Tools for Peace General FAQs
- Who does Tools for Peace serve?
- What programs do you offer youth?
- What programs do you offer undergraduate and graduate students?
- What programs do you offer adults?
- What is the event and workshop schedule for this year?
- How do you work with schools and organizations?
- I am with a school and want to learn more about how to become a partner. Who do I contact?
- How can I support Tools for Peace?
- Do you have any testimonials?
- Do you have any links to videos about Tools for Peace?
- Where can I find you on social media?
Stop, Breathe & Think FAQs
- What is the effectiveness of the SB&T curriculum?
- What are your curriculum materials?
- What are the benefits of Stop, Breathe & Think?
Stop, Breathe & Think App FAQs
- What is the Stop, Breathe & Think App?
- Is the app for teens or adults?
- How can I download the SB&T App?
- How much does the SB&T App cost?
- Is there an SB&T App for Android or other non Apple smartphones?
- Can I access the SB&T App online?
Tools for Peace General Answers
Who does Tools for Peace serve?
Programs for Youth: Ages 11 – 16
Programs for Adults: We work with undergraduate and graduate students, in addition to the general public, including educators and healing professionals.
What programs do you offer youth?
In-School and After School Programs
Our Stop, Breathe & Think curriculum mobilizes teachers and students to promote positive action within their own learning communities. It was developed for educators and organizations to integrate into existing classrooms, in after school programs, or summer programs. Stop, Breathe & Think enhances existing framework-based instruction for Visual Arts, Health, Service Learning, History and Social Science, and English Language Arts. Our most common applications are integration with advisory classes, character- and leadership-building classes in school and enrichment elective after school classes.
Students develop skills to effectively become more productive by increasing their positive sense of self, connection to others, and ability to act compassionately
Every year, we invite all participating students to attend our Annual Teen Summer Camp followed by a Teen Reunion Camp in the spring at our retreat facility in the Tehachapi Mountains outside of Los Angeles. We host approximately 50 campers annually, for one week of Stop, Breathe & Think curriculum enhanced with yoga, horseback riding, swimming, hiking, art, music, and sports classes and other camp activities.
The immersive camp experience provides teens space for reflection, growth and personal transformation. The camp is a unique opportunity for teens from different areas and backgrounds to meet and build deep friendships.
What programs do you offer undergraduate and graduate students?
The Stop, Breathe & Think Curriculum can support a compassionate, kind, and mindful campus culture, providing students a resource to deal with the academic, social, and emotional stress of college life. We work closely with administrators, faculty, and student organizations to create a training, implementation, and support strategy specifically designed for your community.
Stop, Breathe & Think Zone
SB&T Zones are designated safe and quiet places on campus where students can go to get a little peace of mind and practice mindfulness and meditation with the use of the SB&T iOS App.
On Campus Workshops
Tools for Peace offers trainings, workshops, and lecture series depending on location and scheduling. SB&T workshops can be used to compliment Resident Assistant, Student Leadership and similar training programs, and offered as campus events open to all students for self care.
Day long on campus sessions or weekend long off campus retreats give students time to connect to the SB&T Curriculum on a deeper and more personal level. SB&T intensive retreats offer students an opportunity to step out of campus life to gain perspective, and develop personal and group strategies to deal with stress and burnout through self care.
Compassion, Mandala, and Tibetan Culture
Using the original Tools for Peace Personal Mandala Workbook we are able to explore the use of mandalas as a support for cultivating kindness and compassion in traditional Tibetan culture. Through our partnership with Ari Bhod (the American Foundation for Tibetan Cultural Preservation), this workshop grants access to a collection of rare traditional three dimensional, painted, and sand mandalas housed in their retreat facility in Tehachapi, CA.
Tools for Peace offers a variety of opportunities for college students to get involved and put their compassion in action by volunteering, interning and employment in the TFP office, in the classroom, or at the TFP Annual Summer Teen Camp.
What programs do you offer adults?
Our adult programming is intended for both personal and professional development. These programs use the Stop, Breathe & Think curriculum and are ideal for individuals interested in mindfulness and meditation who want to develop and apply kindness and compassion in their daily lives.
