Grassroots Organizing

What is happening to address holistic education and school climate?

Grassroots organizing in response to holistic education and school climate is currently happening nationally across the United States and specifically in Phoenix.

In the city of Phoenix, grassroots organizations addressing issues related to holistic education and school climate start locally. Many are founded by community members which in one way or another have first-hand or second-hand experience. Community organizing happening within the city primarily focuses on community workshops and school programs. Community outreach programs target both the youth and parents. Moreover, school programs at the core help integrate positive holistic education through curriculum and teacher or faculty training. Grassroots organizing in Phoenix has helped advocate for improvements in Arizona’s school system.  Support for viewing students as individuals with needs other than academic is increasing.

National grassroots organizations have similar stories such as those from Phoenix. The organizations are created by those being impacted directly. Students are one of the primary creators. Students wishing to make their voices and feelings heard. Students wanting to spread awareness after a tragedy in the United States happens or after experiencing the death of a family member. Attention is emphasized in implementing resources for educators and teens. Resources cover youth advisory boards to programs targeting specific realms. For instance, policy change programs, impacting community programs, and awareness programs.

Due to holistic education’s and school climate’s broad nature, these ideas overarch many important problems occurring in America’s educational system. These intersecting issues range from mental health, varying forms of bullying, nutritional health, and overall school safety.

Community organizing impacts on the local level and can evolve into driving change on the national level. However, without the proper support momentum can unfortunately slow down. Grassroots organizations tend to face obstacles along the way and would benefit from different agency support.

Grassroots Organizations in Phoenix, AZ:

Casa: The Casa Center for Positive Social Change:

The Casa Center for Positive Change focuses on the integration of social and emotional learning (SEL) and emotional intelligence/quotient (EQ). In their mission statement, Casa claims to teach skills related to SEL, EQ, and the prevention of bullying. Their programs are implemented in schools through classes and workshops across Arizona, especially Phoenix.

Mindfulness First:


Mindfulness First’s offers programs based in Mindful Awareness and SEL. Resources and tools for managing stress are provided to both children and adults through Mindfulness First’s programs. The organization focuses in integrating programs supporting mental health while expanding Arizona’s educational standards.

The Be ONE (Open to New Experiences) Project:

The Be One Project is an organization addressing the problem of middle school bullying by looking into the specific school culture which allows bullying to succeed in the first place. The organization’s core program is ONE day which is a peer-to-peer anti-bullying program. The Be ONE Project also is active in communities with their various community outreach programs. Matthew Kaplan, a Phoenix student, founded The Be ONE Project from the ground up after he witnessed his younger brother being actively bullied in school.



The organization, notMYkid has a mission to empower and educate youth and families by helping with preventing negative behaviors. Social thinking, resilience, hope/faith, self-control, and integrity are five of notMYkid’s core values. Founders, Debbie and Steve Moak created notMYkid after experiencing substance abuse within their family.

Grassroots Organizations Nationally:



InspirED is an organization comprised of educators, SEL experts, and students who share the mission to help students voice their feelings . The resources provided by InspirED target the improvement and creation of positive school climates. InspirED has a youth advising board and a network of projects open to anyone across the nation.

L.E.A.D (Let’s Empower, Advocate, and Do):


L.E.AD was founded by eight high school students who wanted to increase mental health awareness in honor of Sandy Hook tragedy victims. L.E.A.D has developed curriculum for Mental Health Promotion (MHP) which they believe can be a supplement to the already existing health class required by schools. L.E.A.D’s efforts revolve around promoting mental health education through training and curriculum.

The Relationship Foundation:


The Relationship Foundation’s mission is to implement social and emotional learning into schools primarily in New York City through the teaching of Nonviolent Communication and empathetic listening. This Relationship Education curriculum is spread through workshops, assemblies, and classes. The Relationship Foundation became what it is today with the support of one school counselor.

Active Minds:



Active Minds works to empower students in speaking openly about mental health. This organization comprises of student-lead mental health awareness groups on campus nationwide. Active Minds, formerly Open Minds, was founded through the founder’s wish to combat stigma revolving mental health after their search for a support system after their brother’s death.