In the aftermath of the February 14th shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 students and staff, Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) shared with CMBM the urgent need for a community-wide stress and trauma-relief response.

At the invitation of Superintendent Runcie, CMBM was invited to host a series of trauma-relief workshops, which laid the foundation for a county-wide program. In July 2018, with generous support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, CMBM and BCPS launched the Comprehensive Wellness Program for Broward County. Together we are bringing CMBM’s transformational model of self-awareness, self-care, and group support to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and schools throughout the county. In 2019, Children’s Services Council of Broward County joined this effort, helping expand the program beyond the school system into the community.

The escalation of mass shootings in the United States makes it essential to develop a comprehensive model that is easily integrated into a school system, existing resources in the community, and into the lives of the people who participate in CMBM’s training. This program – which promotes community-wide, as well as individual health and healing – will set a benchmark for comprehensive community wellness, as well as effective crisis response.

As a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I have spent the past six months trying to make sense of what is so senseless. … I can say without reservation that nothing has helped me as much as these last days.

Alicia Blonde

Teacher at MSD High School

Participants at CMBM’s Comprehensive Wellness Program training talk about how the CMBM training has provided hope and healing after suffering the loss of 17 members of their community.

James Gordon, MD presenting for teachers and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Westglades Middle School during 2 days of self-care workshops before the start of the 2018 school year.

The Program

CMBM and the 400 Broward County peer counselors, teachers, parents, and community service providers we have trained since 2018 have now brought our transformational wellness model to over 4,000 children and adults at MSD and throughout Broward County. In the first year, CMBM’s Professional and Peer Counselor Training Programs, Mind-Body Skills Groups, and Self-Care Workshops have facilitated widespread community healing. 

BCPS and community trainees are reaching thousands of children and adults by teaching and practicing mind-body medicine techniques in their classrooms, clinics, and in individual and family sessions. At MSD, CMBM’s model has been integrated into a pioneering Peer Counseling program, The Wellness Center; classrooms; after school Mind-Body Skills Groups – known as the Mind-Body Ambassador Club; the media center; and parent-teacher conferences. MSD Peer Counselors gave 85 classroom presentations to teach mind-body techniques to over 1,000 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Across the County, CMBM’s model is now being used in the public 211 Suicide Hotline, the popular Canine Assisted Therapy Dogs program, as well as local synagogues and community centers. 

This training astounded me – how quickly the strategies affected people throughout the room. In groups, I saw people moving through emotions and issues they were not even aware were holding them captive.

Allison McAuley

M.S., Broward County Public Schools

Diane Wolk-Rogers (MSD Teacher, Certified in Mind-Body Medicine), Ellen Fox-Snider (Parent of MSD student, Advanced Training graduate), and Hannah Quinn (CMBM Program Manager) led a workshop for 45 students and staff on February 14, 2019, the one-year commemoration of the shooting.

The Impact

Participants in CMBM’s Professional Mind-Body Medicine Training Programs — teachers, service providers, parents and youth leaders of Broward County —  experienced statistically significant improvements in levels of stress and depression and improvement in burnout, compassion fatigue and secondary trauma, among other gains. 

CMBM has recorded hundreds of testimonials that express an enormous sense of relief, increased hopefulness and connection that thousands of students, parents, educators and community members have experienced through this program.  MSD students and staff who were traumatized by the shooting — regularly fleeing their classrooms panicked or triggered in the following months — report feeling calmer and more in control. 

Youth leaders participating in the popular Mind-Body Medicine Peer Counseling Program who had been struggling deeply express an increased sense of well-being, agency and purpose, and are excited to be providing what they see as “life-long skills” to their friends and classmates. Across Broward County, students, families and schools that had been suffering from isolation express enormous gratitude for the opportunity to come together to connect and learn how to effectively support themselves and one another. 

The enhanced culture of self-care and mutual support can be seen in stories of increased connection and support between family members, colleagues and community members. A mother and daughter from MSD who attended the training said they felt hope and connection for first time since the shooting. School leadership and staff at MSD said it helped them be vulnerable with one another. Teachers from neighboring schools who never spoke about the tragedy were so grateful to come together to share their experiences.

CMBM has also provided Self-Care Workshops for over 600 additional Broward County students, staff, and community members. In Self-Care Workshops, children and adults have experienced core stress-relief techniques and learned how to practice them on their own. In all CMBM trainings and workshops, community members have had the opportunity to share what they are feeling in safe and supportive group settings.

Anise Kohl

Parkland

MSD Peer Counselors practicing their mind-body medicine presentations that they will roll out to other classes this spring.

Looking Forward

18 of the most committed BCPS trainees are now Certified in CMBM’s model to be able to help guide the development and implementation of future CMBM programs in Broward County, and have the potential to serve as CMBM Faculty in future crisis response programs.

CMBM will implement a Leadership Training Program to equip 20 of the most gifted and committed trainees to provide supervision to their colleagues and Peer Counselors as they continue to implement mind-body medicine programming in the schools and institutions where they work. This Leadership Team will serve as a strong and cohesive local network of support for all trainees and provide the foundation for expanding the work throughout the Broward County area in the years to come.

The Comprehensive Wellness Program – which promotes community-wide, as well as individual health and healing – will set a benchmark for comprehensive community wellness, as well as effective crisis response. We share BCPS’s vision of providing social emotional learning to every student, and are working to incorporate mind-body skills into the daily lives and practices of students, teachers, and staff.

My experience with this workshop was incredible … We were given several different types of tools or methods to use for self care and to incorporate in our classrooms. I really loved it, never experienced anything like it.

Marilyn

BCPS Teacher & Basketball Coach

Work Featured In

Click the image above to read the press release about our work issued by Broward County Public Schools on June 7, 2019.

Program Contact

For inquiries about our work with Broward County Public Schools and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, please contact Hannah Quinn, CMBM Programs Manager at [email protected].

Funding for this program generously provided by:

Our work in Broward County is generously supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, as well Broward County Public Schools and Children’s Services Council.

Organizations Represented in this Program

  • 2-1-1 Broward; BOLD Justice
  • Canine Assisted Therapy
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
  • Mobilizing MSD Alumni; Westglades Middle School
  • Coral Springs Middle School
  • Broward County Libraries
  • Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital
  • Charles Drew Family Resource Center
  • Fort Lauderdale High School
  • Healing Beyond Borders
  • Cypress Bay High School
  • Everglades Elementary
  • StreetWaves
  • SWIMS
  • Broward County Public Schools
  • United Way
  • Children’s Services Council
  • and more

View the program, “Future First: Focus on Broward’s Children–Episode on The Center for Mind-Body Medicine” produced by the Children’s Services Council featuring Associate Clinical Lead, Lynda Richtsmeier Cyr, PhD, LP