Celebrating All Families at Shore

This spring, Shore hosts the award-winning touring exhibit In Our Family, an inspiring collection of portraits and stories from a diverse range of non-traditional families. The exhibit comes to Shore with the help of the school's Community Connections, a Parents Association-sponsored group focused on diversity within Shore and in the surrounding communities.

Created by the organization Family Diversity Projects, In Our Family is a museum-quality traveling photo-text exhibit about twenty families representing a breadth of diversity and family configurations: adoptive and foster families; divorced and stepfamilies, single parent households, multiracial families, families facing chronic illness and death; families living with mental and physical disabilities; lesbian and gay-parented families; interfaith families, multigenerational households, and immigrant families.

The exhibit explores the diversity of non-traditional family structures by conveying the experiences of non-traditional families in their own words. The project promotes tolerance by encouraging discussion about who constitutes a family, and champions the understanding and acceptance of difference by opening up a dialogue around the meaning of family.

"It's wonderful to have this gallery-like space right in the Dining Hall," said Community Connections Chair Lucy Hamilton. "Students are drawn right into these beautiful portraits, and they can't help reading the stories that accompany them."

Community Connections volunteers also coordinated a slideshow featuring Shore's families. "The 2nd Annual Family Heritage Photo Project highlights our multidimensional, multifaceted, and multicultural community," said Hamilton.

Seeing these portraits and reading the often emotional stories of families that have struggled, one thing is clear: In Our Family is more relevant than ever. Given the proliferation of non-traditional families, including multiracial families, extended families, single-parent households, and LGBTQ families, all can benefit from the celebration of differences. These non-traditional families diversify school environments as students are increasingly required to interact daily with students of divergent social identities. The positive and realistic photographs, along with the candid interviews with family members of all ages, affirm an inclusive and expansive vision of family life today.