On October 15, Center for Council joined our friends at Peace Over Violence to host a workshop focused on Domestic Violence Prevention at the Midnight Mission, in the Skid Row District of Los Angeles.
This workshop was offered as part of Center for Council’s Council Reentry Program (CRP), which provides resources and support to formerly incarcerated individuals who are returning home and are committed to successful reentry. CRP offers warm hand-off support services initiated during incarceration, and continues throughout the release and reintegration process with case management, ongoing council sessions for participants and their families, and advanced training in council facilitation, as well as periodic workshops and sessions on important issues facing those on the journey of reentry, including the prevention of domestic violence.
This workshop was co-created with Center for Council’s longtime partner, Peace Over Violence. Partnership between the two organizations has been built over the last decade, as C4C gas helped integrate council practice into the organizational fabric of Peace Over Violence and as POV’s work has been embraced and supported by Center for Council. The workshop included an opportunity to drop into deep sharing in council, led by C4C’s Executive Director, Jared Seide, and an in-depth presentation and discussion of the nature, origins and prevention of domestic violence, led by POV’s Director of Counseling Services and Trauma Recovery, Wendy Blanco, LCSW.
The workshop was offered at Midnight Mission, a residential facility for unhoused individuals, many of whom are formerly incarcerated. Participants in the workshop were offered an opportunity to reflect on the forms domestic violence can take and explored how harm can be experienced physically, emotionally, even financially.
One participant observed that domestic violence can show up in intimate relationships, as well as other family dynamics and, if unexamined, can negatively impact the way our various relationships develop moving forward in our lives. Information, reflection and community can offer ways to work with these life challenging experiences and help avoid future harm. As another participant observed, past mistakes don’t have to just be “baggage,” but can be transformed into experiences that can be integrated as learning and growth.
The Council Reentry Program is offered to individuals returning to the LA area and is designed to provide assistance navigating the trepidation, uncertainty and anxiety of reentry, tailoring linkages and referrals to key service providers to help make the transition from incarceration as smooth as possible. Council Circles specifically offered for formerly incarcerated individuals are held throughout the month and offer participants a nonjudgmental space to connect with a positive community. Additionally, participants in CRP are offered free council training workshops and professional development sessions, with the opportunity to engage in internship, mentoring and feedback—as well as certification as a council facilitator and trainer. For more information, click here.
Center for Council looks forward to continued partnership with Peace Over Violence, which is a sexual and domestic violence, intimate partner stalking, child abuse and youth violence prevention center headquartered in Los Angeles. POV is committed to social service, social change and social justice, offering innovative and comprehensive programs include Emergency, Intervention, Prevention, Education and Advocacy services offered in Los Angeles and the 22 cities within the West San Gabriel Valley. For more on POV's work, their website can be found here.
Center for Council’s Peace Officer Wellness, Empathy and Resilience (POWER) Training Program has received the National Certification Program Seal of Excellence from IADLEST, International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training.
IADLEST is an association of standards and training managers and leaders. Its primary focus is criminal justice standards and training. IADLEST's mission is to support the innovative development of professional standards in public safety through research, development, collaboration and sharing of information, to assist states and international partners with establishing effective and defensible standards for the employment and training of public safety personnel.
The National Certification Program Seal of Excellence is conferred after a thorough and rigorous independent review process conducted by IADLEST’s professional assessment team, which concluded that Center for Council’s POWER curriculum and program design was of exceptional quality. IADLEST National Certification marks the latest step in Center for Council’s partnership with the US Department of Justice COPS (Community Oriented Policing Solutions) Office, which began in March of 2022. This partnership seeks to promote the POWER program and its innovative curriculum at “the intersection of wellness, compassion, procedural justice and community building."
The Peace Officer Wellness, Empathy & Resilience (POWER) Training Program offers an intensive and interactive curriculum for police and correctional officers that utilizes mindfulness practices, compassion-based communication exercises, and training in wellness-related areas such as stress management and self-care. POWER encompasses a deep exploration of the science and experience of mindfulness and compassionate communication as it relates to stress, resiliency, performance and community building. With a focus on developing tools and resources that enhance self-awareness, attunement to others, compassion, wisdom and elite performance, participants learn skills that can be translated to their personal, as well as professional, life.
