Here at EarthRise we have the pleasure of hosting a variety of inspiring groups that either provide transformational programs for those on a personal development path or organizations that come to retreat from their everyday experiences with an intention to deepen connections, gain new insights, and rejuvenate their souls.
For more than a decade, the Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education (CWAE), a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, has been coming to EarthRise to do both. It’s an opportunity for their teachers, administrators, and other clients that have been trained in their meditation program called “Quiet Time” (using Transcendental Meditation) to deepen their practice and release accumulated sleep deprivation and stress.
At their latest retreat, I was able to connect with CWAE Executive Director, Laurent Valosek, to share more about their work.
RUSTY: What exactly does CWAE do?
LAURENT: CWAE was founded in 2007 to address the effects of stress that kids, teachers and administrators face in public education today, including school violence, academic underdevelopment, social injustice, and an epidemic of depression. To tackle these issues, we develop high-impact, meditation-based stress management and cognitive development programs for schools, as well as corporations, veterans and community organizations. Our flagship program, Quiet Time, is a twice daily, 15-minute meditation practice for students, teachers, and administrators to reduce stress and promote life balance.
RUSTY: Why drives your organization to do this challenging work?
LAURENT: We see stress and the lack of full human development as key factors limiting the success of both youth and adults, in schools and corporate environments. Academically, the United States is far behind other developed countries in performance. More than 75% of 12th graders are not proficient in math. School violence is pervasive, particularly in inner-city schools. Students are becoming increasingly distressed — more than 10 million are on antidepressants — and teacher burnout is chronic and widespread.
RUSTY: What is the impact of your Quiet Time program?
LAURENT: The impact is remarkable! Since its launch in 2007, we’ve found a 50-80% reduction in violence and suspensions in some of the most challenging inner city schools in the country as well as significant improvements in school-wide GPA and test scores, attendance, self-esteem, and resiliency, with similar reductions in teacher burnout.
RUSTY: Why have you chosen EarthRise for your retreats?
LAURENT: The quiet, beautiful, and nurturing environment at EarthRise allows us to provide a more concentrated, immersive experience for our clients. We can achieve results in a few days that would take months under ordinary conditions. The opportunity to be at EarthRise has fueled our growth over the last 10 years, and helped us make breakthroughs in education and social engineering that have been acclaimed around the world.
Watch the following 3-minute NBC News report video to learn more about this incredible program: