"We have to think and see how we can fundamentally change our education system so that we can train people to develop warmheartedness early on in order to create a healthier society. We need to encourage an understanding that inner peace comes from relying on human values like love, compassion, tolerance and honesty, and that peace in the world relies on individuals finding inner peace". The Dalai Lama
These inspiring words are the basis of The Peace Model Project. Public schools are an integral part of the fabric of our society in the United States. Children often see themselves through the lens of the world around them and their experiences at school are a contributing factor in molding and shaping their views of the world and themselves. Our solution is give children the built-in safety & tools they need in the school setting to be able to manage life's complexities - including sadness & loss, anxiety, anger, disappointment - and to understand that they are not alone, that their feelings are validated, and that they can identify & work through those feelings using learned tools & skills. Through a team-based philosophy and approach, each of our Peace Model school counselors (one dedicated to each of the four elementary schools) has the opportunity to teach directly in each of the K-5 classrooms, utilizing an evidence-based, Peace First curriculum that fosters resiliency & wellness. Each child in every elementary school also has open access to our licensed and highly trained school counselors directly in the dedicated space called the "Peace Room" - where they have access to mindfulness & meditations through technology, calming books to read, soft chairs & rugs, & stress reduction balls. This space encourages dialogue, healing and connection. Our counselors also provide direct intervention, counseling, and crisis response to children & their families. In addition to one on one counseling, our school counselors create small groups throughout the school year when specific needs arise. These groups are mediated and led by our PMP school counselors and they are utilized to address particular needs, such as anxiety among 4th grade girls, or social skill building with 3rd grade boys. When there is a need for more intensive work outside of school, referrals are made to The Bridge or to other community based mental health organizations. Our solutions: to help students develop stress reduction, coping and self-regulation skills; to help reduce bullying and harassment by improving student relationships with their peers, families, and their school community; and to provide the appropriate supports and services to students experiencing significant distress. The Bridge's tagline says it all: Healthy Minds. Healing Hearts. Peaceful Communities.