POWER offers an opportunity to enhance performance, improve situational awareness, increase physical and cognitive health, and develop new leadership capacity, balancing operational demands with life beyond the watch. For more information, visit centerforcouncil.org/le.
We are deeply grateful to receive new funding to expand our Council for Insight, Compassion and Resilience for incarcerated folks -- and our Council Reentry Program, now active in Los Angeles.
Our work with law enforcement officers is expanding, as well! We’ve entered an official partnership with the Department of Justice’s Community Office of Policing Services to promote programming at the intersection of officer wellness, compassionate communication, procedural justice and community building.
And check out this powerful evaluation of our recent program with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office!
More in the pipeline – stay tuned!
Center for Council's Executive Director was once again featured on multiple episodes of The Business Couch with Dr. Yishai podcast. Yishai and Jared discussed the ways in which council practice can help reduce burnout, enhance problem solving, and deepen leadership skills in high-stress environments. Their conversation contained so much depth it needed three full episodes to describe and unpack council’s powerful impact on individuals and organizations...
Center for Council's Jared Seide was featured on multiple episodes of The Business Couch with Dr. Yishai podcast. Check out this rich conversation about compassion and council and how the practice can enhance
business culture. This expansive and inspiring dialogue spans multiple episodes -- see the links, below.
Forceful article featuring our POWER Training for police officers by Camilla Patterson on MEDIUM.
The U.S. Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services featured Center for Council's POWER training program for law enforcement in a recent podcast and article.
Clerestory Magazine interviewed Center for Council Executive Director, Jared Seide, on the work of our organization. Read the in-depth and powerful piece on the importance of listening from the heart, recognizing our shared humanity, and moving toward compassion.
Read the full story here.
In addition to Center for Council’s weekly Social Connection Councils, we are now offering drop-in councils for healthcare workers. These public sessions, held on Zoom, are open to all healthcare providers including doctors, nurses, therapists and administrators.
Healthcare providers have been on the frontlines, keeping our communities healthy and safe. Long hours, double-shifts and understaffing take a heavy toll. Repeated encounters with acute suffering are leading to chronic effects of unmitigated stress for many. It's no longer possible to "wait until it's over," hoping to emerge unscathed.
Sessions are facilitated by Dr. Ann Seide, internist and Medical Director of Palliative Care at Los Robles Hospital and Certified Council Trainer. Watch this interview with Ann, speaking about the impacts of the pandemic on essential workers and the importance of council to help regulate the effects of stress on the mind and body. We hope this resource will support those who continue to care for the health and wellbeing of our communities throughout this pandemic.
Share this resource with someone you know who works in healthcare
Center for Council is pleased to present at this year’s International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Officer Wellness Symposium. The workshop entitled “Mindfulness & Resiliency Meets Community Engagement: Empathy, Awareness & Procedural Justice” explores the impacts of occupational stressors on the careers of law enforcement officers and the benefits of mindfulness and compassion-based programs on officer health and wellness.
The workshop features Center for Council’s Peace Officer Wellness Empathy and Resilience (POWER) training program, which was created to improve physical, emotional and mental health, boost team and individual performance and support community relations.
Executive Director Jared Seide will co-lead this session in partnership with Richard Goerling, retired police lieutenant, mindfulness trainer and co-designer of the POWER program. This opportunity highlights Center for Council's continued focus on providing skills of self-awareness, self-regulation and enhanced communication to law enforcement officers.
Read more about Center for Council’s work with law enforcement
Artist Nicole Buffett's new collection of paintings, entitled Council of..., was inspired by, and benefits the work of Center for Council.
In this video interview, Nicole discusses this new work with Center for Council Executive Director Jared Seide:
My name is Efrain Ortiz. I am the Program Assistant with Center for Council, but most importantly I am an example of what transpires when one engages in the practice of council.
I believe in life you don’t merely stumble across opportunities by chance. I was first introduced to council while serving a 12-year sentence inside of California State Prison-Los Angeles County, in Lancaster, California, where I worked as a clerical assistant in the
main office. I was in charge of typing up incidents and rules violation reports. I already had my share of violent experiences, but working inside the main office I got to witness how violent and disruptive prison really is, as I had a firsthand view of every violent incident which took place in our facility. Our yard was one of the most violent, high-security facilities in the state of California at the time. We lacked resources and support with only two self-help groups (Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous) which rotated every Saturday, until Center for Council came along.
