Alchemy, Inc. provides holistic leadership development for men in urban settings using mythological traditions, themes, and motifs to integrate ancient wisdom in a contemporary context. Alchemy, Inc. works with teenagers, fathers, university students, parolees, and others, blending West African and Jungian psychological methods that can connect men with “each other, society, human life across generations, and all life upon the planet.”
ArtSpring’s mission is to support self-growth and effective life skills through artmaking for institutionalized women and girls. Through interdisciplinary programs that incorporate movement, theater, writing, drawing, music, storytelling, music, meditation, guided imagery, and performance, ArtSpring teaches tools of personal transformation to women in juvenile and adult correctional institutions as well as other underserved social programs. ArtSpring is widely acclaimed for the successful outcomes of its programs, and for its positive influence on the corrections system in the state of Florida.
The mission of Buddhist Pathways Prison Project (BPPP) is to bring the core Buddhist teachings of non-violence, meditation, and wisdom into Northern California prisons, organizing dedicated volunteers to offer Buddhist philosophy, religious services, mindful movement, and meditation instruction. As a community-based response to the current crisis of corrections, BPPP is a model of how committed practitioners on the outside can offer the incarcerated tools and resources to cultivate durable self-transformation, insight into the inner conditions that led to incarceration, and reduced recidivism.
The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society works to integrate contemplative awareness into modern life in order to help create a more just, compassionate, and reflective society. Focusing in program areas like business, law, academia, and social justice, the center uses retreats, workshops, publications, and networking to promote a stronger web of people working to bring contemplative practice into their lives and professional cultures.
Center for Council Practice (CCP) is dedicated to the timeless yet simple practice of council, a technique of deep listening and speaking from the heart in groups that promotes empathy, creates space for authentic healing, and dissolves barriers to understanding and community. CCP offers training, coaching, and support to individuals and organizations using council practice in a variety of different fields — from health care to youth mentoring to business. Kalliopeia provides project support for CCP’s development and customization of council for community and correctional settings.
The Center for Courage and Renewal (CCR) is dedicated to the understanding that when we rejoin soul and role, we approach our lives and our work with renewed passion, commitment, and integrity. With this premise, CCR works to foster personal and professional renewal through retreats and programs that facilitate deep reflection on life, work, and calling. Kalliopeia supports the Courage to Lead for Young Leaders & Activists program, which helps young people in service professions “reconnect who we are with what we do.”
Center for Court Innovation’s Red Hook Peacemaking Program
The Center for Court Innovation (CCI) is an incubator for creative research and program development to improve criminal justice. The Red Hook Peacemaking Program emerged out of an exchange of knowledge and best practices between Native American tribal courts and the CCI, in which tribal justice experts provided encouragement and mentorship to implement Peacemaking within the Brooklyn Court system. In contrast to conventional criminal justice that isolates and punishes, Peacemaking uses traditional Native practices to focus on connection and repair by gathering disputants along with family members, friends, and other members of the community to heal relationships and restore balance to the community. The Red Hook program has had important early success integrating Peacemaking into the court system, and has become a model for other community justice programs.
Center for Education, Imagination and the Natural World
Kalliopeia provides project support for The Inner Life of the Child in Nature: Presence and Practice, a “co-research” program among educators that focuses upon the development of inner capacities in both children and adults that “enable us to form a bond of intimacy with the natural world,” (presence) and the “development of new ways of working in the world” (practice.) Rooted in the inspiration of eco-theologian Thomas Berry, the program aims to provide children the opportunity to know the natural world as a sacred reality to be venerated, and to facilitate “a shift in consciousness within the educational realm” that comes from the creation of a community of educators who support and inspire one another to “imagine a new way of being in the world on behalf of the children and the Earth.”
Chicago Wisdom Project (CWP) is a mentoring organization founded on the belief that wisdom is an inherent quality of every being. While young people have the particular gift of giving wisdom novel expression, elders have the particular role of guiding this process. With this understanding, CWP partners with area youth organizations to offer holistic mentoring programs that include creative expression, contemplative practice, nature immersion, and rites of passage. By matching volunteer mentors with at-risk youth, CWP empowers young people to kindle their innate creative abundance to transform themselves and their communities toward a more meaningful and compassionate world.
