Why Trillium?

Why Trillium?

“Elders and children have needed each other for thousands of years. In fact, the special bond between young and old has shaped human culture and history. This day acknowledges these powerful relationships and we are all the better for taking time to reflect on their value.”
~ Dr. William Thomas

Trillium Connections creates strong inter-generational community bonds through evidence-based practices at the most critical moments of our life-span: our birth, our entry into adulthood, and our elder years. Abundant research has proven that stronger ties between generations and the community at large dramatically improves mental and physical health outcomes for an individual’s entire life. Whether it be the connection between elders and high schoolers or preschoolers, supporting parents and children to connect in pregnancy and the first weeks of life, or empowering young people to become their best selves through connecting with positive role models, Trillium creates cost-effective preventative programs that foster resilience and developmental success at the three core stages of human life.”


What Does Trillium Connections Do?
These three ages underscore the tri-fold programming of Trillium connections:

  1. Birth: Effective Parent-Child bonding in the perinatal period through lactation and birth support.
  2. Entry into Adulthood: Establishing a clear and positive self-identity in childhood and adolescence through opportunities for self-expression, further parent-engagement and connection to positive adult role models.
  3. Elderhood: Serving the end of life as a holistic journey and rite of passage unique to every individual and family.”


What is the story behind Trillium?SONY DSC

Brenda Cleary is an Canadian-American community artist and nurse living in Québec who loves to throw dinner parties, spend long hours at museums and write biographies in the third person. From an early age she wrote poetry, doodled in math class, and was sensitive to themes of injustice and inequality in her environment. At the age of 19, after healing from a series of operations to resolve issues from her own congenital bone defects that left her bedridden for six months, she began to volunteer teaching painting workshops at the local homeless youth shelter. Realizing the power of art to transform lives (and alleviate the profound lack of imagination plaguing the grown-up world) Brenda focused her work largely on assisting at risk youth to use art to invent new possibilities for themselves. At the age of 22 received her first grant to create participatory murals for The Family Tree Domestic violence crisis shelter. At 24 she was awarded an artist-in-residence position at the Rieckan Foundation and the Indigenous Support Network to promote literacy and develop a community memorial over a clandestine grave site with surviving war widows and children in the area. Upon returning to the states the artist became deeply involved in birthwork with refugee and marginalized women and continued painting large-scale participatory art works with vulnerable day laborers, inner-city youth, and dropout prevention initiatives among others enacting her belief that joy, beauty and creative mischief are essential to political resistance and personal resilience. Brenda Cleary took the helm of Project YES and affected a dramatic revitalization, redesign and expansion of their youth art programs in foster care, juvenile hall, migrant farm work communities and in a comprehensive kindness curriculum taught throughout the Boulder Valley school district. Ms. Cleary relocated to Montréal In 2016 to pursue arts-based Pediatric Nursing research at McGill, Concordia university and the Shriners Hospital for children exploring the moral experiences of children affected with osteogenesis imperfecta. Through collaborative improvisational puppet play at the bedside Brenda Cleary most recently co-imagined a comprehensive series of children’s books to disseminate children’s research insights to affected children themselves. Who knows where the adventure will continue but Ms. Cleary continues the work of Trillium Connections wherever she goes!



2020 Resume: