First Sanctuary Circle Program of 2023 Takes a Look into the Future

The Sanctuary Circle committee kicked off its first S.E.L.F. event of the year with a focus on the future. The 90-minute hybrid event was open to all Cornerstones of Care employees and began with a presentation by Clinical Manager Anh Dao, who shared about celebrating Tết, the Vietnamese New Year, with her family. James A. Powers, a wealth advisor with the Wealth Management Group of KC, offered the first of 10 monthly lunch and learns focused on preparing for future prosperity.

Lesa Chandler, Director of Collaborative Learning and Training, is a Sanctuary Circle committee member and part of the team that plans a quarterly event focused on S.E.L.F: Safety, Emotions, Loss, and Future. The S.E.L.F. framework is an important component of the Sanctuary Model, a comprehensive trauma-informed model that “promotes safety and recovery from adversity through the active creation of a trauma-informed community.”

“The concept of future in SELF is about not allowing adversity or trauma to keep you stuck,” Lesa said.

Tết is future-oriented, symbolizes reunion and rebirth, and encourages growth and new beginnings, which connects well with the philosophy of SELF. However, there are unique traditions and superstitions that each culture and family, like Anh’s family, celebrate and pass down from generation to generation.

“You don't clean, cut your hair, or borrow money from anybody,” said Anh. “But you do gamble.” 

In fact, gambling and money-based games and activities are a big part of the holiday. There are also many traditional foods that are eaten – like Bánh Chưng, a sticky rice cake wrapped in banana leaves. Before digging in, however, it’s important to make an offering and honor one’s ancestors.

“You can't touch the food or anything until you pray to the deceased," said Anh. She also spoke about the importance of wearing red, a lucky color, during the Vietnamese New Year celebrations. 

Following Anh’s presentation, Jim Powers spoke about financial planning basics – from making SMART goals (strategic, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound), establishing an emergency fund, and starting investment accounts as early as possible.

"When I look at the SELF acronym, I think, ‘that was very much the year 2022,’" said James. He presents these classes as a member of the Association of Financial Educators, a nonprofit that offers free financial wellness programs to organizations and businesses across the country. Powers will present nine more financial planning lunch and learns throughout the rest of 2023.

Cornerstones of Care was first certified in the Sanctuary Model in 2015, and the language, tools, and philosophy of Sanctuary are embedded in the organization’s culture and practices. Cornerstones of Care was recertified by the Sanctuary Institute last summer.

The Sanctuary Circle lunch and learn also embraced the agency’s WIDE work by educating about a diverse culture in America. Upcoming Sanctuary Circle events will focus on the remaining parts of the SELF model: safety, emotions, and loss. The committee started these quarterly events in 2021 by focusing on the loss experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was really a time of remembrance,” said Lesa. “We had a slideshow of pictures of things people had lost during COVID – and pictures of things that had helped them get through. We also had pictures of people doing resilience activities like canoeing or drinking a cup of tea. There was music, discussion, and sharing.”

The Sanctuary Circle committee is focused on nurturing a trauma-informed culture at Cornerstones of Care by providing training, coaching, tools, and support around the components of the Sanctuary Model. They also oversee Sanctuary re-certification efforts and help to assess and promote fidelity to the Sanctuary Model in all areas of the organization.

If you want to learn more about Cornerstones of Care’s commitment to the Sanctuary Model, visit our website or connect with Lesa Chandler.