Who We Are

The amazing team that makes TN possible

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Heather Young

program manager, lead facilitator

+ parent wisdom circles

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Ashley Parilla

lead facilitator

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Lindsay Kolasa

outreach coordinator + class teacher

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Elsa Goldwasser

assistant facilitator

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Jazmin Hall

assistant facilitator

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Hadley Julca

assistant facilitator

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Amanda Tapia

admin coordinator + TN parent

 
beach portrait.jpg

Heather Young

program manager, lead facilitator + parent wisdom circles

VRAM5317_edited.jpg

Ashley Parilla

lead facilitator

81255830_210355599994335_3036925865528131584_n_edited_edited.jpg

Lindsay Kolasa

outreach coordinator + class teacher

IMG_20200719_184837_616_edited.jpg

Elsa Goldwasser

assistant facilitator

IMG_5607_edited.jpg

Jazmin Hall

assistant facilitator

IMG_9117.jpeg

Hadley Julca

assistant facilitator

31870375_1876498222403102_4034919876769349632_n.jpg

Amanda Tapia

admin coordinator + TN parent

I am a third generation Santa Barbaran who, after having enjoyed living in a variety of beautiful places including rural Sonoma County, the Bay Area, the heart of Paris, France and SE Portland, Oregon, felt drawn back to the Santa Barbara area by the nourishing connection I feel with the landscape of my birthplace. For the first 15 years of my work life I worked with children in an assortment of settings including preschools, elementary schools, after-school and summer art programs. After earning undergraduate degrees in education and dance and a master's degree in consciousness studies (with a focus on Deep Ecology and expressive arts), I became certified as a yoga therapist, Pilates instructor and Wellsprings Continuum practitioner, and opened my own somatic arts studio in 2000. For the last 20 years, I have been on an extensive learning journey in the field of somatics, which has included working with developmental trauma and transgenerational healing. In addition to my somatic work, I have created and facilitated art enrichment programs for children since 2007. As a mother, I embraced the unusual path of raising my daughter as an unschooler, and have received a profound education through that continuing adventure. I have spent decades engaged in various ways with alternative education, nature connection, pathways into deeper embodiment, expressive arts, conscious parenting, personal and collective healing. I consider myself a life-long learner; always interested in, alongside the children and adults I am engaging with, continuing to learn and grow.

I was raised in Santa Barbara where some of my fondest memories as a child include climbing boulders at Rocky Nook and wading across Lake Los Carneros to a place we called Devil's Island. My own two children have a deep connection to this place as well and we homeschool together to make the most of their short childhood. Art finds its way into much that I do, whether it be spinning, painting, cooking or storytelling. I created the nature-based theater program Children's Theater Circle hoping to meld my love for the story with the beauty of nature. My studies have brought me to many places near and far including UC Berkeley, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Bologna, Italy. Most recently I trained under Lia Grippo and Kelly Villaruel at the Academy of Forest Kindergarten Teachers. I am continually in pursuit of knowledge and am a new learner of herbalism, gardening, birding and willow basketry. I have found that children learn so much when we learn something new together and I always bring curiosity and wonder along in my back pocket.

Lindsay Kolasa is an Herbalist, Naturalist, and Soul-worker...and my work leans on common sense and is fed by observation and awareness. First and foremost, I am a life-learner. I have a knack for organizing people and bringing people together for a common vision as well as starting new, soulful and innovative projects for social and environmental betterment. The heart of my work is stewarding connection to the earth through place-based education and learning. I draw from many tools in my toolkit such as crafting, art, food, story, narrative medicine, herbalism, group facilitation, and journeys into the outdoors.

 

Due to my own health crisis that began in 2001, my path has been a long and winding one…of healing, break-throughs, insights, and awareness around trauma & recovery, the microbiome, trans-generational trauma, biodiversity, and tending the fractures in the relationship between humans and the earth.

