Program expanding thanks to renewed government commitment honours
Vancouver participants from the last year
VANCOUVER, June 29, 2011 /CNW/ - A number of babies were fêted yesterday
as "Vancouver's youngest teachers" at a Roots of Empathy baby
celebration at the Museum of Vancouver.
Launched in British Columbia in 2000, Roots of Empathy - a classroom
program that aims to change the world using a baby and parent as a
model for empathy - is now widely acclaimed around the world.
The Honourable Christy Clark, premier of the Government of British
Columbia, recently announced an expansion of the program starting in
the 2011-12 school year as a way to support BC families and children.
Both the Roots of Empathy program, and Seed of Empathy, its "younger
sibling," will be co-funded by the Ministry of Children and Family
Development and the Ministry of Education.
"We know that children learn so much at an early age," said Linda Reid,
MLA for Richmond East, at the event. "Our government is very proud to
support Roots of Empathy and Seeds of Empathy. These fabulous programs
are part of our promise to help children develop important values such
as respect, kindness and empathy - values they will take with them
"Schools in Vancouver have been involved with Roots of Empathy for over
a decade and we have seen what a difference it makes," added Dr.
Valerie Overgaard, Associate Superintendent for the Vancouver school
district. "Research on the program shows that students exhibit less
bullying and teachers say the climate in the classroom becomes more
caring. We are thrilled to have the program in our schools for another
The Vancouver event featured babies wearing Roots of Empathy "Teacher"
t-shirts. As well, Amanda Nahanee, Cultural Ambassador of the Squamish
Nation and a descendent of the Squamish and Nisga'a Nations, welcomed
guests warmly to the Territory.
Jessie Deacon, BC Provincial Manager, Roots of Empathy, says the program
is making a difference. "To date we have reached more than 18,000
children in the city and 90,000 in British Columbia. We are so grateful
to the Government of British Columbia and the Vancouver School Board
for their ongoing support for our programs. This commitment to
children's social and emotional development is an investment in a more
caring, peaceful and civil society."
In 1996, Roots of Empathy began as a small Canadian pilot project
bringing the power of empathy to children using the model of a baby and
parent. Today the organization is widely acclaimed by international
thought leaders (including His Holiness, the Dalai Lama). The program
has reached 373,000 children worldwide. It has recently garnered
unprecedented international media attention from The New York Times, The Guardian and CNN, among others, and has been featured in documentaries by the BBC and
UK's ITV Television Network.
Photos from this event are available.
SOURCE Roots of Empathy
For further information:
For information or interviews contact:
BC Provincial Manager, Roots of Empathy
604-713-5230 (office) / 604-551-4393 (mobile)
Manager, Media Relations, Roots of Empathy