Vancouver Heart-Mind Symposium

Vancouver Heart-Mind Symposium

January 10, 2015

Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House

The Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education (DLC) was honoured to participate in the recent Heart-Mind Initiative Symposium in Vancouver. Approximately 60 parents and service providers from 19 different community agencies gathered together for this daylong event that focused on developing Heart-Mind well-being in children. Community agencies presented exciting projects that they will undertake to support the social and emotional well-being of children.

Maria LeRose (L) and Kim Schonert-ReichlMaria LeRose, the DLC’s Programs Director, and Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, Applied Developmental Psychologist  and Professor at University of British Columbia, started the Symposium off with a discussion outlining the five positive human qualities that make up Heart-Mind Well-being and the science supporting each. They highlighted activities, learning resources and research studies, accessible through Heart-Mind Online, to help guide and support project development and validate outcomes.

Tracy Smyth, Heart-Mind Online’s Senior Editor, then challenged the groups to visualize their projects by creating posters representative of the positive changes each group is hoping to achieve. After a flurry of creative activity each group presented their posters and described their proposed project goals. LeRose and Schonert-Reichl provided invaluable feedback on each project and connected each agency with research and activities that may be useful for them as the project develops.

The creativity, cultural inclusiveness and passion displayed by the different groups in their approaches to fostering Heart-Mind Well-being was incredible. Projects will be integrating activities such as community quilting, dance, songs, story times, workshops, co-operative games, multicultural circle time (and more!) with deliberate and explicit efforts to build social and emotional skills . All are designed to bring community members together and help support each other as they care for young children.    

The Vancouver Heart-Mind Initiative is a project of Windows of Opportunity in collaboration with the DLC and funded by Success by 6, United Way of the Lower Mainland and the BC Ministry of Child and Family Development. We’d like to give a special thanks to Donna Chang of Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House, Chair of the Initiative’s advisory, Helen Davidson, Initiative Coordinator and the Mt. Pleasant Neighbourhood House for the excellent space.

Groups participating included a number of local neighbourhood houses, Vancouver Public Library branches, StrongStart Centres, Family Centres, MOSAIC and other local early learning centres.

We are all looking forward to reconnecting at the final celebration event for the project’s completion in March!


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