Comienzos is an educational and therapeutic collaborative of instructors and learners serving incarcerated men and women in New Mexico, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. As a “School of the Sacred Heart,” Comienzos supports learners first in connecting to their own heart’s longings, and secondly in developing the skills of listening to the hearts of others. Using tools like nonviolent communication and an atmosphere of shared learning and commitment to transformation, Comienzos skillfully works with the deep-seated issues of trauma and abuse, inviting participants to an authentic reclamation of the intrinsic human longings for respect, love, and freedom.
Courage to Teach at Dominican University of California
Kalliopeia provides support for the Northern California Courage to Teach program, a series of quarterly retreats for the personal and professional renewal of teachers and administrators in public schools. Courage To Teach is based upon the groundbreaking work of Parker Palmer and the unmet need to nourish the inner lives of young people and educators in our school systems. Focusing particularly on teachers, Courage To Teach retreats provide a trusting and reflective space for this devoted but underappreciated group of professionals, and are designed to rekindle the passion, commitment, and integrity that come from “reconnecting who we are with what we do.”
Kalliopeia provides project support for Coming Home, Becoming Whole program, hosted by the Sisters of Mercy at Cranaleith Spiritual Center. The program offers retreat opportunities for returning Veterans and their families, engaging the gifts of the Veteran community itself along with the contemplative expertise of the Sisters to address the spiritual dimension of healing from the trauma of war. Sourcing from the spirituality of Mercy, the program’s deepest goals are to unmask the wound and contagion of violence in our society and reveal streams of transforming grace through the experience of Veterans and their community.
Dovetail Learning’s The Toolbox Project (TTP) is an innovative Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum for grades K-6 that provides children 12 practical “tools” for self-understanding and self-regulation. By managing their own resilience and fostering empathy for others, children enhance their experience of the dynamic relationship between self and other – as well as their ability to learn. Building upon the basic goodness and resilience within all children, TTP’s accessible inner practices address the root causes of many of the issues facing today’s youth, giving children, teachers, parents, and their communities a common language and the necessary skills to form a more cohesive, collaborative, and caring community.
Faithful Fools is a group of volunteers and religious leaders called to “a ministry of presence that acknowledges each human’s incredible worth” through the arts, education, advocacy, and accompaniment. By organizing “street retreats” in which retreatants spend a day in the streets with mindful reflection on their own judgments and attitudes, Faithful Fools helps shatter myths about those living in poverty, and allows participants to see the light, courage, intelligence, strength, and creativity of the people they meet. These unscripted experiences of our common humanity give rise to transformative encounters of celebration, community, and healing.
(Fiscal sponsor: San Francisco Zen Center)
Born out of concern for post-9/11 Veterans, Honoring the Path of the Warrior (HPW) is a response of the San Francisco Zen Center, offering connection, community, and tools that support Veterans in finding a meaningful and healing return to civilian life. HPW is deeply committed to Thich Nhat Hanh’s vision that “Veterans are the light at the tip of the candle, illuminating the way for the whole nation. If Veterans can achieve awareness, transformation, understanding, and peace, they can share with the rest of society the realities of war. And they can teach us how to make peace with ourselves and each other.” Through retreats and programs that combine nature connection, engaging physical activity, sensory awareness and mindfulness meditation practices, HPW brings forward Veterans’ stories of spirit, compassion, and tenacity for their own healing and our culture’s transformation. Kalliopeia provides project support for HPW’s work with women Veterans.
Insight Garden Program (IGP) is dedicated to helping transform prisoners’ lives through connection to nature. IGP’s unique, collaborative, and evidence-based model of “inner” and “outer” gardening integrates transformative tools such as meditation, emotional process work, and eco-therapy with vocational and social skills that allow participants to flourish as individuals and community members upon release. A pioneer in the prison garden movement, IGP is responding to national demand by expanding its partnerships with nonprofits, community based organizations, and new correctional facilities to replicate their curriculum and reach greater numbers.
A pioneering organization in the movement for restorative justice, the Insight Prison Project conducts a variety of in-prison rehabilitation programs that provide prisoners with the tools and life skills necessary to create enduring change. Using an intentional group process of “radical accountability,” IPP provides transformational programs that aim to shift ingrained patterns of destructive behavior into conscious, life-enhancing choices. Programming includes violence prevention, substance abuse counseling, mindfulness meditation, and facilitated encounters between victims and offenders.
Watch several shortABC News videos about the work of the Insight Prison Project.
(Fiscal sponsor: Peace Development Fund)
Guided by the maxim that “hurt people hurt people, while healed people heal people,” Insight Out’s programs serve prisoners willing to reject violence and become emotionally intelligent, mindful leaders who give back to the communities they once took from. Insight-Out runs the Guiding Rage Into Power (GRIP) program, a year-long, transformative, peer-led program focused on taking responsibility and honoring victims, healing the pain from which prisoners lashed out, and providing the tools that enable them to “turn the stigma of being a violent offender into a badge of being a non-violent Peacekeeper.”
A second program on “the outside” matches formerly incarcerated men who have been deeply transformed through the GRIP process with young people at risk, mentoring and modeling the power of healing and deep change from someone who has “been there, done that.” By promoting change “from inside out” through contemplative practice, holistic education, building a community of peacemakers, and rites of passage, Insight-Out serves a broader vision of incarceration as an opportunity to create dedicated agents of healing and change.
The Institute of Poetic Medicine (IPM) is dedicated to healing body, mind, and spirit through the therapeutic process of hearing and writing poetry. Based on the belief that the creative and healing process of poetry strengthens the human capacity to reconnect to what has been severed, IPM offers collaborative workshops, retreats, and programs to a variety of populations including youth, veterans, prisoners, the terminally ill, refugees, and the professionals who serve them. IPM uses poetry to encourage us to discover how vulnerabilities and strengths can co-exist, allowing a deeper authenticity and “awakening soulfulness in the Human Voice.”
Healing Words, Poetry & Medicine Filmed at a large teaching hospital in Florida, “Healing Words: Poetry & Medicine” tells the stories of patients whose lives have been dramatically changed by the incorporation of poetry into their recovery process. The film follows Dr. John Graham-Pole and poet John Fox as they enter hospital rooms and help patients write poems as part of the healing process.
Institute for the Study of Health and Illness at Commonweal
The Institute for the Study of Health and Illness (ISHI) provides education and support for health professionals who aspire to bring their hearts to their work and who are dedicated to practicing a medicine of service, human connection, and compassionate healing. ISHI’s mission is to contribute to healing the culture of health care through innovative educational programs and the formation of communities that support health care professionals to sustain their humanity and passion for their work. Kalliopeia provides support for ISHI’s Residents Program, which integrates deep reflection on the values of service, human connection, and compassionate healing for medical students during the vulnerable and stressful time of residency.
The mission of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (IBME) is to improve the lives of teens, parents, and professionals through mindfulness retreats and outreach programs that help participants cultivate awareness and compassion for themselves, others, and the environment. They do this by combining training in mindfulness, social-emotional and ecological intelligence, transformative healing, and creative expression. By providing intensive two to five day retreats, IBME offers important opportunities for deep reflection rarely available to young people today. IBME also facilitates retreats for parents and professionals working with teens to address the particular stresses adults face in meeting the needs of youth.
Mind and Life Institute’s (MLI) mission is to promote rigorous, multi-disciplinary scientific investigation of the mind in support of contemplative practices that cultivate the mental qualities of attention, emotional balance, kindness, compassion, confidence and happiness. MLI seeks to understand the human mind and the benefit of these practices through an integrated way of knowing that combines first-person knowledge from the world’s contemplative traditions with the findings of contemporary neuroscience, psychology, social sciences, and humanities. The resulting body of best practices and interdisciplinary research has helped establish the credibility of mindfulness as a powerfully transformative tool for education, healthcare, veteran care, corrections, and other fields of service.
The Mind Body Awareness Project (MBA) is dedicated to teaching essential skills of violence prevention, stress reduction, and anger management to at-risk youth through the practices of meditation and yoga. Founded with the mission to teach life-saving skills that youth are not learning at school or in their homes, MBA classes and curricula use instruction, practice, and dialogue to help youth become aware of the destructive emotions and habitual behaviors that lead to alienation, substance abuse, crime, and violence. Classes have helped institutionalized and at-risk youth develop the confidence necessary to overcome negative patterns and promote self-awareness and empathy toward others.
Mindful Schools is a pioneer in supporting mindfulness training in educational settings. Mindful Schools uses a research based curriculum of techniques for concentration, attention, conflict resolution, and empathy, reaching over 8,500 children and 450 teachers in 34 schools, 74% of which serve low-income children, as well as a complete training program for adults. Developed as a response to turmoil in Oakland elementary schools, Mindful Schools brings mindfulness programs to public schools in California, supports teachers and administration in their own understanding and practice of mindfulness, and contributes to the movement toward creating calmer, kinder, more peaceful, and more effective learning environments throughout the country.
Inspired by Gandhi’s adage that to teach real peace in the world we must start with the children, The Mosaic Project aims to provide nine to eleven year olds a lived experience of a just and inclusive world where interactions are guided by listening, empathy, and respect. Mosaic’s core program is a five-day outdoor school that brings together fourth and fifth graders from Bay Area schools of markedly different socio-economic, racial, and ethnic make-up. Mosaic’s staff and high-school-aged mentors skillfully combine age-appropriate teaching on diversity, inclusion, and empathy with listening circles and other exercises that cultivate authentic expression and witness. With this unique pedagogy, Mosaic teaches young children how to tell their own stories and listen to the stories of others with an extraordinary level of respect and care. The deep sense of connectedness within diversity provides the children—many of whom may never have met under ordinary social circumstances—an indelible early experience of beloved community.
Mosaic Voices Multicultural Foundation uses mythic imagination and traditional knowledge to develop transformative mentoring relationships and innovative forms of community healing. Applying a rare and masterful blend of storytelling, mentorship, and ceremony, Mosaic works intensively with a variety of populations including homeless and gang youth, combat veterans, refugees, and communities in crisis. Grounded in a mythic perspective, Mosaic seeks to find dynamic remedies for the alienation, spiritual dislocation, and personal isolation that increasingly characterize modern life, and to combine traditional thinking with fresh insights to develop wiser and more soulful cultural forms.
Nature Connection Mentoring Foundation (NCMF) provides nature-based mentoring and educational curricula rooted in the understanding that deep connection to nature changes and rewires us, igniting a deep desire to care for our planet and each other. Techniques like bird language, tracking, and other timeless but often-forgotten skills incorporate ancient traditions of mentoring and awaken innate human capacities to experience the dynamic interconnection of the web of life. NCMF partners with major wildlife and conservation organizations to distribute curricula and provide training, toward a vision of society that is deeply attuned to the natural world and able to repair the increasingly destructive rupture of nature and culture.
The New York Writers Coalition (NYWC) provides free and low-cost creative writing workshops, publication support, and performance opportunities throughout New York City for people who have historically been deprived of voice in American society. The Coalition believes that by writing with others in an atmosphere of respect and acceptance, participants discover the value of their own stories, gain confidence and a stronger sense of self, and become less isolated from themselves and from society: “By creating a community of writers and leaders from diverse backgrounds, we galvanize the voices of the marginalized and create opportunities for all writers to connect with the larger community. NYWC’s goal is to create an inclusive city, one that is aware of the diversity of voices within it and honors the lives of all of its citizens.”
Nourishing Networks Central (NNC) isan innovative experiment in applying network theory to the problem of hunger in King County, WA. NNC emerged out of the realization that despite many quality organizations working to reduce hunger, a lack of connectedness between them as well as the community at large led to major gaps or unnecessary barriers to access food. NNC responded with a whole systems approach rooted in relationship-building and creating dynamic cross-sector networks. For example, rather than trying to conduct a formal needs assessment that leads to a strategic plan, NNC convenes knowledgeable people from many different sectors of the community to share what they know about the need and the work that is underway. As this network strengthens, participants identify leverage points, opportunities for collaboration, and gaps that need to be filled. In this way hundreds of people from diverse sectors and cultures bring forward their ideas, experience, and resources, resulting in self-organized, self-sustaining opportunities for the community to contribute their knowledge, expertise, and efforts to fill the gaps.
