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Healing events help community members manage emotional challenges and physical symptoms of trauma

Healing events help community members manage emotional challenges and physical symptoms of trauma

A room full of people focusing on their sacred chakra, meditation and feeling a connection to the earth might sound like a day at an exclusive new-age retreat, but not in this case. Those were just some of the activities that happened at a self-healing and empowerment event in late April. Instead of being an exclusive retreat, the event was free and open to the community as the first of a series of similar healing events that will be held in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood and in other Cleveland neighborhoods.

The events follow the Capacitar practice of self-healing and empowerment rooted in ancient wellness practices from around the world. The goal is to provide participants with simple tools they can use to manage the emotional challenges and physical symptoms of trauma. Capacitar International is a grassroots organization with people in more than 45 countries connected through a network of solidarity dedicated to the wisdom of the body, mind and spirit in healing each person, communities and the world while building relationships of cultural and personal understanding.

The local events are hosted by Sister Catherine Walsh, CSA, Richaun Bunton, vice president of community engagement for the St. Vincent Charity Health Campus and managing director, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood, and Sylvia Little-Harris, program coordinator at the Thea Bowman Center.

In welcoming the more than 25 participants to the first event at St. Vincent Charity Community Health Center, Sr. Catherine said, “In surveying community members, they mentioned the trauma of violence in the community and the desire to create beauty and remembrance. We understand that it is a journey, one worth giving our time and energy to. It’s a journey travelled together with and for the individual and the entire community. Today, we begin the first step in this particular path of healing. The path is to empowerment. Skills you can practice at home.”

Bunton and Little-Harris led participants in learning and engaging in techniques that help heal anxiety, depression and the impact of trauma, and improve overall emotional wellness.

“The first healing event was well received. The room was full with an intergenerational mix of youth, adults, seniors and community partners who wanted to learn these meditative techniques and skills to refresh emotional wellness,” said Bunton. “There was also food and community conversation. We all learned and grew together. The goal is to get individuals trained in these healing techniques so they can share them with their friends and others in the community.”

The next healing event is Saturday, June 24, at St. Vincent Charity Community Health Center and will eventually expand to neighborhoods beyond Central. For more details and to reserve your space, email Richaun Bunton at

The Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood movement was catalyzed by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, which has served the Central neighborhood for more than 25 years, and remains one of the lead partners in Central Promise. St. Vincent Charity Community Health Center and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland are ministries of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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