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Applied Compassion Capstone Projects 

A defining component of the ACT program is the creation and delivery of an Applied Compassion Capstone Project. Each participant is supported, using the principles and practices of the training, to design and deliver a project that brings compassion into their unique real-world setting.  This could be a classroom, an office, a health care system, or a community of which they are a part. Here are some of the inspiring Capstone Projects from this year's ACT participants who are bringing compassion into the world in powerful ways.

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Circles of Care
The Act of Listening 


"Being a part of ACT has been a life-changing experience for me, and the best part has been meeting people from all over the world with the same intention to be ambassadors of compassion in so many different spheres."
Dr. Pitsi Kewana, Clinician Engagement Manager — Johannesburg, South Africa

Compassion Conversation Cafe 

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"The Capstone Project empowered me to facilitate others in noticing the impact of their compassion and this motivated them into action. The entire process deepened my own understanding and has also motivated me stay in action." 
Pat Obuchowski, Executive, Leadership and Team Coach — San Francisco, California, USA

A Power of Facing
Compassion and Courage in the Face of Global Suffering

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"The process of developing my Capstone led me on a deep personal journey into the true sources of my motivation and reminded me of the skills and gifts I already have to share."
Alex Nunn, Head of Movement Building, Action for Happiness — London, England

Story Medicine
Sharing Compassion Wisdom through storytelling 

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"My Capstone project has given me greater awareness of the interconnectedness of compassion practices and indigenous thinking. I've been able to see and share the wisdom teachings embedded within old, traditional, storytelling." Renda Dionne Madrigal, Psychologist and Author — Temecula, California, USA

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Sound for the People
Heart of Rest Immersion


"My Capstone Project first and foremost changed ME for the better — it changed the way I think, believe in myself, and conduct myself.  ACT gave me the support and validation to make my dream of serving others in this way a reality."
Charah Coleman,  Transformative Space Creator & Wellness Researcher — California, USA

Compassion Changes Everything


"My Capstone created a CCARE satellite unit in Brazil, and this allowed me not only to be an ambassador of compassion, but to potentially offer millions of people the opportunity to take a big step towards happiness, health, and harmony. Learning by doing is key."
Ivo Machado, Entrepreneur, Neuroscience Researcher, Medicine Student — Brazil

Open Hearts, Training and Community

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"ACT provided a safe space to dive deep into who I really am and what I wanted to bring to the world. It is learning by example in a beautiful shared way." 
Henriette Ankone, Futurist, Writer and Life Coach — The Netherlands

Embedding Compassion, Habits & Culture in Philanthropy

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"My Capstone project resulted in new day-to-day operations, a skill-building retreat and a set of behaviors at our organization that illustrate the culture our philanthropy needs to achieve its mission.”
Todd Vogel, Ph.D., Managing Director, Loom Foundation — Seattle, Washington, USA

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Embedding Compassion
into the LEGACY values 

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"My Capstone Project required me to delve deeply into an understanding of compassion and how to live it in everyday experiences — at work and in personal relationships. I tied compassion to established department values in a professional setting, so that compassion could become an extension of these values."
Maggie Burgett, Project Executive, Land Building & Real Estate, Stanford University — Bay Area, California, USA

Compassion for Professional grief


"The community that we created, with participants all around the world, allowed us to concretize our ideas and transform them into actions in order to fill the world with compassion through the beauty of our intentions & our Capstone Projects." 
Diana Mooser, Head of HR / Advisory — Switzerland

Happiness, Give or Take
A Compassion Project


"The Capstone Project is where the rubber meets the road. It's a real-world endeavor that inspires responsibility and challenges personal comfort. Conceiving of, designing, and implementing the project was a multi-faceted learning experience and a practice in compassion itself. "
Jack Cummins, Managing Director — Hong Kong

Curated Compassion for Mental Health Care


"The ability to practice within the ACT community was transformative, inspiring and fulfilling. Having a safe, respectful, and intentional community offered me room to be both the recipient of practices and the facilitator." 
Reine Hewitt, LMSW and Psychotherapist — Brooklyn, New York, USA

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Cultivating Compassion
& Physician Well-Being 


"The Capstone Project 
provided me with the knowledge, skills, and encouragement to bring a program to my institution. It has helped me deepen the reflection about compassion in the healthcare workplace and proven deeply valuable to my colleagues." 