Kalliopeia provides support for the Washington, DC area Courage to Teach program, a series of quarterly retreats for the personal and professional renewal of teachers and administrators in public schools. Courage To Teach is based upon the groundbreaking work of Parker Palmer and the unmet need to nourish the inner lives of young people and educators in our school systems. Focusing particularly on teachers, Courage To Teach retreats provide a trusting and reflective space for this devoted but underappreciated group of professionals, and are designed to rekindle the passion, commitment, and integrity that come from “reconnecting who we are with what we do.”
The PassageWorks Institute is dedicated to transforming the culture of classrooms, schools, and districts so that the inner life of students and teachers is sheltered, nurtured, and welcomed. The institute believes that acknowledging students’ yearning for deep connection, engaging with difficult questions about meaning, honoring critical transitions in the cycle of schooling, and supporting the quest for a sense of purpose and genuine self-expression are critical to fostering academic achievement and true safety in schools. Through workshops, curricula, research, and cooperation with government and other groups, Passageworks motivates, prepares, and supports educators to implement its model for nurturing the inner lives of students and teachers.
Kalliopeia provides support for the Rehabilitation Through the Arts (RTA) program at Sing Sing maximum-security prison in Ossining, NY. RTA uses theater arts to offer prisoners a safe and supportive structure in which to develop leadership, community, positive self-expression, respect for self and others, and a sense of achievement. Weekly workshops with RTA staff and volunteers in reading, writing, public speaking, improvisation, acting, and directing culminate in original plays, monologues, and theater pieces that are performed twice each year for the entire prison population and invited community guests. Research indicates that the program strengthens cognitive abilities of participants and significantly reduces recidivism.
Prison Mindfulness Institute (formerly Prison Dharma Network)
Kalliopeia provides project support for the Path of Freedom Peacemaker Training Program for Incarcerated and At-Risk Youth, an in-depth training that integrates mindfulness-awareness meditation, body-mind synchronization, nonviolent communication, conflict resolution, and leadership skills—all grounded in the experience and context of contemplative spirituality. The program is presented to incarcerated or at-risk youth in a nonsectarian manner that encourages greater self-awareness and impulse control, and builds skills in relationship, communication, and leadership that support youth in developing a new vision for their future. Kalliopeia also provides support for the Prison Chaplaincy program, which provides resources and outreach for contemplative practice to prison chaplains in correctional facilities across the US.
Prison Performing Arts is an interdisciplinary literacy and performing arts program that serves incarcerated adults and youth in the Missouri criminal and juvenile justice systems. Dedicated to enriching the lives of incarcerated adults and youth, Prison Performing Arts fosters individual and social change by providing current and former inmates opportunities to participate in the performing arts as artists, students, and audience members. Through the performing arts, inmates’ creative energies are channeled in constructive ways that generate respect, cooperation, and self-discipline, developing skills that positively influence the prison culture and support their successful return to their families and communities.
The Reciprocity Foundation’s work is based on the understanding that long-term, sustainable change is only possible by tapping into the natural talents and gifts of an individual. With a focus on permanently transitioning homeless youth out of shelters, Reciprocity Foundation’s holistic program combines higher education, work experience, mentorship, and wellness to guide their re-entry to society from a place of strength and passion. Kalliopeia provides funding for the Personal Transformation Program, which skillfully draws from a range of therapeutic, contemplative, and mentoring techniques to provide transformative healing opportunities to homeless and at-risk youth.
Kalliopeia provides support for the Rudolph Steiner College’s The Waldorf Approach Applied in the Public School Classroom and Native Americans into the Waldorf Experience programs, which provide annual training for public kindergarten and elementary school teachers in integrating the Waldorf approach in public classrooms. Founded as a response to budget cuts that have caused the removal of the arts from public schools and children’s lives, these programs work to make the best aspects of Waldorf education available to a broader population.
