Shakti Rising

Mission Statement: Shakti Rising’s mission is to create social change by empowering young women to uncover, rediscover and reclaim their whole selves. Shakti cultivates the health and emerging leadership of women and girls, ultimately empowering them to utilize their personal transformations as a catalysts for positive change in their families and communities.

Advancing Health and Wellness: Shakti Rising employs a multi-faceted approach to advancing health and wellness for those in need. Our Transformational Recovery Program is the only comprehensive program in San Diego for young women with co-exiting conditions such as addiction, sexual abuse and depression. Our Education and Community Wellness Program provides partner agencies, at-risk women and youth and community members with courses on wellness, leadership and sustainability. These classes result in participants’ improved investment in their physical health and a greater awareness of the psychological and emotional issues that inhibit their access to a healthy life. Through grounding all of our programs in leadership development, our services not only give young women the tools they need to make positive changes in their own lives, they empower them to improve the lives of all those around them. This produces a “ripple effect” that goes on to positively impact the well-being of countless San Diegans.

Brief History Shakti Rising began in 1997 when the Founder and Visionary Director, Shannon Thompson, began providing mentoring and informal individual and group counseling to young women with histories of addiction, abuse, depression and self-destructive behaviors.  Ms. Thompson saw that these women were being misrepresented and underserved through traditional recovery programs.  She went on to develop Shakti Rising’s woman-centered program to fill this gap in treatment by creating a recovery program that addresses the complex layers of interpersonal and self-inflicted problems that result from childhood abuse, trauma and dysfunctional family structures.  Shakti Rising received its non-profit status in 1999 and now serves 1,000 women annually through recovery, education and leadership development services.

Theory of Change Shakti Rising’s theory of social change is the bedrock of our organization and innovative model.  Shakti Rising believes that the current crises in health, safety, the environment and the economy are interconnected, and that the creation of woman and child friendly societies is the solution to these interwoven issues.  For over a decade, Shakti Rising has worked toward this solution by investing in women and girls. Numerous research findings show that an investment in women and girls has greater economic and social returns than any other.  As the UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet summarizes, “When women are healthy and educated, and can participate in the economy, the benefits extend to their children, communities and nations.  Poverty and malnutrition decline, living standards improve and economic growth increases.”  As such, Shakti Rising believes that a woman’s personal transformation is the first step to creating far-reaching social change.  When a woman is transformed, it inspires and empowers her to become an agent of change not only for herself, but also for her family, friends and entire community.  In this way it puts in place a “ripple effect” that has impact on the individual, community and, ultimately, societal level.

Accomplishments One of Shakti Rising’s greatest accomplishments is the development of an innovative model that is an effective solution to our community’s interwoven issues.  Shakti Rising’s services have facilitated a variety of long-term changes among individuals and the community.  For instance, Shakti Rising’s Transformational Recovery Program has built a powerful track record, achieving an 80 percent success rate with a difficult and underserved population.  The Education and Community Wellness program has achieved substantial increases in self-esteem among at-risk youth through its eight-week courses and comprehensive workshops, and the Transformation Through Service program inspires an average of 16,000 hours of volunteer service per year. In addition, Shakti Rising has exemplified successful expansion, sustainably growing in response to increasing demand in the community for women-centered, trauma-informed services.  Shakti Rising has grown from initially serving 50 women each year in San Diego to opening its first complete replication branch in Northern California in 2009.  Shakti Rising now directly serves 1,000 women annually across the state of California. Shakti Rising has received considerable recognition for its successes with women and community-building.  For her work with Shakti Rising, founder Shannon Thompson has been honored with Molina Healthcare’s “Community Champion Award,” San Diego Business Journal’s “Most Admired CEO Award” and the San Diego Soroptimists’ “Making a Difference for Women Award.”  In 2012 Ms. Thompson was one of only five nation-wide recipients of Traditional Home Magazine’s “Classic Woman Award,” while in 2013 she was honored with the American Riviera Woman Entrepreneur Award.

Contact Information: Christina Burke Kiesel;; 619-795-2673 | | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

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