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Local Org Wins $100,000

ami pr photoSANTA CRUZ > Nonprofit aims to unleash potential from the inside out

Ami Chen Mills-Naim’s approach to individuals seems well suited to Santa Cruz.  As co-founder and education director for the Center for Sustainable Change (CSC), Chen Mills-Naim drew on philosopher Sydney Banks’ studies to design a very “human,” yet rare, approach to access the universal “core of peace” found in all people, and to improve communities from the “inside-out.” The center’s mission was recently bolstered by a $100,000 grant from the Kellogg Foundation, which they have used to help open a new location, and to continue spreading their services nationally.

Chen Mills-Naim’s goal is to help individuals with psychosocial distress to realize their own inner strength and capabilities as a method of finding relief—a drive that began for her via personal experience. As a young journalist in the ’90s, Chen Mills-Naim was intrigued by new medical discoveries that claimed they had “found the answer” to psychological issues exhibited in individuals. The answers to these “problems,” according to big national magazines, were prescription pills.  

The CSC offers more holistic, natural alternatives that that focus on healing the harmful views that people hold of their own selves, and how those translate into their daily lives.   The center, as explained in detail on their website, offers a range of services including one-on-one intensive consulting, leadership retreats, research projects, and couples’ and family consulting. All of center’s actions employ Dr. Banks’ three principles, which boil down to the idea that through showing individuals how to view themselves from a better perspective, they are able to live a more peaceful and rewarding life.

 

“I think all of the external ways of trying to fix problems—although they’re valuable and worthwhile—kind of stop at the place of human states of mind and ways of thinking,” Chen Mills-Naim says. Through the center and their projects, like the National Community Resiliency Project (NCRP), she hopes to “unleash the pent up potential of the human spirit by seeing through the fears and illusions we create about ourselves, about our capacities.”  By implementing the principles of Dr. Banks in their consultations, the center hopes to help them “gain the ability to live life with grace and creativity, because they see that the external world holds no power over their peace of mind.”

The NCRP takes Chen Mills-Naim’s ideals to a more national level, expanding the use of these principles in other locations. The project brings this way of understanding psycho-social issues together with partner centers in Iowa, Mississippi, and North Carolina. The $100,000 bump in funding helps the project in its work with communities dealing with issues in crime, assaults and homicides, increased civic engagement, school attendance and educational performance.

“What we’ve been really missing,” says Chen Mills-Naim, “is the dimension of the human spirit.  We haven’t found a way to unlock the potential of [it], and I think that these principles that we teach really do that.”

For more information about the CSC, visit centerforsustainablechange.org and cscmediacenter.org.

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written by a guest, June 07, 2012
Since I saw her first article/blog, I have been following Ms Schiff's work because it is always so informative and interesting. Here is another excellent one.

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Giving Thanks: The Thought-Form of Solution

We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

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