The SB&T Online Course is an introductory course for those looking to bring mindfulness and meditation into their daily lives and is suitable for both beginners and those familiar with mindfulness and meditation. If you are looking to partner with Tools for Peace the online course will familiarize you with the SB&T curriculum.
Weekend Workshops and Intensive Retreats
For individuals who have completed our Online Course, or have equivalent experience with mindfulness and meditation, a Weekend Workshop, or Intensive Retreat is a great way to deepen your practice and continue to engage with the SB&T curriculum. These workshops combine training in mindfulness and meditation with dynamic group discussion and activities, journaling, and artistic expression.
Please check out our Calendar of Events to see what we are offering this year.
The Tools for Peace team will work with each school or organization to identify your needs, and create a training, implementation, and support strategy specifically designed for your community.
For schools, the Stop, Breathe & Think curriculum may be implemented as an interdisciplinary program that compliments your existing syllabus, as a stand alone class, or extracurricular activity. In some cases, Tools for Peace facilitators are available to implement Stop, Breathe & Think independently, but our preferred model is to train your teachers and administration to create and implement a program that is best suited for your students and school community. By training teachers within a school, the program has greater growth capacity within a school, encouraging student mentorship and continuous cultivation of the curriculum and resulting skills.
For all partners, the Tools for Peace team provides: support to staff and/or teachers through on-line training, group trainings; as well as phone, email and website resource support. Ultimately, we want to find the best way for SB&T to work at your school and can tailor our model to fit your needs.
Contact our program manager, Loren Witcher at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 626.564.0700.
Tools for Peace is able to provide our programming for free to students and schools that would not otherwise be able to afford it. We welcome your support, and are always in need of in-kind and financial donations. Please visit the SUPPORT page of our website: http://toolsforpeace.org/support-tfp/
“From what I have observed from the students, their sincerity and enthusiasm for the concepts and tools they were taught during the summer gave them positive and valuable skills to navigate the emotional ups and downs of being teenagers. I believe it gave them more confidence in being who they want to be.”
—Paula Egan, Co-Site Director, Marina Middle School, Aim High Summer Programs, San Francisco, CA
“As a parent who is dedicated to improving educational opportunities for our youth, I support Tools for Peace because it teaches students how to access and sustain healthy, peaceful and present minds which is the foundation of academic, social and emotional success. Witnessing students open up to this kind of centered calm has been remarkable.”
—Anne Lind, Parent and Board Advisor to Tools for Peace, San Anselmo, CA
“Tools for Peace was absolutely transformational for the students in my class. By the end of the semester, they were 180º from where they had started, and I truly believe that it was the first time many of those students had ever felt like they could be ‘good’ and ‘successful.’”
—Judith Quinones, James Monroe High School, North Hills, CA
“I could visibly see the difference in class between students who participated and those who did not. They carried it in their countenance and posture. Those who had participated were calmer, better able to listen and focus. They seemed to have greater resilience to cope with all of the demands and pressures of the graduate course in this extremely disadvantaged region.” —Kris Clarke, Fresno State University, CA
“Our facilitator introduced new terminology and lesson plans to the students to get them talking and thinking about the way they see themselves and the world around them. The Tools For Peace participants have become thoughtful citizens of our school community and lead by the examples that they learn twice per week after school at L.A.C.E.R.
