Western Lane Community Foundation awards grant to 90by30

Teresa and Baby Walter visit Mapleton Elementary as part of 90by30’s Roots of Empathy Program.

May 13, 2020 — This year Western Lane Community Foundation (WLCF) generously awarded 90by30 a grant totaling $6,000. 

This grant funded the Roots of Empathy project in Siuslaw and Mapleton first grade classes for the 2019-2020 school year. 90by30 is an initiative at the University of Oregon that is working to “reduce child abuse by 90 percent by the year 2030” throughout Lane County. Roots of Empathy is one of the projects being implemented by 90by30 throughout West Lane.

Roots of Empathy was created in 1996 by Mary Gordon, an educator, author and child advocate. The program is delivered on three continents, and in multiple languages. 

It is an evidence-based classroom program that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression, including bullying, among school children while raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. Lane County is proud to be the first to deliver this program in Oregon. Roots of Empathy is now in 30 Lane County classrooms, with over 750 local elementary students.

At the heart of the program are a neighborhood parent and baby who visit a classroom nine times during the school year. A trained volunteer Instructor coaches the students to observe the baby’s development and to label the baby’s feelings. In this experiential learning, the baby is the “teacher” and a catalyst to help children identify and reflect on their own feelings and the feelings of others – empathy. The instructor also visits the classes the weeks before and after each family visit to reinforce teachings, for a total of 27 classroom visits.

A dozen years of research from four countries confirms Roots of Empathy’s effect to successfully reduce aggressive attitudes and behaviors and develop/increase children’s healthy social and emotional skills. 

In the short term, Roots of Empathy focuses on raising levels of empathy, resulting in more respectful and caring relationships and reduced levels of bullying and other aggressive behaviors. In the long term, the focus is to build the capacity of the next generation for responsible citizenship.

Many thanks to Western Lane Community Foundation for their generous support to the West Lane 90by30. 

For more information about 90by30, visit www.90by30.com. We welcome your participation!

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