CNN features Roots of Empathy
December 10, 2010: Baby Indigo captured the hearts of CNN viewers today as she went to work as a “tiny teacher” for Roots of Empathy.
The American Morning program travelled to Toronto to see a classroom visit in action and speak to Founder and President Mary Gordon about the philosophy and approach that make the program so successful.
Please visit the CNN website to watch the video, which is part of a series called Empowering Our Kids.
New York Times feature on Roots of Empathy strikes a chord
November 10, 2010: The article Fighting Bullying with Babies in the New York Times Online has grabbed the #1 spot on the prestigious newspaper's "most emailed articles" list. The article, by internationally recognized author David Bornstein, appears in a section that looks at "solutions to social problems and why they work."
Within hours of publication, the feature had attracted dozens of comments from readers supporting the need for the program and declaring it fascinating, exciting and inspiring. Read the article and comments.
National Post spotlights Roots of Empathy's society-changing work
October 15, 2010: In a interview in the National Post, Founder and President Mary Gordon addresses the growing recognition of the importance of empathy in shaping the health and welfare of nations. Read Empathy is the key to progress.
Importance of 'Emotional Literacy' marked at United Nations gathering
Sept. 8, 2010: For the first time, Emotional Literacy was recognized alongside reading and writing as part of this year's United Nations International Literacy Day celebrations on Sept. 8.
"This recognition of the type of work we do is groundbreaking," said Roots of Empathy Founder and President Mary Gordon. "To be discussing emotional literacy in this forum shows how far we have come in developing awareness of the need understand and respond to the feelings that are fundamental to our shared humanity."
Photo caption: UN International Literacy Day Symposium participants (l-r) Gary Knell, President of CEO of Sesame Street Workshop; Brian Reich, Managing Director, Little m Media; Roots of Empathy's Mary Gordon; Irene Pritzker, President of IDP Foundation; Byron Pitts, Chief National Correspondent, CBS Evening News; Phyllis Magrab, Pediatrics Professor, Georgetown University.
"The path to peace and development cannot only be paved with facts and figures, but must take into account the way we relate to others and appreciate and respond to diverse points of view."Gordon was invited to speak to the international symposium alongside former US First Lady Laura Bush, the Honorary Ambassador for the UN Literacy Decade as well as Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General. Gordon participated in a blue-ribbon panel including leaders noted for their work in the media, philanthropy, development and academia.
Roots of Empathy babies celebrated across Canada
June 10, 2010: A multitude of babies and children were fêted today as "British Columbia's youngest teachers" at "A Decade of Empathy," the Vancouver Roots of Empathy baby celebration. The event - captured on the front page of the Vancouver Sun - was held to mark the 10th anniversary of Roots of Empathy in the B.C. It was one of hundreds of Roots of Empathy baby celebrations that happen across Canada and around the world at the end of each school year to thank volunteer Roots of Empathy babies and parents who have shared their special bond with children in the program.
Launched in British Columbia in 2000, Roots of Empathy - a classroom program that aims to change the world using a baby and parent as a model for empathy - is now widely acclaimed and has recently received unprecedented international media attention.
Roots of Empathy fell on hard times in the province in 2009 when provincial funding cutbacks - widely experienced by many charities and school boards in B.C. - forced the cancellation of more than 50 per cent of its programs. The "Decade of Empathy" event signaled a renewal of sorts, with the announcement that the program would continue next year thanks to other funders that have stepped forward.
"We are very lucky to have new funding partners this year, although we are still seeking further funding support in B.C.," said Mary Gordon, Founder/President of Roots of Empathy. "We are not going full-force next year, but we are still very much alive in the province. And we remain grateful to the Government of British Columbia for its outstanding support for so many years. We will continue to work closely in partnership with them and we are very hopeful funding can be restored when finances stabilize in the province."
The Vancouver event featured several dozen children and babies, all wearing Roots of Empathy "Teacher" t-shirts. Over the past 10 years, they have been teaching Vancouver's schoolchildren important lessons about empathy, emotions, neuroscience, temperament, inclusion, infant safety, and the power of a loving bond between parent and child. Many of the children present were Roots of Empathy "alumni" - former babies who participated in the program.
