meg-neufeld-creative-arts-ladner-alongside-you

I’m Meg Neufeld, and I am the co-founder, Program Director, and Art Facilitator at Alongside You.

I am a wife of a counselor and I provide support to a husband who loves his job but can’t share the details of his day.

I am a twin to a sister who is profoundly deaf and who has a rare genetic form of dwarfism, but who has the drive and strength like nobody else I have met.  She has a Masters degree in the health field, a job that helps others every day, is a fabulous aunt and does not let her physical stature get in the way of traveling to new parts of the world every chance she gets. She has taught me about living life the best way you can, with strength in adversity.

I am a mother to two beautiful daughters who are only a year apart. Day by day I am learning how to navigate their various personalities and challenges while juggling activities, doctor’s appointments, family commitments, all while trying to provide a positive and stable home environment to our children. One smile or hug makes it all worth it.

Everyone gains strength from somewhere or something. While I work with people who come from various faith backgrounds, I am a follower of Jesus. I do all things with His strength. I strive to have a compassion for others and believe that everyone is wonderfully unique.

I am a patient. I visit local health practitioners monthly who help me manage chronic pain from a previous motor vehicle accident. I know what it is like to walk the long road of recovery and to have good pain days and bad pain days. I know what it’s like to take two steps forward and three steps back. I know how hard it is to find the strength to overcome an injury; I’m not out of the woods, but the light is at the end of the tunnel. It flickers and flickers, encouraging me to keep at it and to work at reaching it.

I am an anthropologist and educator. I study people and how people interact with each other and how they create meaning and share basic practices; I study culture. I was lucky enough to teach at a university and college level and highlight the importance of being culturally sensitive, being culturally aware, and being holistic in our thinking. Studying how people relate to each other and acknowledging that things like the role of politics, religion, psychology, and history are not separate from the individual. These are essential components to our lives and important for understanding one another.

I am a Francophile, or someone who appreciates French language and culture.  Although we only have a link to a distant French relative, our children go to a Francophone school and we try and speak French at home as well as English. It has really made us love our little community even more and has made us aware of issues of National identity.

Why am I being so open?

An Art Facilitator is Not simply an Art Instructor….

An art facilitator does not simply teach artistic skills, but is someone who encourages a healthy, open, and productive environment while creating art. It is from our experiences that we are able to relate to others in small and big ways that move us to create and to be emotional. All of these experiences and aspects of my life shape who I am. As an art facilitator, I hope to bring people together so that they can make meaningful connections with others .  With my background in Cultural Anthropology, I hope to foster cross-cultural appreciation and be a communicator between different groups of people, whether they are of different ages, social backgrounds, abilities, or interests. I hope to continue to be socially inclusive, and culturally attuned to what our local community needs and wants, and to be more effective in our policy-making and program development at Alongside You. As an art facilitator, it is important to know about what is happening in our little corner of the world, be aware of the struggles of others, and be sensitive when addressing them. It is an art facilitator’s role to provide a space where people feel at home and encouraged, and where they can gain confidence personally and creatively.

As a counsellor’s wife, and as an anthropologist who holds to holistic principles, I have learned over the years that I may only be privy to one aspect of someone’s life and that there may be so many other parts to a person’s life that we know nothing  about, so we must be gracious and kind as someone creates something new, you never really know what someone is going through.

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