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An All-Things Update From Our Team

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

This year has asked our Thriving Team to keep moving forward with caution and care. Our new films are ready for viewing and community exploration, which we plan to do through virtual and hybrid gatherings in the coming months. Our film theme this year focused once again on Belongingso important during these many months of isolation. Our new stories and films are inspiring and we look forward to sharing them with you!

CURRENT FILMS — Soon to be released!

  • Together They Were Stronger — A documentary film short that celebrates one untold story about four women who mounted an all-out civil rights campaign to create a movement establishing the first-ever disability rights law in the United States, WA HB 90. Check out a preview of this short film! The disability civil rights movement has many distinct narratives, but the prevailing themes are of community, justice, and equity. As with every other civil rights movement, the fight for disability rights is one that challenges negative attitudes and pushes back against oppression.

  • Whidbey Veterans Resource Center — What happens when our vets walk out the door after their service in the military? Some resume their lives in a normal fashion. Many do not. Where is the safety net? Island County, WA, has more veterans than any other in the state of Washington. This is a story of support, care, and coming home that makes a difference to men and women who have served our country.

  • Toyia Taylor: Talk to Your Future Self — The powerful journey of Toyia Taylor who started with a few students in grade school exploring how they could express their life journey by writing and speaking their truth. Today, Toyia has worked with over 500 families and her programming is offered in four Seattle Public Schools. Toyia and her team are changing lives each day. Check out a preview of this short film!

  • Carillon Community, Richmond VA — Reveals how an integrated community began and exists today in spite of the challenges of racial inequity, redlining, and segregation. This is a powerful film for any community seeking opportunities to grow in an equitable and fair manner. This is a story of another way of living and being that needs to be told.


Here is an update on some of the organizations featured in our past films ...

Whidbey Homeless CoalitionSince filming last February the Homeless Coalition has purchased permanent headquarters for overnight stays in Coupeville. This will allow for storage of equipment (beds, food, clothing, and other necessities), intake offices, washer dryers, and showers. Funds are being raised to complete the transition into the new building (fire suppression) with September being the tentative date of entry. Covid has spiked the number of people and families in transition, which is heightened by the lack of available living space on Whidbey Island.

Ryan’s HouseOur film for Ryan's House (a home for homeless youth ages 14-22) first showing was at their annual fundraiser which brought in $25,000 to serve homeless youth. The film also inspired a local couple to find two island chefs interested in providing healthy, hot, and organic winter food for the kids at Ryan's House! In the fall of 2020, they found donors to cover the cost of the food and it has been a steady source of meals for the kids, AND an income stream for the chefs (win-win!) Recently, Ryan's House received a $1,000,000 grant from the State of WA for building and property improvements. They have also opened a drop-in center in north Oak Harbor.

Nurturing RootsThe Nurturing Roots team prepared to grow boxes for people in their community this spring, including plant starts for people to grow and harvest in their own yard. Additionally, Nyema recently stated in a community update that “after nearly a year of coordinated advocacy, Nurturing Roots (NR) needs only a majority vote by City Council to transfer almost 40 acres of vacant public land for Black community ownership, Black farming, youth empowerment, and community healing.” Learn more about how Nyema from Nurturing Roots inspired a new program with our partners over at iCare!

iCare in Milwaukee — iCare and Thriving Communities have developed a sharing partnership with Rise Above in Seattle to explore the processes used in Milwaukee to support health care needs for the underserved in Seattle.

Healing Circles — Healing Circles has grown to serve a worldwide audience, with a learning community that includes centers in Canada, the U.S., and Israel, with new centers taking root in India, Switzerland, Thailand, and among groups of healthcare professionals and chaplains.


We are navigating a new set of challenges as we determine how to host our film and community gatherings both in person and via Zoom, and possibly both simultaneously! We are currently scheduled for a Gathering at the Whidbey Institute on November 4th-6th. We are also beginning to schedule Zoom gatherings for each film in the coming months.

Next year our focus will turn to how individuals and organizations within communities navigating Trauma.

There are many stories of connection we don't know—but these examples push us forward! If you know of stories of impact we would like to hear from you. Share your story!

This update is shared with profound appreciation from the Thriving Communities Team:

Jerry Millhon, Whidbey Island, WA

Hannah Guggenheim, Whidbey Island, WA

Elise Cope Anacortes, WA

Michael Maine, Seattle, WA

Jenn Reilly, Dover, New Hampshire

Ross Monagle Milwaukee, WI

(above) Production stills from our new films, soon to be released!



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