Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 23rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

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.

Comments (1)Add Comment
...
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.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.