It was here, in the circle created by Center for Council, where we as individuals had the opportunity to sit amongst other men and both speak and be heard with regard. We learned the four intentions of council: speak from the heart, to speak from that sacred place where often I wouldn’t share with just anyone; listen from the heart, something I continue to work on as it is often times the forgotten half of true communication, holding my judgement or my need to resolve; be spontaneous, allowing yourself to say what arises at the given moment that the talking peace is in your hand; be lean, so others have a chance to share their stories, and I found that often I learned more about myself through the stories of others.
To be able to get to this point was no easy task. I was sitting in a high security, level four prison with men who have committed some horrible crimes. But in the council circle, I was no longer sitting with those boys from back then. Through practice, we began to trust each other as the stories got deeper, the layers we began to peel off revealed the hurt we suppressed for many years. We began to connect to one another through our shared stories, as we connected the dots to our past, understanding those traumatic experiences and how they led us to a tumultuous life. The amazing thing was, we started to look at one another as human instead of by race, gang affiliation or moniker.
Organizations across the country, from the non-profit sphere to the corporate sector, are standing at the gates of a tremendous opportunity to create new processes and policies that intentionally set a tone of inclusion and that truly value all voices and perspectives of their staff.
Fundamental organizational culture change cannot be engineered through top-down edicts, or generalized policies, nor designed and imposed on staff by outside experts. Diversity Training and Implicit Bias Workshops are not effective when offered as a multiple choice, hour-long seminar to be tossed at individuals in order to check a box. Individual employees must be given the opportunity to engage topics and conversations deeply, and at their own pace, in ways that are relevant to their lived experience, cultural orientation, and personal communication styles. They must be invited into meaningful conversation, in which they feel their voices are respected and honesty is valued. This is especially true when challenging topics such as bias, racism, power differentials and conflict are involved.
Center for Council has worked with a wide variety of teams to strengthen internal culture, helping to develop concrete skills and practices to foster greater collaboration, build community, navigate power, privilege and diversity issues and effectively manage conflict. The council practice provides the container for sincere reflection as well as the space to listen to the lived experiences of others. The practice offers tools for individuals to have honest conversations that lay the foundation for genuine understanding. Council values every voice, reinforces respectful communication, builds positive relationships between participants, and neutralizes hierarchical dynamics and conflict. It is a resource for increasing compassion and engagement and recognizing our essential human interconnectedness. Center for Council's programs deliver customized, on-the-ground, community-building solutions; its evidence-based programs have been shown to increase mindfulness and engagement, enable participants to connect with others in new ways, create safe and supportive environments for self-expression without fear of judgment, and help with the development of effective communication skills and resilience.
The importance of meaningful connection and mutual understanding is ever present, and the current moment in society underscores the need to listen beneath opinions and rhetoric to people’s lived experiences involving identity, inclusion, and bias. This is exactly what the council practice offers: the opportunity to listen to personal experiences, and share one's own story. Authentic action that affects change must come from a foundation of honest self-reflection, on an individual and on a group level. In order to look forward with clarity and integrity, we must look inward to discover new possibilities.
Learn more about Center for Council’s professional staff trainings here.
We are grateful for Hazel Kight Witham's expansive interview with Executive Director Jared Seide on the work of council in the world and Center for Council's programs.
Read the full article, "The Power Of Story: Jared Seide On How Listening To Each Other Can Restore Our Humanity," here.
Are you or someone you know classified as an essential worker during the COVID-19 pandemic? Essential workers have been on the frontlines working selflessly and tirelessly in order to keep our communities healthy and safe.
Center for Council would like to express our gratitude to those who are working for us by offering a free Social Connection Council to all our essential workers. Our virtual Councils encourage slowing down and bearing witness to our minds and bodies during this stressful time. Together we will listen to the sensations in the body, learn how to settle the nervous system, and ease feelings of fear and anxiety while fostering a real connection with others like you who find themselves working during this vulnerable time.
