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Welcome to the CATALYST, a Courage & Renewal newsletter for you, our supporters, with true stories of how your gifts make a difference. Read this newsletter in PDF format. Also read the previous issue.

Students Made School a Kinder, Safer Place Thanks to You!

catalyst-may15-loreanBetween classes, students at Denver School of the Arts stuck together in cliques. Not all kids felt safe or welcome.

These students are a talented bunch of singers, musicians, dancers, creative writers and visual artists ranging from 6th to 12th grade. They’re all artists, but there was still a sense of “us versus them.”

Thanks to you, students learned how to engage each other and heal differences using Habits of the Heart.

“We want to build a more kind, safe and interconnected community where everyone feels that they matter,” said Kimberly Menetrier, the Gifted & Talented Coordinator for the school.

catalyst-may15-pg1-habitsKimberly invited Courage & Renewal facilitator Susan Kaplan to teach her middle schoolers about Habits of the Heart. It’s a program Susan adapted for students based on Parker Palmer’s book, Healing the Heart of Democracy. Susan tied the program into the school’s existing No Place for Hate® campaign where 8th graders teach 7th graders about anti-bullying.

Habits of the Heart gave the kids a way to put the anti-bullying message into practice.

One student said, “We made a lot of posters about No Place for Hate. But the Habits gave us a way to work toward No Hate.”

catalyst-may15-pg1-quoteAnother student felt transformed: “I listen to people differently now. How I responded to people before wasn’t really listening.”

“This has really changed my life. I’m so excited to have learned this,” said one of the 8th graders.

Your support for Courage & Renewal gave these students ideas that have improved the way they treat each other.

And the kids are now translating Habits of the Heart into their hopes for the world beyond their classroom.

In 7th grade, the kids study Utopia all year. “Scholars say Utopia is unattainable,” said Kimberly. “But I’m hearing kids who are declared geniuses in the arts saying they now see ways to make Utopia a reality based on the Habits. It’s very inspiring!”

Thanks to you, 7th and 8th graders are inspired to make school—and the whole world—a kinder place. Your gift made it possible for them to experience the power of Habits of the Heart! Thank you!

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You Helped Midwives Deliver Babies with Great Love

“There’s got to be a better way to earn a living,” thought Jennie Ramsey, distressed. Helping to deliver babies is a joyful experience—and also an exhausting job.

“The sense of responsibility is sometimes crushing,” said Jennie, a midwife for Fairview Health in Minneapolis. During one very difficult clinical case, Jennie began to doubt herself.

catalyst-may15-pg2-quoteThanks to you, Jennie and her midwife team are nurturing a sense of resilience, acceptance and accomplishment. And it happened because your gifts deliver Courage & Renewal to health care professionals like Jennie.

Jennie recently went through a yearlong Courage & Renewal series called Heart of the Healer. The program helped Jennie develop a sense of balance between self-care and selfless service.

“The retreat series was fabulous for my morale. I’m now using more Heart of the Healer topics in my practice with patients and in my life.”

Because of your gift, Jennie had the resilience to face her challenges and even went on to become a leader for other midwives. She found the Courage & Renewal practices so valuable that she recently led a day-long retreat for her team of midwives.

“We talked about how we seven midwives are a community, and also how we create community with the mother and her people when we attend a birth.

catalyst-may15-jennie“To be able to articulate that was very powerful. It let us speak to the spiritual side of things, which we don’t address often enough.”

Thanks to you, Jennie and nurses like her are learning wholehearted ways to serve pregnant mothers better while also supporting each other.

“The work we did in Heart of the Healer continues to influence my daily practice and the way our team works together—and the way we are able to serve the women and families in the birthing room.

“We can do so much more as a group than we can alone,” she reflected.

“We have a phenomenal group dynamic, and it has a lot to do with Courage & Renewal,” Jennie said. “So thank you!”

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You Gave Resilience & Renewal to a Public Servant

catalyst-may15-erika“My work feels like a calling, but the past few years I was really struggling,” said Erika Peterson, the Community Relations Lead for Seattle’s Wastewater Treatment Division.

Your support helped Erika stay resilient and not drop out. And that helped people in the Seattle area who depend on Erika’s commitment to protecting water quality, the environment and public health.

Erika has worked in Seattle for King County government for more than 20 years. A few years ago she took a sabbatical and upon her return she noticed that the dynamics at work had turned sour.

“How could I have left a place I liked working and come back to such negativity?” wondered Erika after her brief sabbatical.

Erika was used to conflict, dealing with members of the public in an uproar over wastewater treatment projects. But to experience conflict in her team was unexpected.

catalyst-may15-pg3-quote“My contributions no longer seemed to matter to the people around me,” said Erika. “I felt isolated and baffled. I was tempted to leave.”

But thanks to you, Erika experienced an aha! moment. Erika recently went to a Courage & Renewal class called Reclaiming Your Passion and Purpose offered by King County government to its employees.

“The paradox exercise was particularly helpful,” Erika said. “Recognizing that two apparent opposites can both be true really helped me cut through that confusion. I can be a significant contributor and that may not matter to others.

“Things are already better since the class. For the first time in three years, I can say that I love my work again.

“This class really helped me turn a corner in my professional life. I think it will make me a better county employee for the next 10-plus years of my career.”

Your support for Courage & Renewal helped Erika stay resilient and keep ensuring clean water for Seattle citizens. Thank you!  

Your support for Courage & Renewal helped Erika stay resilient and keep ensuring clean water for Seattle citizens. Thank you!

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Do You Have a Tribe? Reflection by Parker J. Palmer

Parker J Palmer

It is true that we are all in this together. It is equally true that we spend most of our lives in “tribes” or lifestyle enclaves—and that thinking of the world in terms of “us” and “them” is one of the many limitations of the human mind. The good news is that “us and them” does not need to mean “us versus them.” Instead, it can remind us of the ancient tradition of hospitality to the stranger and give us a chance to translate it into twenty-first-century terms.

Hospitality rightly understood is premised on the notion that the stranger has much to teach us. It actively invites “otherness” into our lives to make them more expansive, including forms of otherness that seem utterly alien to our way of life. Of course, we will not practice deep hospitality if we do not embrace the creative possibilities inherent in our differences.

catalyst-may15-pg4-quoteQuestions: Do you have a “tribe”? If so, how would you describe it? Do you have a story about crossing lines of difference in a way that made your world a larger and more inviting place?

What are some of the ways you extend, or can imagine extending, hospitality to “the stranger”?

—from Healing the Heart of Democracy

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Thanks to our 2014 donors!

See the 2014 Courage & Renewal Financial Summary (PDF):

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From the Executive Director

terry-catalystYour generous gift is supporting courageous leaders like Kimberly, Jennie and Erika, plus hundreds more people you can’t see on these pages.

What happens because of your support?

A teacher helps 7th and 8th graders apply Habits of the Heart to address anti-bullying.

A midwife nurtures authentic community for her nurse team and the families they serve.

A public servant gains the clarity and courage to stay committed to ensuring clean water for all.

You give people courage and resilience so they can keep making a difference in so many more lives.

Thank you!
Gratefully yours,


Terry Chadsey
Executive Director

Thank you for giving people the courage to lead