Linda Lantieri interviewed by Eduard Punset.
Our Mission is to cultivate the inner lives of students, teachers and schools by integrating social and emotional learning with contemplative practice.
The Inner Resilience Program, a project of the Tides Center, was founded in the spring of 2002 in response to the effects of the events of September 11, 2001 on New York City schools. Our aim was to equip school staff and parents with the skills necessary to build back their inner strength, and to model these skills for the children in their care. Initially funded by the American Red Cross and the September 11th fund, we began with a core program of retreats, professional development workshops, bodywork sessions, and yoga classes for school staff, as well as educational workshops for parents. After a while, teachers began to request concrete tools for use in their classrooms – tools that would assist them in teaching their children the essential skills of inner resilience.
In 2005, we began to write and pilot a new curriculum for the classroom: Building Resilience from the Inside Out.When we began, The Inner Resilience Program's primary target population was the educators, parents and students that comprise the public school communities in lower Manhattan. Many of these schools were severely affected by the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001.
We started to realize early on that the work we were doing in theses schools had broader implications to the field of education: public school teachers all over the city and the country were overstressed and close to burnout. Many of them needed help managing the new challenges facing them inside the classroom and out.
In 2006, we embarked on a comprehensive scientific research study of our program, to measure the effects of our work on reducing teachers’ stress levels. The Resilience & Renewal Fellows, as we call them, came from all 5 boroughs of the city to join our programs and marked the first expansion of our work from trauma recovery in lower Manhattan to preventive work in wellness for educators everywhere. In the fall of 2007, we received a generous grant from the NoVo Foundation that has allowed us to expand our work even further.
In the fall of 2008 we began a pilot of our program in the South Burlington, Vermont schools. The pilot has met with great success and will continue in the 2009-2010 school year.
Since we began this work in 2002, we have served over 5,000 school staff, 2,000 parents and over 10,000 students, who have helped to reclaim their schools as caring communities of learning.