These Councils for Essential Workers will be facilitated by Dr. Ann Seide, internist and Medical Director of Palliative Care at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks and Council Trainer.
Together we can openly grieve, find the support to heal and the ability to flourish through these challenging times.
Whether you work as a healthcare provider, as an administrator in public health, a law enforcement officer, at a 911 call center or hospital, or are working in a grocery, pharmacy, convenience store, or restaurant, this council is for you. You can read more and watch a video interview with Dr. Seide here.
If you know of others who are classified as an essential worker and may be interested in this offering, please feel free to share this information with them.
We are working to offer more Councils for essential workers in the coming weeks and want to know what times and days work best for your schedule. Please fill out this short Google Form if you are working on the frontlines of this pandemic in any way and would be interested in participating in these Councils in the future.
In this extraordinary and challenging time, there is a great need for space and opportunity to breathe, to connect with one another, and to cultivate a deep sense of community. We are working to create those spaces for everyone.
Center for Council is offering pay-what-you-wish virtual Councils for all who are looking for a place to connect with community and check-in from the heart.
In this extraordinary and challenging time, we are finding that there is a great need for space and opportunity to breathe, to connect with one another, and to cultivate a deep sense of community--even during physical isolation. Social Connection Councils are held on Zoom and integrate the guidelines and intentions of Council practice in an intimate virtual setting (with a maximum of 16 participants). Participants speak authentically and give voice to what is alive for them in that moment, expressing what is present and true and listening to others as they share the same. In fostering both spontaneity and honesty, participants have the opportunity to slow down, to speak authentically, and to actively listen to stories and experiences that remind us of our shared human journey.
Contemplative practices like Council are needed now more than ever. As we individually process the circumstances of our external world and sit with the anxiety, fear, and uncertainty of the current moment, having a communal practice that encourages us to slow down and bear witness helps to settle the nervous system, ease feelings of anxiety and overwhelm, and foster real connection with others.
In times that challenge us individually and communally, it’s important to recognize our collective resilience and our capacity for deep compassion for one another. Social Connection Councils provide a forum in which we can envision and emerge into the next chapter, helping each other along as we heal, grieve, support and flourish through these challenging times.
To register for an upcoming Social Connection Council, sign up here: Social Connection Councils.
Inmate Council Program receives the American Correctional Association's 2019 "Innovation in Corrections Award"
The American Correctional Association has awarded Center for Council's Inmate Council Program its 2019 "Innovation in Corrections Award." This prestigious award honors the powerful work C4C has done building programming for the state's incarcerated population, now reaching 22 of the state's 35 prison facilities. The Inmate Council Program is a six-month intervention where participating inmates are trained to facilitate Council sessions for their peers, empowering them to become positive agents of change, on the prison yard, and in their lives. The program contributes to a shift of culture within prisons and equips participants with tools for successful reentry and reintegration into their communities upon release
The award was presented on January 14, 2020, in a ceremony at the end of ACA's Convention. The award was presented to Center for Council "For its outstanding efforts in reducing recidivism and promoting future success for offenders" and was accepted by Sam Escobar and Jared Seide.
ACA President, Gary Rohr, and Chair of the Awards Committee, Vicki Myers, presented Sam and Jared with the award. The American Correctional Association is the oldest association developed specifically for practitioners in the correctional profession. The ACA provides a professional organization for individuals and groups committed to improving the justice system. The annual "Innovations is Correction Award" is intended to broaden the knowledge and familiarity amongst the membership of the ACA of successful rehabilitative program interventions and to recognize an outstanding correctional program.
A wide-ranging new study, led by Principle Investigator Dr. Stacy Calhoun, of the University of California Los Angeles, has found that Center for Council's statewide Inmate Council Program demonstrated "significantly positive outcomes" for the subjects involved in the study.
This study involved 399 inmates participating in ICP groups throughout eight different facilities, and examined quantitative measures, as well as qualitative assessments of program impact. The study looked at factors including changes in physical and verbal aggression, anger, hostility and PTSD symptomatology and found notable decreases in those areas, among inmates who participated in the program. The study also found statistically significant increases in measures of resilience, empathy, mindfulness and social connectedness. Dr. Calhoun's report states that "findings from this evaluation suggest that this program is having a positive impact on participants who complete it, with many indicating a high level of satisfaction with the program."
