome. Just send a “friend request” to the page to be connected into this group. Click here to learn more.

Here is a short poem written by Aisling Pugsley, Ellie Hobson, Patricia O’Neill, Laura Couser, Stefania Gualberti and Mylinda Baits:

Sometimes I lack motivation and purpose.

I often lose my way.

I saw trees of life

in these clouds.

Reconnect,

Divided, protects, grows

Planting sunflowers with my son.

Nice message from the seeds.

Texture, touching, tending.

DARE to Connect Safely is part of the DARE to Lead Change programme, supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEPUB).

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