Lynn Green: Reflecting with Gratitude
As I step down from the role of President and CEO of the Dalai Lama Center, I would like to reflect on some highlights in the development of the DLC over the past three years. It has been a very exciting and rewarding journey that I have travelled along with some incredibly dedicated and talented people associated with the Center.
Following His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Vancouver in 2009, the DLC has undergone considerable growth and change, developing clarity of purpose and inter-related program activities. Thanks to the leadership of our Board of Trustees, staff and advisors, we developed and adopted a strategic plan which identified advancing the heart-mind learning of children and youth as our primary focus. We have been targeting our resources and programs to support change in British Columbia, and it is exciting to see momentum and engagement growing in schools, families and communities throughout the province and in academic research that is informing and supporting effective practices.
It has become abundantly clear to us that the DLC has an important role to play in offering opportunities for the adults and systems that surround children to understand how to foster the social and emotional learning of young people, to share stories of success and to facilitate the connection between research and practice. This has been affirmed by the response to our Educating the Heart Speakers Series, the active engagement of tens of thousands of people in our social media and, particularly, throughout the experience of our recent Heart-Mind 2013 Conference.
In May, over 500 educators, parents, service providers, policy makers and academics convened at UBC to learn about how mindfulness helps children thrive. Participants expressed keen interest in learning about the latest research, programs and mindfulness practices that impact the heart-mind well-being of adults and children alike; learning that has continued beyond the conference through engagement with the Heart-Mind 2013 legacy website.
Along with the Conference, there have been other program activities that will continue to develop and grow. Thanks to the ongoing collaboration with the UBC Human Early Learning Partnership and generous support of the Clyde Hertzman Legacy Fund, release of the Heart-Mind Index will be piloted over the next six months. It is anticipated that this population-based measure, which provides data about the heart-mind well-being of young children in BC communities, will be useful for planning services and programs in schools and communities throughout the province.
In the past three years another rich partnership has developed with the Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House, through engagement in a Heart-Mind Inquiry. Thanks to the support and leadership of Executive Director Gary Dobbin and Director of Family Programs Diane Wilmann, staff and volunteers, over 2,000 community members participated in the Compassionate Children, Caring Community project and explored how people in the community can foster compassion, confidence and co-operation in young people.
Following the success of this project, the Center piloted the Heart-Mind Inquiry Institute in Greater Trail. Participants learned the principles and processes of appreciative inquiry methodology which could be applied for community development and change. Planning is now underway to offer training in this strength- based dialogic change process in other parts of the Province over the coming year.
Building on active participant engagement in our online communication platforms, and the invaluable advice of the UX for Good experts, the DLC is developing additional web-based resources for rich, interactive learning and engagement related to “educating the hearts of children.” These will link to various program activities and will offer opportunities for people who “care for and about young people” to explore the many dimensions of heart-mind learning, participate in online communities of interest, and network with each other.
None of these successful program activities could have been accomplished without a resourceful and talented team of advisors, staff, consultants and volunteers who are deeply committed to promoting peace through development of such positive human qualities as compassion, altruism, mindfulness and inter-connectedness. I have been deeply grateful for and inspired by their vision, initiative, loyalty and hard work over these past three years.
I am also delighted that Christie Whitley has recently assumed the role of President and CEO. With her extensive educational background and deep understanding of the heart-mind learning of young people, I am confident that she will provide strong and effective leadership that will enrich the Center’s continuing growth.
In closing I would to express my sincere appreciation and heartfelt thanks to Brenda Eaton and the Board of Trustees for their leadership and support, to Victor Chan for his inspirational vision and unrelenting commitment, and to the DLC community for continuing to engage with us and support our efforts.
Thank you all for making things happen.
Wishing you peace and happiness.
The Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education is a secular and non-political charitable organization based in Vancouver, Canada that educates the heart and fosters compassion through creative learning, facilitating and applying research, and connecting people and ideas. For more information on the DLC, visit our web site at dalailamacenter.org.