The study utilized a range of academically validated measurement scales, including the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), Brief Resilience Scale (BRCS), Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire-Short Form (FFMQ-SF), Short-Form Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BPAQ-SF), Social Connectedness Scale-Revised (SCS-R), Mental Health Inventory-5 (MHI-5), The Active-Empathic Listening Scale (AELS), and the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5). In addition to statistical analysis, the research team also conducted interviews and focus groups with participants, as well as program staff.
The research design has been developed over several years of analysis of the ICP, which has been offered to inmates in CDCR facilities since 2013. In 2018, Center for Council was asked by the Office of the Inspector General to present its approach to research, which focuses on shifting criminogenic factors like empathy, impulse control and anti-sociality, to the California Rehabilitation Oversight Board. Methodology developed for this research has been referenced in the state's CARE Grant program, enacted into California penal code in July of 2019.
The results of the study will be published in an upcoming article. The evaluation report can be viewed here.
Center for Council Awarded State Grant Funding for New Prison Programming with Focus on Victim Impact
Sam & Jared with Warden Tammy Foss and the leadership team of the ICP at Salinas Valley State Prison
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has awarded Center for Council with new funding as part of the sixth round of its Innovative Programming Grant. This round of funding was intended to support rehabilitative programs with victim-focused restorative justice components that emphasize "offender accountability" and develop insight into the perspective of those harmed by criminal acts. Council is a powerful practice for developing empathy and taking the perspective of "the other," through deep listening and authentic presence. Exploring the perspective of those harmed is an important part of the work of the Inmate Council Program and we are eager to develop this aspect of our program curriculum with this new opportunity.
There was enormous interest expressed in this funding opportunity and CDCR received grant proposals amounting to over six million dollars in proposed programming. Only 17% of the proposals submitted were successful. We are grateful for this opportunity to provide our programming at two facilities, the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility, in Corcoran, and Ironwood State Prison. Both programs will operate for two years, and will set the stage for self-sustaining programming, facilitated by inmates who will eventually co-lead the program and who, we hope, will join our efforts to build and support programming for impacted communities upon their release.
Center for Council's Peace Officer Wellness, Empathy & Resilience (POWER) Training for law enforcement officers has now been recognized and certified as an effective and valuable training protocol by California's Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). In granting this statewide certification, POST will provide officers who participate with credit toward their annual requirement of training hours in the areas of "De-Escalation and Interpersonal Communication." Participation in POWER will also satisfy the annual "perishable skills requirement" in the area of interpersonal communication.
This recognition by POST is a powerful affirmation of the importance and efficacy of innovative training programs like POWER and will help establish this program as a critical tool supporting officer wellness, self-regulation and performance.
Center for Council launched the POWER Training course with six cohorts of LAPD officers (150 officers), initially, funded by resources provided through the state's Innovations Grant Program. Statewide POST certification will enable C4C to adapt and customize program delivery to meet the needs of a variety of other interested law enforcement and corrections agencies and to further expand this training program throughout California and beyond.
Center for Council confirmed the certification of twelve new Council Trainers in a ceremony at Temescal Gateway Park's Stewart Hall on December 14, 2019.
Center for Council's Mentor Circle has been shepherding and supporting each of the candidates through a rigorous three-year process of trainings, assignments, internships, practice, observation, co-leading and self-reflection.
Uniquely, this cohort all began their path to certification as Council Trainers through their participation in the Trailer Leadership Initiative, funded by our friends at the Angell Foundation. All twelve have earned this recognition by demonstrating mastery of the core capacities required of a Council Trainer.
The complete list of newly certified Council Trainers is as follows:
Ricardo (Ricky) Miranda
Goreti da Silva
Sofia Rose Smith
Center for Council is thrilled to welcome all twelve dynamic practitioners of this work into the ranks of Certified Council Trainers, working to foster deeper connection, greater presence and more compassion in our world.
Through the generosity of local philanthropists, a team of Center for Council trainers travelled to Jacksonville, Florida, to engage with local community based organizations, and with law enforcement, in the hope that the work of Council would be a nourishing and relevant practice for this diverse and challenged community.