 

My training is in print journalism, geography, western herbalism, traditional food ways, meditation, yoga, dream-work, ancestral/lineage-based healing, circle work, and soul-work. As well, I have experience in non-profit management, program development and organizational development.  You can visit my website here:  www.lindsaykolasa.com

My whole life I have been, and continue to be, a self-directed learner and unschooler. Born a 4th generation Santa Barbaran, I have also lived in Paris, France and Portland, OR. My father being French, I was raised bi-lingual. Growing up, some of my favorite things to do were reading and being read to, writing poetry and telling stories, taking walks, crafting, dancing, making music and directing homemade movies. Climbing trees and rock hopping were certainly high on the list as well. For the last ten years my life has been centered around dance. I have trained in many styles, but have focused on ballet/pointe, modern/contemporary and tap. I was lucky enough to apprentice as an assistant teacher for five years with master teacher, Bonnie Curtis, and in fall 2020 I took on teaching a couple of my own classes. Since then it has grown to be several classes per week, spanning multiple styles and students ages 4 - 14 years old. Other passions and interests of mine include watercolor painting, creative bullet journaling, poetry reading and writing, choreographing, sewing from scratch and upcycling thrifted clothes, nature and dabbling in design and photography.

Now that I look back, I appreciate so much how being raised as a self-directed learner has shaped me and what it has given me. I will always have a passion to learn and the knowledge that I have the power and ability to steer my life in the direction I feel is right for me. I wouldn’t trade the self confidence, self discipline and deep thinking this way of learning has fostered in me for the world. I am dedicated to helping facilitate this love and excitement for life and learning in other children’s lives.

I grew up going to a Montessori school, where I was given the guidance and space to follow my intuition and creativity regarding learning. It has shaped how I view education and the inherent wisdom we all carry with us when we cross the veil of the beyond to this life. To be given the space and environment to be here now, to be present, is such a gift and such a necessity for all of us beings, especially children. I have such love for TN for this reason; children can come to this environment completely as who they are. It offers them a place to develop such a beautiful presence that they can carry with them for their whole life. I love to be in nature, whether I am being active, or simply seated. You can call it a hobby/lifestyle/passion. I find that nature is a place that always recharges and lifts me up, raises my energy, and allows me to tap into the unconditional love, joy and gratitude that I always carry within.

 
 
 
 
 

I have been living in Santa Barbara for about 9 years now. I live here with my husband Joshua and my son Malakai. Currently, I am obtaining my Master's in Education while being a SAHM. I have a multiple subject teaching credential and my BA in Liberal Studies. I have been working in various educational settings for about 16 years. I have worked in public schools for most of that time, wearing many hats. I've also worked in pre-schools and after-school programs. Before rooting ourselves in SB we went abroad to teach English in China as well. My main passion in life is learning, education, and advocating for children. While taking classes to obtain my teaching credential I read about unschooling, deschooling, Sudbury schools, and alternative forms of education. After rigorously studying the history of education in the US, these methods spoke to me and what I believed education could be, even before I entered the classroom. I am an advocate for equity in education. I have learned much about myself and how I was "educated". When I became a parent (and even before then) I was immediately attracted to attachment parenting, peaceful parenting and overall just being respectful to this new life that I have the privilege of caring for. This is a long journey for me to be here with True North. I feel beyond blessed to find a community that understands and values what education can be for ourselves and our children!

I am a life-long unschooler. Self-directed learning has been a wonderful choice for me because it allows me to follow my passions and interests. Namely theater. Being unschooled has allowed me to have the time to follow my love of Shakespeare, and it made things easier to work in the theatrical world professionally. I can base my schedule and even some of my schoolwork around my passion. 

Being unschooled gives me the space to follow my other interests as well. I can spend hours researching different versions of fairytales and mythology, I can binge-read Jane Austen novels, sew dresses, and I can go deeper studying certain periods in history.  

I think self-directed learning is important for all children because you're giving them the space to discover what subjects they like and what their passions are. You’re helping them to figure out what they want to do in the world. Unschooling allows them to stay true to themselves throughout their whole lives without going through a stage of worrying about what their peers think of them. We’re creating a safe space for them to learn, experiment, and make mistakes without worrying about judgment. 

I have spent the past five years working with kids in various Shakespeare, theatre, and art programs around the Santa Barabra and LA area and I am thrilled to be a part of the True North team this year.