BALTIMORE WISDOM PROJECT
We are a values-driven company. Chief among our values are our commitments to preventing inequalities, cultivating peace, elevating compassion, actualizing anti-oppression, and realizing liberation for historically marginalized people. We are also committed to the trauma-sensitive mantra of "do no harm." We are interested in addressing overlapping and interlocking injustices and behaviors. We are lifelong learners. Everywhere that we work is a laboratory for ongoing learning and practice about how best to be in service to others. Rather than being fixers, saviors, and correctors who only intervene within conflicts involving individuals' offenses and alleged criminalities, we are peacemakers and caretakers committed to building ongoing systems of accountability, compassion and contemplation that transform whole communities and cultures.
Everywhere were work, we encounter systemic inequalities. Often the root causes of the grassroots problems on which we work (like violence prevention) involve complex state-level injustices that keep people struggling for equitable healthcare, housing, labor, income, and education. Thus, we are always rooting and branching our work in preventing inequalities so that grassroots community members are empowered with practices, policies, and procedures that elevate prosperity, opportunity, and access.
We are a regional leader in shaping whole-community, gender-inclusive credible messaging for truly lasting peace and safety.
Our work is about eliminating and preventing patterns of violence, and not just reducing and interrupting violence. We are violence preventers and eliminators, not violence reducers and interrupters. This requires elevating everyone in the communities within which we work—female, male, nonbinary, youth, parents/guardians, and families—as agents of peace.
We are also working to realize culture-wide credible messaging for peace that provides pathways to prevent racial and economic inequalities. We have found that regular acts of violence often occur within sectors of society in which struggles for resources are acute. We have also found that there is a direct relationship between inequalities and violence through subtle or explicit violence-enabling or violence-adjacent codes and signals.
Many of our procedures and practices elevate a conscious, unequivocal commitment to safety and security. For example, in our transportation services, we do not merely drop off individuals; we watch them to make sure that they enter the door of their location safely.
We carefully consider where and with whom we work and the relationships that community members forge.
We encourage everyone to think-through complex issues of consent and boundaries.
We guard against sending mixed messages and working at crossed-purposes.
We think-through the language that we use in our engagement with community members so we do not simply parrot the manner in which they speak to achieve a shallow sense of "relating" with them. Further still, we do not present false narratives that only, for example, a certain kind of person is best suited to engage with communities members. We urgently need everyone to receive ongoing training to become effective violence preventers and eliminators.
We strongly value culturally inclusive communitarianism, which is a worldview within which we always try to balance individual liberty with collective good.
In our work with youth and families, we foster interdependence (working for the collective good) through movement organizing and community building so people value working together as teams in mutually beneficial ways.
We believe strongly in cultural sensitivity and cultural responsiveness.
We immerse ourselves with the community and are sensitive to their practices, customs, and worldview.
At the same time, we tell community members upfront that we are NOT culturally essentialist.
Cultural essentialism leads to either the romanticization or pathologizing of communities.
In other words, if we detect harm and violence, we do not merely say, "It's just their culture" or valorize unsafe actions because such a stance enables harm in the community.
When confronted with adverse behaviors that contravene optimal living, health, wellness, and safety, we discuss problematic behaviors with community members, suggest alternatives, foster peace and wellness, and talk through remedies in empowering ways that encourage ongoing training in holistic learning and peacemaking.
We share a view of culture and justice as both grounded in distinct values and practices as well as always evolving and transformative for collective good.
Wisdom Projects, Inc. is grounded in the Wisdom Education movement. To learn more about this movement, please obtain and read Dr. Theodore Richards' Creatively Maladjusted: The Wisdom Education Movement Manifesto (Homebound Publications, 2013).
Here are our guiding imperatives:
Along with caring for the education and health of human youth and families, we believe that many of our greatest lessons are gained by a close connection with the natural world, including wilderness, plant life, and non-human animals. This belief animates our commitment to environmental justice, life science, sustainability, conservation, and urban ecology.
Many of the people with whom we work are impacted by trauma and socio-economic disadvantage. Thus, we provide healing-centered, evidence-based, culturally-responsive, and clinically-informed trauma-informed care and with a carefully considered understanding of the role that power and privilege plays in the lives of everyone that we serve, including ourselves.
De-escalation, mindfulness, conflict transformation, transformative justice, disability justice, sensory awareness, affirmation, and character development are also very important to us.
We help youth and adults manage conflict, build peace, become leaders, work appreciably in teams, embrace good health, and think critically as they learn how to address everyday problems that they face as individuals and communities. Our work fosters strong self-esteem, focused problem-solving skills, sound judgment, and best practices for considerateness, team-playing, and wise citizenship.
Most of all, we want to respond and engage compassionately, to help people feel good about themselves and others, and to both model and foster peacefulness and caring in everything we do.
Click here for a description of our approach to mindfulness called community participatory mindfulness™.
We are blessed to have been awarded three SEL Innovation Awards and to be a part of the NoVo Foundation's SEL in Action family. For us, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is a healing system in which children and adults are encouraged to express and manage their feelings while becoming accountable young leaders in their communities. We celebrate the updated 2020 definition of SEL from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). We also believe deeply in an equity and justice-centered approach to SEL education and mentoring that does not only push for competency at the expense of compassionate, culturally responsive, healing, and restorative engagement
We offer extensive community counseling, peer counseling, and support groups within all of the communities that we work. Community, peer counseling, and support groups uplift people by empowering them to become active agents within their own advancement through self-reliance, self-care, community bonding, and community care.
Copyright © 2022 Baltimore Wisdom Project of Wisdom Projects, Inc. - All Rights Reserved.
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