Change The Intended Impact
A culture of children’s wellbeing is created in spaces of collective healing—spiritually, emotionally, and physically. When a community comes together to address historical trauma and disenfranchisement, it can unlock collective power and community resilience.
Innovative practitioners prioritize the empowerment of communities that have historically been denied access, influence, and power. Their models often facilitate spaces which are affirming, supportive, and communal.
This communal approach reorients society’s focus on the individual to the collective, allowing a child’s entire communities of care to participate in shaping a culture of wellbeing.
Thunder Valley Development Corporation
Community empowerment has transformed a culture of poverty and welfare on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation into one of solutions and regenerative growth. Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation’s work is anchored in the cultural and spiritual healing of members of the Oglala Lakota Nation, using rituals to reconnect young people to a sense of identity, community, and place.
With a renewed sense of identity, the community engaged in a conversation -- not about the problems facing the Reservation, but rather, their aspirations for the future. This vision became a plan for community investment and was adopted by Lakota tribal government.
Thunder Valley CDC empowered youth to step into leadership positions to guide the community development projects, and began addressing housing redevelopment, cultural education, violence prevention, and physical fitness within the community. Thunder Valley CDC continuously creates solutions and leaders from within their community, and partners with other tribes, reservations, council state and federal agencies from North Dakota to Arizona to support community-led development.
To address the chronic health issues facing African American communities across the country, GirlTrek brings together black women and girls to lay the foundation for a culture of health in their neighborhoods. Mothers, grandmothers, and daughters all come together in their communities on a regular basis to walk, and in doing so, shift the culture to one of health, strength, and women’s empowerment.
GirlTrek prioritized involving individuals who are “culture creators” in their neighborhoods and supports them in their own personal transformation. Doing so has reverberating effects in the entire community. Women who participate in GirlTrek not only develop a habit of physical exercise, they begin to become more involved in their communities, advocating for the changes they want to see in their schools, neighborhoods, and cities.
Children, parents, teachers, staff, and administrators can often bring residual stress and trauma with them into a school ecosystem, without knowing how it can negatively impact behavior, compassion, empathy, and peacefulness. Niroga transforms learning spaces and entire communities into health, peaceful, and compassionate spaces by bringing Dynamic Mindfulness and tools for healing and resilience into the school.
Dynamic Mindfulness empowers individuals to act mindfully in stressful situations, rather than act reflexively. As a result, students, teachers, and school staff alike, develop a strong sense of self-awareness both psychologically and physically, supporting their ability to make choices with forethought. Niroga’s Dynamic Mindfulness programs have revolutionized how school communities deal with stress and trauma. Students enter the world with a greater sense of self, ready to accomplish their goals and pursue their dreams.