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CorStone set to expand Children’s Resiliency Program to One Thousand girls in Gujarat, India

Airplane tickets? Check! Travel visa? Check! Training team in place? Check! We’re on our way to India…and we need your help!

On January 27, 2011, our 5-member team will travel to Surat, India, to train fifty school teachers and community workers in how to conduct our Children’s Resiliency Program with a thousand high-poverty adolescent girls in over a dozen schools.

All girls selected for the program are from the ‘Dalit’ caste – so-called ‘untouchables’ – whose families have been defined by abject poverty and discrimination for hundreds of years. Sadly, despite being declared illegal over 60 years ago, caste prejudices are alive and well in many parts of India, particularly in the slum communities of Gujarat where the majority of girls in our program reside.

If you’ve benefited personally from an Attitudinal Healing group or have read about the ground-breaking field of Positive Psychology, then you already know about the potential of this program.  All fifty teachers will undergo five days of intensive training in group facilitation methods and techniques. All one thousand girls will participate in our six-month weekly curriculum, which contains exercises and support groups proven to build self-esteem, coping skills, and to reduce susceptibility to depression and trauma. And, all the girls learn simple tools from the exciting and growing field of Restorative Practices, which has been demonstrated to foster values of empathy and forgiveness, reduce conflict, strengthen social bonds, and promote constructive problem-solving.

There are 600,000,000 adolescent girls in developing countries, most at risk for poor health, education and economic outcomes. We focus on adolescent girls because research demonstrates that when these girls are empowered, everyone benefits. When provided with internal or external resources, they invest in themselves and their families.

Our Children’s Resiliency Program builds character strengths, values, attitudes, and skills, which can empower girls to put their dreams into action, improve their circumstances, and achieve their goals. Our program also provides girls with critical preventative support for depression, trauma and other mental health concerns in communities where typical Western approaches are not culturally appropriate, cost-effective, or feasible.

Many working programs have been designed to reduce poverty and empower a child-in-need. But we’ve seen very few that foster a girl’s internal assets using low-cost, evidence-based mental wellness and life skill approaches like ours, which allow an impoverished girl to recognize her worth while giving her the psychological, emotional, and social tools to act on her strengths and help lift herself out of poverty.

We know we’re onto something big. Our rigorous data collection tells us so, and so do our donors. Our independently evaluated 2009-2010 pilot program in New Delhi demonstrated positive results and proven impact. Now, we need your support to help us expand this program to more and more adolescent girls in need.

The total cost for 1,000 girls in India to complete the weekly year-long program is $200,000. That’s only $200 per child, or just $16.66 per month!

Institutional donors like Nike Foundation and Abbott Labs have already contributed $100,000 to the program. That means we’re halfway there! But we need your help today to raise the remaining $100,000 so that this program can continue uninterrupted.

If you’d like to help a girl in need build the skills to lift herself out of endemic poverty, for just $16.66 per child per month, please donate today!

As always, thank you for reading, and for your generous consideration and support.

Wishing you a peaceful and joyous 2011,

Steve Leventhal

Executive Director

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