The festivities featured remarks from Linda Reid, MLA; Hal Wake, Artistic Director, Vancouver International Writers Festival; Lyle Viereck, Roots of Empathy Board Member and BC Hydro Director of Aboriginal Relations and Negotiations; and past and current Vancouver School Board representatives Chris Kelly, Larry Haberlin and Lisa Pedrini. As well, Hereditary Chief Ian Campbell of the Squamish Nation gave a traditional welcome to the territory and spoke warmly about the program:
"'Nexwniw' is a Squamish word for a good upbringing. The work of Roots of Empathy is vital in immersing young children with foundations of success. I commend the good work being done by this organization," he said.
One of the highlights of the event was the Roots of Empathy welcome song, a Baby Celebration tradition. The babies and their parents took in the ceremony from a giant padded green blanket - a nod to the trademark green blanket that children sit around in every Roots of Empathy program worldwide.
Gordon believes the program is making a difference. "We started by reaching 250 children in Vancouver ten years ago, and to date we have reached 85,000 children in British Columbia. It is these children who are lighting the footpath to the future. Empathy is the very foundation of a civil society."
At the heart of the Roots of Empathy program are classroom visits by an infant and parent. A trained Roots of Empathy instructor guides children in labeling the baby's emotions and reflecting on their own feelings and those of others (empathy). A decade of independent research consistently shows that children who receive Roots of Empathy experience dramatic and lasting effects in terms of increased positive social behaviour (sharing, helping and including) and decreased aggression (particularly bullying), and that the effects last for years.
Roots of Empathy is a charitable, non-profit organization with award-winning programs informed by the power of empathy. Founded in 1996, the program has now reached 325,000 children worldwide and has been recognized by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, Daniel Goleman, and the World Health Organization. The organization works in partnership with Indigenous people globally, and has been endorsed in Canada by National Chief Shawn Atleo of the Assembly of First Nations. Roots of Empathy has recently been profiled in Time magazine and on Fox News.
Roots of Empathy in TIME, on Fox News, and elsewhere
May 20, 2010: The Roots of Empathy organization is receiving unprecedented international media coverage recently! TIME magazine has recently done an article on Roots of Empathy (available on newsstands worldwide as of May 20). The article appears on page 45 of the May 24 edition of TIME and is also available online.
Meanwhile, Fox News (Fox & Friends) has interviewed Mary Gordon on the topic of bullying. Watch the interview on the Fox News website, here. The show aired on Sunday, May 23, at approximately 8:20 a.m. EST. CNN's Anderson Cooper 360° show plans to do an upcoming episode on Roots of Empathy, which will likely air in the fall.
Finally, a new book about empathy called Born for Love, by Maia Szalavitz and Dr. Bruce Perry, features Roots of Empathy extensively.
Roots of Empathy in TIME online
April 17, 2010: Roots of Empathy has been featured in an article on TIME magazine's website today. The article, entitled "How Not to Raise a Bully: The Early Roots of Empathy" explores the idea that empathy is essential for positive and proper development. It profiles Roots of Empathy as a program that is successful in teaching empathy to school-children. Read the article now!
Empathy spreading in New Zealand
March 1, 2010: In the Southern Hemisphere, where the school year has just begun, Roots of Empathy (ROE) is celebrating a major milestone: our fourth year of operations in a country outside of Canada. New Zealand now has the longest-running international ROE program, which has already reached 4,275 children in four years. In 2010-11, we welcome new ROE partner, Barnardos, one of New Zealand's largest and most trusted children's organizations, as our lead agency in the country. The program was first introduced to 250 children in Auckland in 2007.
To read more about Roots of Empathy in New Zealand, click here.
Mary Gordon Contributes to Empathy Debate on The Huffington Post
Feb. 18, 2010: Roots of Empathy is delighted to announce that a blog post by Mary Gordon, "Empathic Civilization: Building A New World One Child at a Time," has appeared today on The Huffington Post, one of the most popular news websites on the Internet.
Mary was invited to submit her post by Jeremy Rifkin, whose new book, The Empathic Civilization, devotes several pages to Roots of Empathy and calls it part of "a new pedagogical revolution" in empathy and one of the "most interesting innovations" in this area. For the next few months, leading thinkers on empathy such as Mary have been invited to share their thoughts on The Huffington Post.
We invite you to join this global empathy debate, a debate that Roots of Empathy has been advancing since 1996. You can comment or 'vote' on Mary's post or to share it on Facebook, Yahoo or Twitter. Or comment on another post in the empathy series (scroll down to Related Blogs on Huffington Post).