Kalliopeia supports the Outreach Concerts program of Sarasa, an international group of musicians dedicated to performing quality classical music to incarcerated adolescents. Sarasa bridges cultural, aesthetic, linguistic, and economic barriers through the power of music, and works to bring new experiences of beauty to teens, many of whom have never been exposed to anything but a popular culture infused with toxic messages. Sarasa also performs for incarcerated adults, hospitals, homeless shelters, inner city schools, private homes of the elderly, mental health institutions, and other populations with little access to live classical music.
School of Lost Borders (SOLB) is a pioneer in developing rites of passage for youth and adults that cultivate self-awareness and responsibility, and that bring a deep, ceremonial connection to nature into participants’ work, home, relationships, and community. SOLB holds a vision that through such initiatory practices humanity can move beyond “the dark threshold of adolescence and begin acting and making decisions as true stewards of the land, mature lovers of life, and responsible members of the human community.” Kalliopeia supports SOLB in developing a network of trained leaders to offer rites of passage in schools, youth leadership initiatives, and community groups.
(Fiscal sponsor: One Light International)
ShadeTree Multicultural Foundation draws upon Indigenous wisdom and a profound understanding of destiny to mentor the human potential, restore vital wellness, and create intentional communities. ShadeTree is dedicated to providing sanctuary – an agreement of the heart that gives context for the recovery of the true Self. In supporting this most authentic ground of the individual, Shade Tree brings a transformative mentoring process and training to at-risk youth, prisoners, and various civil and cultural agencies.
Watch a short video interview with Orland Bishop, Founder and Director, of ShadeTree Multicultural Foundation (below):
Soldier’s Heart is a veterans’ healing project that addresses the emotional and spiritual needs of veterans, their families, and their communities. Understanding post-traumatic stress disorder as a “soul wound,” Soldier’s Heart guides community-based efforts to heal the effects of war using strategies presented in director Ed Tick’s pioneering book War and the Soul. Kalliopeia provides general support and project support for Return Journeys, a program that brings veterans to former combat zones to seek healing and peace, and that unites former combatants in a profound experience of shared humanity.
Watch this Global Spirit series episode“Forgiveness and Healing”with Ed Tick and his wife Kate Dahlstedt and their work with Vietnam War veterans.
Watch the trailer for the documentary Healing a Soldier’s Heart, which features the work of Soldier’s Heart.
Stepping Stones Project’s (SSP) mission is to guide and support youth and families across the threshold from childhood into healthy adolescence through mentoring and contemporary rites of passage. SSP’s model supports parents and communities in addressing the developmental needs of youth by providing extended group mentoring and nature-based experiences, helping youth to develop a strong sense of self, a solid internal compass, and a deep connection with nature. SSP serves the San Francisco Bay Area, and is developing a guidebook and other resources to support other communities in developing authentic passageways and raise dynamic, self-aware young people.
Street Poets Inc. is a poetry-based peacemaking organization dedicated to using the creative process as a force for individual and community transformation. By providing workshops for youth and young adults at school and juvenile detention sites throughout Los Angeles, their mission is to inspire at-risk youth to discover and develop their voices as writers, artists, and human beings; to empower these young people to use the skills and increased self-awareness engendered through the arts to transcend self-destructive lifestyles; and to create a healing community that unites different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic segments of the city around the transformational power of the creative process.
Temple University’s Inside Out Prison Exchange (IOPE) creates opportunities for college students and prisoners to have transformative learning experiences that emphasize dialogue, collaboration, and a lived experience of common humanity beyond social barriers. IOPE brings college students together with incarcerated men and women every week to study as peers in a semester long academic course behind prison walls. IOPE’s curricula facilitate peer learning, shared reflection, and community building within a space that embodies the rupture and divisions of our society. In doing so, IOPE students move beyond the literal walls of correctional facilities and the figurative walls of fear, prejudice, and indifference that prevent us from knowing and validating our mutual humanity, to facilitate encounters of healing, connection, and wholeness.
