Six weeks after the Columbine High massacre in 1999, Global Bridge co-created and funded the Malibu High Council Program. Under the guidance of Catherine Ravenborg, this initiative responded to concerns by teachers and counselors at Malibu High School. It addressed their needs for deeper listening to the issues of teens, and for the modeling of mature conflict resolution and communication.
The Council program offers a forum for discussion, where each student meets weekly with a group of peers for an entire year. Each group sets guidelines within which each of the individuals dedicates themselves to deep listening and offers an open hearted response. Participants learn empathy and how to support those who have difficulty finding their own voice.
By bringing the day-to-day 'bread and butter' issues of teen life to a circle of peers, facilitated by a trained leader, participants experience seeing and feeling all sides of complex issues. In learning the art of deeper listening, students hear many different points of view, and begin to realize that their own perspective is only one of many. For many students, this realization has resulted in increased capacity for empathy, tolerance, and acceptance of our differences as well as similarities.
The Council program is ongoing, and continues to impact as many as 200 to 400 students each year.