—Linda Horner, Executive Director and Jeremy Lange, Program Director, L.A.C.E.R. Afterschool Programs, Hollywood, CA
“The value Tools for Peace has added to Metro can be seen in several forms. Some students participate only as 9th graders and the impact Tools for Peace has had on some of our students during that initial year of high school, has helped them become more aware of themselves in order to form a more successful academic identity after 9th grade. Many students participate for multiple years and feel very invested in the program. Participation of Metro students in the after school program and at Tools for Peace camp in the summer has grown each year as returning students spread the word around campus. It is hard to imagine Metro without Tools for Peace. As our school continues to grow, I see Tools for Peace as vital partner toward building a reflective and mindful school culture.” —Nick Kapplehof, Principal, Metro Arts & Tech High School, San Francisco, CA
“Here at Aim High, we are always looking for quality partners. Two year ago, we made the decision to formally partner with TFP. They have been superb addition to our program, working collaboratively to strengthen our curriculum and deepen quality as well as help us achieve our program outcomes. We have integrated TFP into our Issues and Choices curriculum and afternoon activities program with great success. For our students, many of whom come from difficult and chaotic backgrounds, TFP has been transforming; TFP has helped our students feel safe and nurtured and more mindful. The skills taught are real and meaningful, project-based, and an ideal fit for Aim High. Our students have also greatly benefited from the camp experience. I encourage other organizations to explore partnering with TFP.” —Alec Lee, Executive Director, Aim High Summer Program, San Francisco, CA
“I had an incredible weekend. The staff/volunteers were very warm and kind. The food was amazing. The property is beautiful. I found the practices I learned to be thought provoking and I look forward to finding ways to implement them in my life.”
—Regina, MSW Student at CSU Fresno, Tehachapi, CA
“I had a great experience. This is a great way to expand peace and kindness to the world. The volunteers and teacher were very kind, caring and generous. I plan to attend the session again and spread the word to others who will benefit greatly from this training.”
—Anonymous, Tehachapi, CA
Sure! Here are a few:
About Tools for Peace: http://vimeo.com/67918096
About the SB&T app: http://vimeo.com/77258913
Stop, Breathe & Think Answers
What is the effectiveness of the SB&T curriculum?
Scientific evidence has shown that social and emotional intelligence can be strengthened by using the modalities employed in the SB&T curriculum:
Mindfulness and meditation have been proven to be effective in developing kindness and compassion.
Meditations that center around compassion lead to changes in area of the the brain associated with empathy and result in an increase in altruistic behavior. (Source: Compassion Can Be Cultivated in the Brain, Study Finds 2013)
Compassion meditation has been shown to increase self-compassion, compassion for others, and and the ability of an individual to receive compassion. (Source: Enhancing Compassion: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Compassion Cultivation Training Program 2012)
Working with the art form of mandala has been shown to help reduce anxiety and increase self awareness.
Coloring mandalas helps to decrease feelings of anxiety. This study compared coloring on blank paper, coloring in a plaid design, and coloring mandalas – coloring mandalas was the most effective in reducing stress. (Source: Can Coloring Mandalas Reduce Anxiety? A Replication Study 2012)
Group discussion and journaling help to develop self awareness, and strengthen the skill of self regulation, in addition to the positive attitudes that support self-regulation.
Keeping a gratitude journal helps students become more optimistic about and satisfied with their school experiences. Gratitude has lasting and positive impacts for students that continue to be present years later, such as higher life satisfaction, increased hope and a stronger sense of meaning in life. (Source: Growing Up Grateful Gives Teens Multiple Health Benefits, New Research Shows 2012, Being Grateful is Beyond Good Manners: Gratitude and Motivation to Contribute to Society Among Early Adolescents 2010, Counting Blessings in Early Adolescents: An Experimental Study of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being 2006)
Compassion in Action – Service learning projects help to develop social awareness and concern for others.
Even at as young as two or three years old, children show that the act of giving leads to increased positive emotions. (Source: Giving Leads to Happiness in Young Children 2012)
Including service learning within curriculum leads to an increase in college students’ knowledge of diversity, political awareness, community self-efficacy and civic engagement. (The Influence of Service Learning on Students’ Personal and Social Development 2006)
What are your curriculum materials?
The Stop, Breathe & Think curriculum materials include:
Online training modules
Printed workbook for participants
SB&T app for iOS and Android
What are the benefits of Stop, Breathe & Think?
Our curriculum guides participant through a series of lessons and tools to strengthen skills that support academic and professional achievement and aid in life generally. By practicing a variety of mindfulness activities and through group discussion and personal reflection, participants are able to:
Manage emotions and stress in a healthier way.
Develop self-motivation and attentional focus, enabling participants to improve professionally, academically and socially.
Broaden their perspective so that they can relate to others more productively.
