Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based, classroom program that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression among school children while raising social and emotional competence and increasing empathy. At the heart of the program are a community parent and baby who visit the classroom nine times over the course of a school year. A trained instructor coaches the students to observe the baby’s development and label the baby’s feelings.

In this experiential learning, the baby is the “Teacher,” and a catalyst to help children identify and reflect on their own feelings and the feelings of other—empathy. The instructor also visits the classroom before and after each Family Visit to reinforce teachings, for a total of 27 Roots of Empathy Classes. Roots of Empathy is based in Canada and delivers the program all over the world in over ten countries including the US, where the program is offered in only 5 cities, including Albuquerque.

In 2014, Southwest Family Guidance Center, partnered with Roots of Empathy to bring the program into our schools. Roots of Empathy is currently provided in several schools in APS and Rio Rancho in dozens of classrooms. The program starts in September each year and runs until May. Roots of Empathy is always seeking both volunteer instructors (who will be trained and visit a local classroom 27 times over the year, donating about 100 hours of their time per school year) and family volunteers (a family that has welcomed a baby in May, June, or July and will visit a local classroom just 9 times over the school year). If you or someone you know might be interested in volunteering as an instructor or family, please contact the Roots of Empathy Coordinator, Courtney Custer at (505 ) 301 3036 or ccuster.swfgc@gmail.com.

We invite you to watch the videos for a more in depth look at this revolutionary program.