Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
May 26th
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

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival