The nonprofit sector and the critical services it offers impacted communities are more important than ever. At-risk populations are becoming increasingly marginalized, incarcerated men and women are being released into communities in record numbers, and our social safety net is stretched beyond its capacity.
The organizations that serve some of the most vulnerable members of our society face increasing workloads as well as escalating anxiety and stress. The need has never been greater for supporting these organizations with tools for creating cohesiveness, engagement, and sustainability.
Center for Council's Social Justice Council Project serves and strengthens the nonprofit sector by providing staff at social justice and social service organizations with Council training in order to more effectively engage with constituents, while also helping foster more cooperative and supportive work environments.
The initiative provides a robust training and integration program, including pre-program consultation, sixteen hours of Council training for a group of 15-30 staff members, monthly follow-up workshops, individualized mentoring and consulting (including demonstrations with board members, clients and other stakeholders), as well as a culminating event to celebrate the completion of each of the cohorts and to weave participants in the interconnected network of providers integrating Council practice into the services they provide.
Program evaluation conducted by independent researchers at UCLA found that Council can be successfully implemented in a variety of different social justice agencies. The program helps participants improve their communication skills, empathy, workplace connectedness, and mindfulness, as well as reduces social anxiety when having to speak in group settings.
Participants report that the program helped them improve their listening skills and form deep bonds with their fellow co-workers. The majority of participants also indicated that they’d like to continue to participate in Council and/or incorporate some aspect of what they have learned in other areas of their lives after the project’s end. Over two dozen alumni of our Social Justice Council Programs have gone on to enter our training program to become certified Council Trainers and to join the Center for Council program team.