A healthy, many-cultured community is like a MOSAIC in which the overall design reveals the singular beauty of each part. In that sense, America is not a melting pot that dulls and blurs, but a mosaic made of numerous distinct pieces with beautiful, unexpected colors, rough edges and hidden symmetries.
- Michael Meade

Mosaic seeks to create cross-cultural alliances, mentoring relationships and social connections built upon personal trust and commitment to bridging unhealthy divisions in contemporary communities.

The process of finding, fitting and weaving together divergent, yet necessary pieces involves making new social fabrics from existing ethnic, spiritual, psychological and political threads.

Mosaic means putting essential pieces together; forming a whole from separate, divided, even estranged parts. Each project begins with the idea that the necessary pieces can be found, even if that means looking in troublesome or unexpected places

Mosaic events draw inspiration from the traditions of many cultures and incorporate knowledge learned in the trenches of contemporary community work. The “genius” of the situation is sought whether it be that of an individual, an organization or a community. Revealing the ’resident genius’ and unique spirit becomes a key to understanding problems and fitting the pieces together in new ways.

Through this process, personal stories, the history of the group and important goals find appropriate places within the shape of a story which all can see, contribute to and learn from.

Current projects focus on youth at risk, “genius-based” mentoring, and developing the “arts of community” in diverse organizations and groups.

Voices of Youth

Voices of Youth is a series of projects that involve diverse youth in a variety of communities. Through Voices, youth are engaged in the creation of an artistic forum for their own expression while developing mentoring relationships within their community.

Themes of contemporary disorientation find unique expression through the writings and voices of local youth, offering insights into the root causes of youth violence, cynicism and apathy. A narrative mix of old stories and youthful voices is then presented to the local community in an event that is part theater, part literature and part celebration.

Each presentation is followed by a discussion that includes families, teachers, community members and youth. Hearing the acute perspectives of youth can significantly change the community s perception of both local and national issues and inspire continuing conversations across the generation gap.

Voices of Youth inspires and empowers local youth, fosters ongoing cross-generational dialogues and leads to the development of unique local forms of mentoring.

The Way of the Mentor

A companion piece to Voices of Youth is The Way of the Mentor, a program which offers training in core ideas of mentoring that can be applied to any community, project or organization. The word “mentor” refers to “lived knowledge”and comes from the old myth in which Mentor is a guide and teacher who works through inspired language and knowledge of survival.

Through The Way of the Mentor people can discover ways of clarifying what they have to offer in the way of teaching, guiding and passing on living skills and essential arts for surviving the challenges of contemporary life. Mentoring skills naturally extend to reimagining meaningful elders and the importance of legacies for individuals and groups.

This process can be applied in existing organizations and agencies or used to found new forms for developing community based projects.

Typical outcomes include: a deepened sense of identity and awareness of inner resources for both individuals and groups; a spiritual connection to something bigger; and new and extended relationships as participants become “carriers of community.”

Michael Meade is a renowned storyteller, author, scholar of mythology and student of ritual in traditional cultures. He has the unusual ability to synthesize these materials and connect them to the stories we are living today. Michael is the founder of Mosaic Multicultural Foundation, author of Men and the Water of Life, and co-editor of The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart and Crossroads: Quest for Contemporary Rites of Passage.

Please visit Michael's website, MosaicVoices.org, for more information.