WHAT WAS LEARNED
I think things through more than I used to. It's like before I used to just jump and do it, but it's like now I, I'll think it through. . . . In Listen ing Partners I've learned to speak out for what I believe without screaming. RUTH
It's a place where you can talk your feelings through; you can meet new friends and really get to know yourself and some others; you work through some problems and learn how to stand up for yourself.
In Listening Partners you share ideas, and make new ideas. . . . Now I'm trying to put more trust into what I think and feel.
For many who grew up in relatively supportive and affirming envi ronments, a host of experiences has nurtured the development of mind and voice. Common everyday experiences have built upon each other to nurture the developing sense of mind, voice, and reason. Fam ily members who are concerned with how we are feeling, friends who share or even question our joy or concern, neighbors who seek our ad vice, teachers who encourage us to arrive at our own opinions, a store clerk who is interested and responsive to our needs, a child who is grateful for our guidance--these experiences, day by day, cultivate our skills and our sense of power of mind and voice.
But the most marginalized in our society report that such experiences have been rare. Many tell of isolation--feeling some combination of phys ical, social, emotional, and intellectual exclusion. As Maureen describes:
I feel isolated, away from everything, because I don't have a phone and I don't have a car during the day. Even though my family is