Benny Gavi, Physician, Teacher, Well-Being Director — Stanford, California, USA

We Were All Babies Once 
A Children's Book


"My Capstone Project allowed me to apply the principles of compassion in a way that felt most true to me. Working on the project and being encouraged by my group strengthened my desire to alleviate suffering in the world in any small or big way I may be able to do so."
Jana Plavuchova, Instructional Designer — British Columbia, Canada

Embodied Integration


"ACT helped me to make the leap from vision to manifestation. Our principles of compassion helped me define a step-by-step process of designing my Capstone Project, creating community around my idea, and empowering me to share my mission with the world."
Edyta Kotowicz

Compassion Incognito
IT Team Building 


"The months exploring and planning for the Capstone Project has shown me compassion can be infused in every interaction. The most transformative behavior has been self compassion — I discovered that when I show myself compassion, I can be more compassionate with others." 
- Stephanie Soto, IT Professional — Sacramento, California, USA

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Ommie – Recognizing
Our Common Humanity


"My Capstone Project allowed me to connect with people around the world and learn how their experiences and values help them overcome obstacles. I loved how my ACT peers shared their expertise and offered constructive, encouraging feedback to benefit my work."
Sasha Marchenko, Founder and UX Designer at Ommie, LLC — California, USA

Odd Company
Compassion amidst Polarization


"My Capstone Project offers thoughts, tips, and techniques for respectful and compassionate interaction with those whose views differ from our own. Through the process, I found it thrilling to become part of a global network of other people who also want to help create a more compassionate world." 
- Nancy Etchemendy, Writer — Stanford, California, USA

Circle of Compassion
Caring by sharing stories

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"The Capstone Project provided the fundamentals and the scaffolding to convert my ideas into action through design thinking. It has also given me the courage to be vulnerable, yet feel safe because of our common humanity. This has been transformative and impactful."
Archana Vahalia, Lawyer, Director of Outreach — California, USA

Cultural Adaptation of a Spiritual Path & Practices

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"Through my Capstone Project, I was able to focus on how I can guide the members of our spiritual center as they are walking their own spiritual paths, and to do this in a more compassionate way. I appreciated the hands-on practices and sharing of my fellow students and teachers." 
- Roald Martin Hamnvik, Center Director — Norway

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A Compassionate Neighborhood after COVID


"For my Capstone Project, I addressed the pandemic's isolation by initiating monthly outdoor neighborhood-wide gatherings to welcome new families and reconnect with others. We convened meaningful conversations about how to make our neighborhood what we imagine it can be." 
- Cynthia Adkins, Ambassador of Compassion — Seattle, Washington, USA

Compassion at
Camp Bliss


"My Capstone Project became the fulfillment of a lifelong calling. My time with ACT led me through both the internal & external processes of recognizing compassion within myself and how to bring it to my community. It has supported me in building the framework to transform a long-standing vision into a reality."
Erin Stevens McKay, Ambassador of Compassion — McMinnville, Oregon, USA

Supporting families of people with Epilepsy


"I joined ACT to achieve my goal of supporting families of people with epilepsy. Here, I found more than a training — I discovered a great community committed to making a difference. As Rumi said, "There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled." With ACT, I discovered my candle and candles around the world."
Ana Teresa Ribeiro Contier, PhD in Neuroscience — São Paulo, Brazil

Fostering compassion in Nursing Education


"I loved meeting new people from all over the world. It never felt like I had been online, it literally felt like I traveled the world for every class and still made it back home in time. I loved the safe space provided by our mentors and each ACT participant. This was more than a community, this is family.." 
- Charlene Muruvan —
South Africa

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 Sustaining Compassion in the Social Impact Sector 

