Ontario Francophone Schools to Benefit from Roots of Empathy Program Thanks to $106,000 OTF Grant
Nov. 7, 2008: Roots of Empathy (ROE) celebrates the future growth of their Francophone programming, thanks to a $106,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). The Honourable Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community and Social Services, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs and MPP for Ottawa-Vanier, joined OTF Board Member Gisèle Richer in congratulating Roots of Empathy at école élémentaire catholique Ste-Anne at the official announcement on Nov. 7, 2008, where attendees had a chance to watch the program in action.
"The Roots of Empathy program has proven to be successful in English classrooms and I am pleased that it will now have a place in the Franco-Ontarian school system as well," said Meilleur. "Fostering the development of empathy in children and adults is one of the best ways to teach compassion and manage anger and conflict among youth. This is a powerful and important message and I wish this program will have as much success with French students as it has had with English ones."
Roots of Empathy's collaborative partner in this project is the Centre franco-ontarien de ressources pédagogiques (CFORP). "The CFORP is happy to be associated with ROE, collaborating on the implementation of the French side of the program, in Ontario's French-language schools," said Gilles Leroux, CFORP Executive Director. “We believe the chances of success for the program will be greater if the learning materials can be adapted to the reality of our schools and our Franco-Ontarian community.”
The two-year grant will be used to produce and distribute a Roots of Empathy training DVD. This will give more Francophone schools across Ontario the opportunity to implement the program. "Roots of Empathy is dedicated to delivering the program to elementary schoolchildren in Ontario in both official languages," said ROE Founder/President Mary Gordon. "We are appreciative of the Ontario Trillium Foundation's assistance in building our capacity to delivery on this goal."
Investing Today for Tomorrow: Mary Gordon Part of Panel Discussion on Corporate Responsibility
October 18, 2008: Our own Mary Gordon recently joined Bob Elton, President of BC Hydro on a panel discussion about successful corporate and not-for-profit partnerships. This panel was part of the Business Council of British Columbia's one-day conference, Investing Today for Tomorrow: Corporate Responsibility in BC. Former United States president, Bill Clinton and Frank Giustra, Canadian Business Executive and Philanthropist, were the lunch speakers at the completely sold-out event, touted as "the BC business event of the year". Also in attendance with Mary was B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell (pictured left).
The panel's message focused on the ingredients of successful funding partnerships. The other panel members were Tamara Vrooman COO, Vancity Credit Union, and Liz Evans, Founder and Executive Director, Portland Hotel Society. The panel was moderated by Rick Cluff of CBC Radio.
Bob Elton announced BC Hydro's partnership with the Roots of Empathy organization in enhancing their work with Aboriginal Communities.
Mary Gordon and Roots of Empathy selected as finalist for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards
September 15, 2008: The National Post recently published a supplement announcing the finalists for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards for 2008. Mary Gordon was selected as a finalist for the category of “social entrepreneur” for her work in founding the Parenting & Family Literacy Centres and Roots of Empathy. This marks the 15th year for the awards and the first year for the “social entrepreneur” category. Mary Gordon was selected for the short list of four nominees in this category along side Artscape's Tim Jones, Free the Children's Craig and Marc Kielburger, and Yonge Street Mission's Dr. Rick Tobias. Awards will be presented at a gala event taking place on October 16 in Toronto.
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards – 2008
Roots of Empathy connects with First Nations Chiefs of Canada
July 18, 2008: At their Annual General Assembly this year the AFN passed a resolution to support and endorse Roots of Empathy and Seeds of Empathy (ROE's younger sibling), calling both programs "compatible with traditional First Nations teachings and worldviews" because they address aggression and foster empathy and social and emotional competence. One of Roots of Empathy's main focus as an organization will be to dialogue with Aboriginal communities across Canada in support of healing and finding a way ahead. As history books are rewritten, school children will learn about the injustices and generational impact of residential schools. Roots of Empathy will challenge all children to develop empathy to ensure that no group in society is ever treated as Canada's Aboriginal children have been treated.
Tiny Teachers make front page news
July 15, 2008: Each year, Roots of Empathy thanks its youngest teachers with Baby Celebrations held in towns and cities around the globe.
Mary Gordon joins Dalai Lama to plant Seeds of Compassion
April 12, 2008: Roots of Empathy Founder/President Mary Gordon participated in two discussions about empathy and compassion at the April 2008 Seeds of Compassion event in Seattle, Washington.
The Dalai Lama was in Seattle, Washington for the five-day Seeds of Compassion event, which ended earlier this week. This event drew more than 50,000 people live and countless more through webcasts in 24 languages to celebrate and explore the relationships, programs and tools that nurture and empower children, families and communities to be compassionate members of society.
