In October 2017, the Tubbs Fire consumed 5,600 structures and took 22 lives, devastating Sonoma County, California. In 2018, a local CMBM Faculty member, Adair Look, MD, brought together community organizations and invited CMBM to come and work with them to explore how the county could heal and rebuild with greater resiliency. After a successful CMBM workshop for 150 people in July 2018 local organizations formed, and invited CMBM to help lead, the Sonoma Community Resilience Collaborative. The vision of The Collaborative is to develop local capacity for long-term resilience; empower lay people with comprehensive tools and training; build the social connections and shared vision that are the number one predictor of community resilience; and prevent the progression of stress and trauma effects into more serious behavioral and physical impacts.
This life-changing work gives me hope for our troubled world. Leading groups has been mind-blowing to see folks be transformed from depression and trauma to resilience!
The Sonoma Community Resilience Collaborative is training 300 community members in CMBM’s comprehensive model of self-care and group support, enabling them to serve tens of thousands of children and adults across the county through Mind-Body Skills Groups, workshops and individual or classroom work. Trainees include a diverse group of community leaders, clinicians, non-profit workers, social workers, firefighters and first responders, educators, and faith leaders.
Over 200 individuals are already working with thousands of people in Sonoma County, many of whom lost their homes or businesses in the 2017 wildfires. Building on the values of equity and inclusion, the program strives to engage people who may not always be considered or consulted in recovery efforts. Half of the participants from the second cohort serve Sonoma’s LatinX community, many of whom are running Mind-Body Skills Groups in Spanish.
From county jails, to schools, to health centers, CMBM’s model is being implemented widely across Sonoma County. Mind-Body Skills Groups are being conducted at California HOPE; Child Parent Institute; Catholic Charities; Boys & Girls Club; Community Action Partnership; Council on Aging; Daily Acts; Hanna Institute; Medtronic Foundation; Positive Images; Santa Rosa Community Health; Sonoma State University; Valley of the Moon Children’s Center; Windsor High School; and more.
We’ve experienced so much trauma, especially the Latino community that has the dual trauma of immigration and the DACA students and then dealing with the firestorm and losing their jobs, their homes…This is part of the solution that I see needs to happen here in Sonoma County.
Former ED, Latino Service Providers
The Sonoma County service providers who participated in CMBM’s training have, according to standardized scientific scales, experienced decreased stress, anxiety and depression. They are showing more hope for their futures, and feel more self-assurance, happiness, and serenity, with less fear and sadness. Standardized measures are now also being used to evaluate the impact on the community members who participate in Mind-Body Skills Groups led by our trainees.
The success of the Sonoma Community Resilience Collaborative has been recognized in several local publications, and received a reward from The Center for Wellbeing, specifically for our work with the Latinx community.
I facilitate a mindfulness program in the local jail & plan to integrate this information in the curriculum, and eventually use this information exclusively in the class.
MA, Friends Outside Sonoma County
The third cohort of the Sonoma Community Resilience Training will take place in 2020. Simultaneously, 20 of the strongest participants from the first two cohorts will participate in a Leadership Training to provide ongoing supervision and mentorship to participants once they begin running groups and workshops.
The Sonoma County program is helping lay the foundation for long-term healing and resiliency building work across California. Three individuals from Shasta County, CA which was devastated by the Carr Fire in 2018, participated in the Sonoma training and were motivated to bring a similar program to their own community. They organized and secure funds for the Northern California Resilience Training, beginning in October 2019, which includes participants from Shasta, Butte, Siskiyou, Trinity and Tehama Counties. Several guests from Napa County, CA attended the second cohort in Sonoma and are also making steps towards bringing CMBM’s program to their county.
I have found this training to be such a rich & meaningful experience. It has exceeded my expectations and been such a deepening and enriching of my tool kit for my personal and professional growth.
CSW, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital
The Sonoma Community Resilience Collaborative is led by a steering group that continues to expand its membership to ensure engagement with all communities in need. Santa Rosa Community Health is providing leadership and administrative backbone for the Collaborative. Current members include:
- The Council on Aging
- Daily Acts
- The Hanna Institute
- Medtronic Foundation
- Northern California Public Media
- Petaluma Health Care District
- Redwood Community Health Coalition
- Restorative Resources
- Santa Rosa Community Health
- Sonoma County Department of Health Services
I think in order to get through trauma, it’s important to have some sort of social structure where you feel heard,’ Tricia Siegel said. ‘I felt this provided that space.
Actress and wife of firefighter Mike Siegel who also went through the program
Funding generously provided by
Mind-Body Medicine for Post-Wildfire Resilience
Video by John Phaneuf
For inquiries about our work in Northern California contact Hannah Quinn, CMBM Global Trauma Relief Program Manager at [email protected].