Studies have also demonstrated the many positive effects of Kindness and Compassion:
Increased Happiness and Good Feelings – Intentionally cultivating kindness and compassion strengthens circuits in the brain for pleasure and reward and leads to a lasting increases in happiness. Acts of compassion and kindness (like volunteering for charity) cause elevated levels of dopamine in the brain which creates a natural high, often referred to as ‘Helper’s High’. (Source: David R. Hamilton, PHD, Functional Neural Pasticity and Associated Changes in Positive Affect After Compassion Training 2013 & Practicing Compassion Increases Happiness and Self-Esteem 2011)
Strengthened Immune System and a Healthier Heart – the emotional warmth associated with kindness produces the hormone oxytocin in the brain and throughout the body. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which expands the blood vessels and reduces blood pressure. Being kind and compassionate lowers our heart rate, and makes us more resilient to stress by lowering our stress hormones. (Source: David R. Hamilton, PHD, Effect of compassion meditation on neuroendocrine, innate immune and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress 2008)
Reduced inflammation in the body. Oxytocin reduces levels of free radicals and inflammation in the cardiovascular system and slows ageing. (Source: David R. Hamilton, PHD & Oxytocin Attenuates NADPH-Dependent Superoxide Activity and IL-6 Secretion in Macrophages and Vascular Cells 2008 & Effect of compassion meditation on neuroendocrine, innate immune and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress 2008)
Better relationships – kindness and compassion foster a strong sense of connection, and can help us be less vulnerable to loneliness which has been shown to cause stress and harm the immune system. When we feel compassion, regions of our brain linked to empathy, caregiving, and feelings of pleasure light up. The result is often the feeling wanting to approach and care for other people, and the ability to understand the perspective of another person, which are linked to long term relationship satisfaction, as well as forgiveness. (Source: David R. Hamilton, PHD) (Davis & Oathout, 1987)(McCullough, 1997, 2001).
Kindness is contagious – when we’re kind, we inspire others to be kind. Studies show that it actually creates a ripple effect that spreads outwards to our friends’ friends’ friends – to 3-degrees of separation. (Source: David R. Hamilton, PHD)
Employees who receive more compassion in their workplace see themselves, their co-workers, and their organization in a more positive light, report feeling more positive emotions like joy and contentment, and are more committed to their jobs. (Source: Compassion Across Cubicles 2006)
Loving-kindness meditations increase feelings of social connectedness and positivity towards new people. (Loving-Kindness Meditation Increases Social Connectedness 2008)
Additional Benefits of Mindfulness
A 2011 study conducted by Nadine Burke, former Medical Director of the CPMC Bayview Child Health Center, showed that anxiety and stress negatively impact a student’s school performance, due to their diminished capacity to concentrate, be still, follow directions and calm down after a disappointment or provocation. Mindfulness has proven to be an effective tool to help students manage stress and anxiety, improve focus, harness attention and manage emotions. (Meiklejohn, J., et al. (2012). Integrating Mindfulness Training into K-12 Education. Mindfulness.)
A 2013 study completed in the UK with secondary school students showed that an in class mindfulness program had the effect of reducing the likelihood of depression related symptoms in young adults at 13-20. (Mindfulness at school Reduces (Likelihood Of) Depression-Related Symptoms in Adolescents 2013)
Stop, Breathe & Think App Answers
What is the Stop, Breathe & Think App?
SB&T is a simple mindfulness and compassion-building tool. With the SB&T app, you can learn to slow down, manage your stress and emotions, and approach everyday situations from the perspective of kindness and compassion. The app may be accessed via the web, smartphone, and in mindfulness zones on our partner-school campuses. It is easily integrated into classrooms and extracurricular activities.
Is the app for teens or adults?
Both. When you register to use the app, you can select your age group to access age-appropriate versions of the meditations.
How can I download the SB&T App?
How much does the SB&T App cost?
Nothing – the SB&T App is completely FREE!
Is there an SB&T App for Android or other non Apple smartphones?
Yes! We now have Stop, Breathe & Think available in Google Play for Android users.