The Thriving Initiative
The Thriving Initiative was founded in April 2019 when a UCSB Undergraduate Student received funding from the Strauss Foundation to create a holistic healing workshop series for survivors of interpersonal violence from the ground up.
The support services on campus at the time seemed to be missing something. A strictly clinical look at the issue, while helpful for some, seemed daunting and alienating for many student survivors. With the Strauss funding, the student wanted to create a space where survivors did not have to talk about trauma to receive trauma-informed care and support. A place so comfortable that participants might forget why they are there, a community without judgment where survivors could be united by the similarities of their healing journeys instead of past trauma. That is not to say that the clinical approach is not vastly important. One of the many benefits of Thriving, that the team would later learn co-facilitating the workshop series, is that the multi-week series breaks down barriers between community providers and survivors. It gives participants the opportunity to interact with a variety of therapists without having to sit in a room with them one-on-one. It allows survivors to take what they need and gives them the accessible resources to do so.
It was not only students who greeted this initiative with enthusiasm, the local clinicians were perhaps the most excited to be volunteering their time to lead workshops, “It’s about time!” one exclaimed after hearing the Thriving vision in its initial phases. With community collaboration, Thriving, Not Just Surviving, the workshop series was brought to fruition. The series incorporates different specialist-led healing modalities such as creative outlets, embodied movement, dancing, yoga, and reiki to name a few. After the series was over, participants reported substantially decreased trouble breathing, feelings of anxiety, and isolation, meanwhile expressing increased feelings of safety, belonging, and community.
What was merely an idea in 2019 is now a mission-driven 501(c)(3) non-profit supported by many growth-oriented hands and hearts. “To inspire resilience in response to violence by promoting holistic community healing initiatives.”
Beyond Thriving, Not Just Surviving, the workshop series, The Thriving Initiative works to have a ripple effect on the community as a whole by promoting healing and community engagement for all. In Winter 2021, our team launched Community Cultivations a platform for students to connect around the healing aspects of horticulture. Check back in periodically to see our other initiatives in action!