Dear Global Somatic Experiencing Community,
February is an exciting time at Somatic Experiencing International. We are both looking back at last year through our Annual Report and looking forward to this coming year by approving the budget. Each year, the budget is not just about the dollars. It is a look at our values as an organization. Where we spend our funds says a lot about what we value. What revenue do we expect to bring in and how do we want to use that revenue to further our vision of transforming lives by healing trauma?
At SEI, we need to communicate about our values. We need to embrace our values. We also need to put our revenue toward promoting our values. This year’s budget does exactly that. We have added 10 staff positions to the organization over the past year, including adding a constituent services division. This will help to ensure that people connecting with the organization are met with the highest quality customer service. As our focus has turned toward more countries around the world, we are putting our resources toward ongoing interpretation and translation services to ensure that SEI can serve people globally. We are putting more resources toward technology to help streamline our community’s connection to SEI as an organization.
Of course, we are also continuing to focus on fostering a diverse organization and community where everyone belongs. As we have said before, these words are not merely platitudes. One of our organizational values is community: to cultivate trust and safety through acceptance, equity, inclusion, and unity, and we want to live that value in our words and actions. We asked ourselves: what does it actually look like to make SEI and our training programs more accessible and inclusive? We’ve generated and are now exploring many different ideas.
Today we are excited to announce the release of the Black, Indigenous, People of Color scholarship for US students. This scholarship has been in the works for a long time, as one way to put our values into practice. The scholarship committee and the DEI committee spent months working to define the criteria, streamline the application, and set the parameters. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis, with the first round of application reviews in March or April, and every scholarship will be for at least 50% of tuition for the full three-year training. I’m so proud of the team that has made this possible! Thank you for your time and energy. Thank you also to the many of you that donated to the scholarship fund. We hope to offer as many scholarships as possible and will certainly go beyond what is in the fund currently; if you’d like to help, you can continue to donate to expand the fund and the number of students we can support.
Beyond the new scholarship program, we’re implementing a variety of other changes to better live our values. We are increasing the budget for equity training for board, staff, faculty, and volunteers of the organization, so that we all share the same understanding of how to make SE and SEI more inclusive and accessible. As mentioned in the last SE Today, the curriculum committee is taking on the work of addressing more issues related to intergenerational trauma and systemic trauma in the curriculum revamping process. And, we’re developing more inclusion- and belonging-focused content and conversation opportunities that you’ll see rolling out over the next few months.
I expect there will be many folks who are not sure we are on the right track. We are always happy to hear feedback from our community. In fact, we hope to hear feedback from our community. We know that as we grow and work in different countries with different languages and cultures, how we open up more accessible spaces is going to be riddled with bumps along the way. And when that happens, we will always return to our values. About our values, there is no question – support, compassion, excellence, community, and vitality.
2022 is the year where we get to put into action everything we have been creating. Somatic Experiencing helps us to know that we cannot integrate changes that are too big for our container. We have spent the past year growing our container through new staff, new policies, and new technology. Moving forward, there is space to hold the ebbs and flows; the growing community; and the ongoing, deep conversations about our values. We hope to have this conversation with all of you.