Kalliopeia’s grant to the Tides Center was used to support The Lineage Project (TLP). Serving the hearts and minds of vulnerable youth, TLP’s dedication is “to go inside to keep them out.” TLP uses yoga, meditation, and other awareness practices to break the cycle of poverty, violence, and incarceration in New York City. Focusing on youth aged 10 to 24 in juvenile detention centers, alternative-to-incarceration programs, and public schools for struggling students, TLP offers young people contemplative tools to begin healing trauma, connect to their authentic selves, and avoid the school-to-prison pipeline.
Tunefoolery Concert Ensembles is a unique group of over fifty musicians with psychiatric disabilities who play and perform music as a means of healing and recovery. Musicians perform in ensembles and solo acts in diverse musical styles for other consumers of mental health services as well as the general public, bringing education, hope, and inspiration to thousands of other consumers every year. Working against the problem-oriented approach that pervades mental health services and the stigmas of society at large, Tunefoolery’s model of recovery empowers mental health consumers to be engaged participants in healing, providing positive life change through creative expression, vocational opportunity, teamwork, and pursuit of meaning.
Wilderness Arts & Literacy Collaborative (WALC) provides students at two inner-city San Francisco high schools with an interdisciplinary academic program that uses environmental education and stewardship activities to integrate science, literature, writing, technology, art, and history—all with a pedagogical focus on the experiences of people of color. Field experiences such as hiking, camping, habitat restoration, and recycling are woven together with classroom coursework to provide the experiential foundation for a challenging academic curriculum. WALC’s vision is that inner-city high school students achieve greater academic success and grow into an interconnected community as a result of engagement in a transformative educational model. WALC’s model creates resilient young people with a strong connection to their own heritage and to the need to create sustainable ways of living in harmony with nature, ultimately contributing to diversification within the environmental movement.
Wildlife Associates (WA) is a unique animal sanctuary and educational program that engages children and at-risk youth with non-releasable wildlife in order to nurture empathy, understanding, and respect for all living things. WA’s unique methodology honors the animals as teachers, and cultivates a relational way of seeing in which the student becomes an active participant in the web of life. Kalliopeia contributes to WA’s at-risk youth mentorship program, where foster children, incarcerated teens, and other struggling youth spend time at the sanctuary, identify with both the woundedness and resilience of the animals, and develop their own capacities for care and healing.
The William James Association (WJA) promotes transformative arts experiences in nontraditional settings, working with prisoners, high-risk youth, and parolees. Kalliopeia Foundation provides support for the Prison Arts Project, which brings professional visual, literary, and performing artists into state prisons to provide in-depth arts experiences for incarcerated men and women. A pioneer in the field of prison arts, WJA believes that the self-discipline, problem-solving, and concentration skills cultivated in the arts increase the capacity for personal change. WJA continues to be a lead advocate for the efficacy of arts programming in reducing recidivism and improving prison cultures.
Youth Passageways is an evolving network of individuals, organizations, and communities dedicated to revitalizing rites of passage as an integral part of human development on both an individual and cultural level. Through mutual support, collaborative learning, resource development, and cross-pollination of practices, this network of practitioners seeks to gain wider visibility for both time-tested and innovative methods and practices, and bring them to bear on the wider work of youth mentorship. In promoting thoughtful, intentional, and community based initiatory experiences, Youth Passageways helps to nurture mature adults who will in turn bring healing to our human and earth communities.
Rooted in a founding commitment to bring mindfulness and compassion to care for the dying, their caregivers, and the bereaved, Zen Hospice Project (ZHP) is a pioneer in reminding the modern world of the grace-filled and spiritual dimensions of the end of life. As an innovative educational center, ZHP trains a growing community of volunteers in contemplative practice and spiritual accompaniment, and deploys these volunteers to sit with underserved San Francisco residents at Laguna Honda county hospice. In doing so, ZHP connects students of meditation with the dying for mutual enrichment, two-way learning, and sharing the enhanced understanding of life that arises from meeting death with equanimity and kindness.