ORGANIZATIONAL GOALS AND 7 GUIDING PRINCIPLES:
As part of our organizational and clinical mission, we seek to maximize inclusion of all persons regardless of race, nationality, sexual preference or any other label by which persons are excluded.
As a part of our organizational and clinical foundation we value inclusivity by promoting awareness of the social dynamics and cultural influences of our communities. As we promote a culture of empathy through mindfulness, we find it crucial to bring this empathy to issues around race, gender, sexual orientation, and privilege. We are committed to having courageous conversations and making necessary changes within our organization and our communities. This social endeavor is not a top down model, but a decentralized, democratic process that requires everyone’s full investment.
7 GUIDING PRINCIPLES:
Seeds, like any social endeavor, has always been held by guiding principles and a mission of service. Our core staff and board continually endeavor to clarify our vision to ensure we are moving in a direction aligned with our intentioned purpose. In order for us to do this successfully as a non-profit experimenting in a type of “workplace democracy”, each participating member has to commit to a shared purpose for such a service mission.
A core to our work and worldview in Seeds is the power of cultivated awareness, or mindfulness. Awareness of our own experience and to the world around us are critical to our capacity to experience freedom and less suffering. Mindfulness is “the practice of paying attention to the present moment on purpose, without judgement.” Through such a cultivated awareness we can “wake-up” to the causes and conditions of suffering, as well as, happiness and peace. Within this fundamental value rests the regular practice(s) of mindfulness, which can lead to an open, receptive attitude of mind; a clear-seeing that is free of distortions, and supports presence as a state of being.
Mindfulness as we see it, is fundamentally a heart-centered approach that includes kindness, vulnerability and empathy as essential components of being human. We strive to model and cultivate these qualities of compassion throughout the organization and as service providers in our communities. We believe that love is a force for healing and growth, and seek to embody it in our service. When we are able to hold compassion in this way, we can approach ourselves/others with self-care, acceptance and humility. “When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.”
We want to support our staff and our community to develop inner-sovereignty, as well as interdependence or to be “in-dependence” with one another. Such a mutual relationship requires trust and honesty. As a small nonprofit, we uphold each of us to be accountable to one another, and our words and actions are seen as a reflection of our commitment. We honor the place of each of our unique truth. We believe that arriving at our own truth often can emerge through relationships. Learning to listen to others deeply and speak for oneself through I-statements enables the owning of one’s experience. We believe that it is necessary to pay attention to how we impact others regardless of our intent; while practicing self-responsibility.
Our psyche is home to powerful creative forces that allow us to make contact with known and unknown parts of our self. We trust that not all these forces are conscious to us in verbal forms and thus we provide a space to hold reverence for these passionate energies to allow them to be explored and expressed with one another in a safe community. We value aliveness: joy, playfulness, and vitality are traits that we believe are essential to a healthy and happy life. We seek to embody, encourage and support these traits in our team and community to create a more joyous and happy world.
Seeds strives to support processes of self-empowerment. We believe that each individual has potential power to share authentic presence and unique gifts with the world. Although we cannot give individuals power, we can support processes for individuals to rise and empower themselves in their lives. As a social institution and administrative leadership, we can better equalize power by sharing it internally and with the community to support every body’s leadership to flourish. In this way of social equity, there is a mutual responsibility around recognizing agency and self-determination, holding particular respect to those with historically less access to social power. We can be fully authentic when we can be present with our experience in relation to our agency and sense of power in any given situation.
A large part of our work is undoing aloneness. Immersed in a nuclear, “self”-oriented culture, isolation is a risk and reality that is ever present. We recognize that an individual sense of self emerges only in relationship with one another and our contexts. We value interdependence over codependency; cooperation over competition; democratic participation over hierarchy through the practice of opening ourselves to let others see how they impact us and vice versa. We believe in the transformative powers of healing relationships and share in our efforts to create a supportive and loving community within our organization.
Seeds values difference as well as commonalities. This includes issues of diversity, equity and social justice. We recognize systemic racism, sexism, heteronormativity, classism, etc and the intersectional ways that these dominant tendencies within institutions and individuals work to perpetuate oppression and suffering. We seek to reduce suffering and address these power imbalances by increasing awareness, access and representation of marginalized experiences as possible. We humbly acknowledge that this is challenging and necessary collective effort that we can often fail at and hold. In our organization, we value and support individuals who speak up against dominant powers and ask us to challenge our assumptions and privileges.
“It’s about planting the seeds for community, for peace, for social interaction that’s positive. In 24 years of teaching, this is the first time that I see a program that immediately shows results.”Martha Ochoa, from Golden Oak Elementary School in Hayward
As Seeds of Awareness grows into more and more school communities, we are committed to offering our services and making them accessible to communities that may otherwise not receive this support. Thus, we are working on making our programming relevant to youth of color, and other marginalized groups, in order to build bridges of empathy across the spectrum difference.
As a part of our organizational and clinical foundation, we value inclusivity by promoting awareness of the social dynamics and cultural influences of our communities.
As we promote a culture of empathy through mindfulness, we find it crucial to bring this empathy to issues around race, gender, sexual orientation, and privilege. We are committed to having courageous conversations and making necessary changes within our organization and our communities.
If you support our values and would like to support our work, please consider donating to our cause by clicking here.
Who We Are
We are a collaboration of psychologists, marriage and family therapists, school counselors, and trainers who provide therapeutic and educational services to schools and community members.
Seeds of Awareness Inc. is a San Francisco Bay-Area 501-C3 non-profit organization that facilitates evidence-based social and emotional support programs.