Roots of Empathy Founder/President Mary Gordon participated in a panel with the Dalai Lama called >From Knowledge to Compassion Action: What We All Can Do. The moderator was Dr. Mark Greenberg, Director of the Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development. The other panelists were:
- Dr. John Gottman, globally recognized for his work on emotions and communication, and author of The Heart of Parenting: Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child
- Dr. Roger Weissberg, past president of the American Psychological Association's Society for Community Research and Action, and the President of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
- Dr. Bob Marvin, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychiatric and Director of the Mary D. Ainsworth Child-Parent Attachment Clinic
- Karen Gordon, Founder and Executive Director of Whole Child International
Mary moved the audience of thousands to tears with the story of Darren, a boy in a Roots of Empathy classroom who wondered, "do you think that if nobody ever loved you, that you can still be a good father?" She concluded by saying that empathy and compassion can develop at any time and age, and "It's not just that it takes a village to raise a child, but sometimes it takes a child to raise a village."
Mary had the opportunity to ask a question of the Dalai Lama. She spoke of how we are concerned about nuclear disarmament and clearing landmines in the world, but not the landmines of our own hearts. She asked the Dalai Lama to speak of inner disarmament, a theme he returned to during an afternoon dialogue.
You can watch the full discussion here, along with many of the events involving the Dalai Lama. Scroll through the list of events on the left-hand page, then click on the "play" icon that appears behind the event you wish to view.
Mary also participated in a workshop called Compassion at Home, in Schools and the Community with Dr. Dan Siegel, award-winning child psychiatrist, and Dr. Ed Taylor, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs at the University of Washington Seattle.
- Joan Lombardi, a research professor at the Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University and a lifetime child advocate, moderated the workshop.
- Dr. Siegal spoke from a neurobiology and social perspective of relationships in the home, referencing the Mindsight Institute where he is Director and his books, including The Developing Mind and The Mindful Brain.
- Dr. Taylor engaged the audience with the story of volunteering in a child care centre and the impact of that community engagement on his life.
Mary brought stories from classrooms where Roots of Empathy raises the floor of compassion. She referenced her philosophy that "Love Grows Brains," which was later repeated by the governor of Washington in her introductory remarks before the Dalai Lama spoke on Saturday afternoon.
Roots of Empathy wins Ashoka Changemakers Competition!
March 17, 2008: Roots of Empathy is one of three winners – and the only Canadian organization – to win an international competition for programs that help youth at risk.
"It really changes in a fundamental way the character of children who participate in this program and opens up opportunities for them," says Kris Herbst, Director, Online Community at Changemakers, which sponsored the competition. "I think it's very effective. And I think it's a new and different kind of approach that is worth supporting."
The competition, Young Men at Risk: Transforming the Power of a Generation, drew 362 entries from 39 countries. Fourteen finalists were selected by expert judges, then presented to the public, who voted for the winners via the Internet.
The competition identified Roots of Empathy as addressing "young men's missing voices and input leads to disconnection and failed policies", and found that the main insight the program offered was to "create stability and safety without condescension or judgment."
Roots of Empathy will receive a US$5,000 grant from Changemakers, an initiative of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public that focuses on social innovation. Finalists are also invited to a Young Men at Risk Change Summit hosted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Many of the votes came from parents who volunteer with their babies in Roots of Empathy classrooms, and teachers who witness the effects of the program. Here are some of the comments posted on the Changemakers.net website.
From a teacher with Roots of Empathy in the classroom: "My favourite moment was when our baby stared at my smallest fourth grade student for the whole class. This boy has several learning/behavioural issues, but with our baby's eyes on him, he fell in love. You could see the walls soften, and the self-esteem (hey, the baby likes ME! Nobody usually likes me!) shoot upward."
From a parent: "I love this program. My youngest daughter and I have been involved in this program for about 5 months now and I think it is great. Her class just loves their visits and they ask great questions. I have notice changes in them all, especially the boys. They are definitely learning to see things differently."
From another parent: "Both of my daughters have been Roots babies. I cannot say enough about this program. It is always a joy to go to the classroom each month and watch how these kids interact with my child. On the first day not everyone (especially boys) are willing to participate but by the third or fourth visit to see there eyes light up when they see the baby is an amazing change. I feel that this program is making a difference in everyone's lives."
To read all the posted comments and Roots of Empathy's submission to the competition, please visit the Changemakers.net website.
Roots of Empathy featured in US national media
Feb. 21, 2008: Roots of Empathy has made the front page of the Wall Street Journal and has been featured on the CBS Early Show - watch the segment here.
Roots of Empathy Chosen as a Finalist for the Changemakers Young Men at Risk Competition
Feb. 29, 2008: Roots of Empathy has been chosen as a finalist in the Changemakers competition: Young Men at Risk: Transforming the Power of a Generation.
Of the 362 entries received from 39 countries, Roots of Empathy is proud to be included as the only Canadian finalist!
Voting is open to the public until Tuesday March 11th, 2008. Register on the Changemakers.net website by clicking here to cast your vote. Once registered, you can also leave your comment on the Changemakers Forum.
Changemakers is an initiative of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public that focuses on the rapidly growing world of social innovation. Changemakers is building the world's first global online "open source" community that competes to surface the best social solutions, and then collaborates to refine, enrich, and implement those solutions.