Healing Centered Engagement is a paradigm shift that confronts racism and racial inequity by examining an individual's core values and beliefs, and the way those values and beliefs can impact our interpersonal relationships as well as our relationship to systems, institutions, policies and practices.
Healing Centered Engagement improves organizational culture, transforms individual practices, and builds healthy outcomes for young people and the adults whom serve them.
First, Collective Healing
In 2018, Flourish Agenda’s CEO, Dr. Shawn Ginwright pioneered a revolutionary framework called Healing Centered Engagement (HCE).
HCE is based on more than 30 years of research and practice with young people, schools, probation departments and social workers. Since then, we have trained thousands of teachers, administrators and youth development professionals on how to integrate HCE principles and practices into their work with young people.
We work to transform the individual, the interpersonal and then transform the institutions, policies and systems causing the harm.
Transforming the Individual
We often share that most policies lack effectiveness because change must first happen at three levels: Individual, Interpersonal, and Institutional. If social toxicity exists within an organization, it is probably within those three levels. If you first focus on the Individual perspective through the lens of healing, it will change how people interact. This will then impact how policies are created at an institutional level.
In the last two years, Flourish Agenda has provided healing centered engagement training and capacity building to approximately 800 providers. The training consist of a certification program designed for practitioners to use healing centered strategies in their work within schools, non-profit organizations, juvenile detention facilities, social service agencies and other fields that work with youth of color.
For over 25 years, we have provided transformative learning and leadership development experiences to thousands of Black youth through our Camp Akili summer camp. Camp provides a safe, supportive space to confront racial trauma and its pervasive impact on self, relationships, and community.
Transforming the Interpersonal
Through retreats, trainings, and learning community sessions, we deeply immerse participants in our Healing Centered Engagement model, transforming them into institutional activists who can advance a racial equity agenda in their respective institutions. Healing Centered Engagement promotes racial healing, authentic and deeply rooted relationships, and reconnection with purpose.
Just in the last two years, our Healing Centered Engagement model has engaged approximately 150 educators, executive directors, youth development program staff and caregivers in both in-person and virtual HCE multi-day retreats with our trained staff. Through these retreats and our collective love work together, multiple community partners, from San Francisco to North Omaha to Bermuda, have been able to report a stronger capacity to build transformative interpersonal relationships within their agencies and communities.
Transforming the Institution
Over the past seven years, Flourish Agenda has provided healing centered engagement training to over 115 organizations including local educational agencies
- - San Francisco Unified School District
- - Alameda County Office of Education
- - San Francisco Department of Children and Families
- - City of Oakland’s Oakland Unite
Nationally, Flourish Agenda has worked closely with
- - National School Based Health Alliance
- - Youth Development Institute
- - National Guild for Community Arts
- - Sherwood Foundation
- - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Forward Promise Project
What is Healing Centered Engagement?
Our HCE framework puts racism and racial inequity at the forefront.
HCE is a non-clinical, strengths-based approach that advances a holistic view of healing and re-centers culture and identity as a central feature in personal well-being for young people, their families, and those who work with them.
"Healing Centered Engagement supports not only young people, but adult providers with their own healing."
- Dr. Shawn Ginwright, CEO, Flourish Agenda
Our CARMA Model
The Healing Centered Engagement approach is operationalized through it's five CARMA principles.
The values and norms that connect us to a shared identity.
The individual and collective power to act, create and change personal conditions and external systems.
The capacity to create, sustain and grow healthy connections with others.
The profound discovery of who we are, why we are, and what purpose we were born to serve.
The capacity to imagine, set and accomplish goals for personal and collective livelihood and advancement.
The exploration of possibilities for our lives and the process of accomplishing goals for personal and collective livelihood.
How We Represent in the Community.
Flourish Agenda program staff come from roles providing direct service and support to communities of color in the Bay Area and have advanced degrees in Africana Studies, Ethnic Studies, Social Work and Education.
Our pride and joy in our direct service work happens at Camp Akili, as we aim to align our youth with a sense of self-empowerment and pride in our cultural heritage and also serves as a grounding and connection for our organization. We use these insights to keep us informed on what communities of color need today and cater our services to meet those needs.
Many of the youth served through Camp Akili have turned into incredible leaders in their community. One example is Sizwe Andrews Abakah who was once a bright and motivated teenager participating in our camp. Now, he is the co-founder of Spearitwurx – an Oakland based organization that inspires inter-generational wellness and has consulted for several Bay Area youth serving organizations.
We provide opportunities and take the time to support personal and professional development to our staff to promote their well-being, grow personally and professionally, and to use the skills they learn at Flourish Agenda to go out and change other institutions.
Through active recruitment, constant community outreach, and holding our culture at the root of our work, our staff at Flourish Agenda is proudly reflective of our communities that we hold so very dear.