Our team sat in Council with the staff of several dynamic and energized CBOs, including JASMYN (Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network), NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), JPEF (Jacksonville Public Education Fund), JCRP (Jacksonville Community Remembrance Project), and K-9s for Warriors. In addition to this diverse group of organizations, our team was invited to meet with Sheriff Mike Williams, and the staff of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, about our Peace Officer Wellness, Empathy & Resilience Training program.
The response to this initial engagement was extremely positive and inspiring and has led to design of a more in-depth training program that will unfold throughout the Jacksonville area over the Spring and Summer of 2020. We are thrilled to be collaborating with this dynamic community, engaging deeply with staff of both the social justice and law enforcement community. Our programs are tailored to meet participants where they are, providing a nourishing container for staff to reaffirm their commitment to their mission, strengthen their ability to sustain and flourish in highly stressful environments, explore ways to collaborate internally and with allies, and develop useful skills to serve their clients and stakeholders. Ultimately, the intention is to explore weaving unlikely allies in the model of C4C's "Cops & Communities: Circling Up." We are very excited to partner with the Jacksonville community in this powerful and critical work.
As part of a new initiative funded by the State of California, Center for Council will partner with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), to train LAPD officers in Council practice and mindfulness. The intensive program, Peace Officer Wellness, Empathy and Resilience (POWER) Training, is the first training of its kind to be certified state-wide for police and correctional officers through POST.
Center for Council’s POWER Training features a robust science-based curriculum, supporting the understanding and integration of mindfulness training and compassion-based dialogic practices. This innovative six-month course teaches participants to cultivate an enhanced awareness of themselves and their surroundings, and an ability to acknowledge and articulate thoughts and emotions without immediately reacting to them. These principles aid in decreasing use of force and officer-involved shootings by providing a path to de-escalation that is discerning and compassion-based, rather than reactive.
Through learning the practice of Council and engaging in selected mindfulness activities, participating officers will receive training in wellness-related areas such as stress management and self-care. The course will explore issues of implicit bias, use of force and de-escalation, as well as cultural diversity, and community policing. Officers will meet weekly in “Council Huddles” to explore together the ways the curriculum and weekly mindfulness practices are impacting them.
Center for Council is thrilled to continue to expand our work with law enforcement agencies. The organization is deeply committed to addressing systems where compassion-based practices can positively shift the culture and build a more connected and resilient community for all.
We are very pleased to announce the launch of our newest program: the Organization Wellness Project! Formerly called the Social Justice Council Project, the Organization Wellness Project is designed to serve and strengthen those working on the front lines of social justice in Southern California. This year’s project will engage the staff of 10 dynamic organizations from across the region, representing powerful and diverse work within the social justice sphere.
Our new cohort includes these participating organizations:
Esperanza Community Housing Cooperation
Los Angeles Black Workers Center
Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance
National Council of Jewish Women
Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice
Community in Schools of Los Angeles
We are thrilled to be partnering with these 10 wonderful non-profits to help integrate the practices of attentive listening and heartfelt dialogue into their critical and much-needed work. The Council practice has been proven to enhance communication and strengthen connection between individuals, supporting more resilient, creative, and collaborative work environments.
Though the evolution of the Organizational Wellness Project, Center for Council continues to support mindful communication and authentic, non-judgmental dialogue, helping build internal cohesion within staff, as well as more dynamic engagement with the communities that organizations serve. Non-profits selected for this cohort will participate in a series of on-site community-building experiences, coupled with immersive Council training for a select internal team. Center for Council will also provide mentoring and hands-on support as the site team integrates the practice of Council into each organization’s culture and operations.
“We’re so excited to be partnering with a diverse group of remarkable organization in this round of the program,” says Executive Director, Jared Seide. “We’ve learned so much about really listening to our participating sites’ needs, and customizing our work to their unique culture, ethos and approach. The practice of Council truly strengthens Center for Council as an organization--and it’s inspiring to see how nourishing the practice can be for our partners!”
The Organization Wellness Project is made possible through the generous support of The Angell Foundation. Click here to learn more about the Organizational Wellness Project.