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"The community at ACT has propelled me into action through loving accountability and inspiration. The perspectives and tangible tools offered from teachers and colleagues alike – as a menu of possibilities and pathways to deepen – has been an exceptionally nurturing and self-empowering learning environment."
Signe Jung Sørensen, Coach and Consultant — Denmark

Good Intentions
Workshops for businesses and Individuals

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"Since completing my Capstone Project, I have been able to utilize the tools that ACT provided to help businesses and individuals set #GoodIntentions. This has helped me take my workshops to another level, and be braver in applying compassion." 
- Clare Kelly, Senior Manager & Coach, Salesforce — Ireland

 Compassionate culture for nurses in a
hospital setting


"I previously believed that a leader should not be seen suffering, but through my Capstone Project, I learned the importance of self-care and self-compassion. It helped me realize that denying suffering delays applying compassion. Now, I am able to teach nurses self-compassion, which will also benefit their patients."
Nompumelelo Madlingozi, Nursing Manager — Uitenhage, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Growing Inner-decision making skills In times
of difficulty

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"My Capstone Project helped me to trust my inner-strength and resilience to be with difficulty and it taught me practically how to be fully alive with all my pain and joy. I have grown tremendously as a person in this training and benefited from the collaborative group learning experience. " 
- Jenny Canau — Cape Town, South Africa

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A Mindful Leader! 
Human-centered Culture in the Corporate World


"Through my Capstone Project, I matured into a leader who listens with an open heart and is able to respond to the needs of my staff and audience. The practices of being present, awareness and compassionate listening now enable me to see and address the real essence of a situation." 
- Marc Shaefer, Managing Director in a FinTech Bank-Startup, Coach and Mediator — Germany

5 Steps to Joyful Parenting and Applying Compassion in Clinical Trials


"Designing a Capstone Project on parenting that uses an evidence-based toolkit from the ACT program enabled me to facilitate 95 participants in a 5-week online course. Positive feedback and gratitude from other mothers inspired me to act further and I am now writing a book with neuroscience exercises for the wider public of parents."
Karolina Kolasa, Associate Director at AstraZeneca; Compassionate Parenting & HSP Coach — Poland

Compassion Practices for Secondary Traumatic Stress

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"My Capstone Project includes a workbook and a workshop focusing on compassion-based practices for addressing secondary traumatic stress among helping professionals working with individuals who have experienced trauma. ACT provided a process of appreciative feedback, where we offered each other encouragement in a collaborative, creative and caring community. I LOVED being part of ACT."
Ruth Gottfried, PhD, David Yellin Academic College of Education — Israel



"The process of developing my Capstone Project was a wonderful learning experience. I covered topics such as burnout and imposter syndrome, both of which I experienced working on the project. While writing on self-compassion and mindful presence, I was able to work through exactly what I hope to help others navigate."
- Kristine Claghorn — Creative Producer and Activist — Los Angeles, California, USA

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A Leadership Superpower 

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"Leaders in healthcare and related industries are on a whirlwind ride of change and disruption, which is challenging their ability to stay present, aware, and responsive. The 5-week program I developed as my Capstone Project gives healthcare leaders proven methods and tools to remain responsive and agile as they navigate adversity."
Victoria Reichenberg, MS, Team Dynamics Consultant and Executive Coach — San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA

in Action

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"All that I took for granted in life now has a new perspective. My Capstone Project allowed me to forgive those who have hurt me in the past and to move forward. It gave me the opportunity to develop a better relationship with my staff and myself. ACT truly humbled me in so many ways and it taught me that it's okay to have self love." 
- Sarah. C.A. McKaw, Nursing Manager, Margate Hospital – Margate, South Africa 

and Caregiving

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"My Capstone Project was a deep dive into "fierce" self-compassion, as I facilitated a group of autism "mama bears" through an 8-10 session workshop on compassion. ACT's retreats and resources, as well as my mentoring group, have brought so much insight and incredible wisdom to this journey."
Sara L. Kole, MPH, Health and Wellness Coach — Bay Area, California, USA

Bringing Compassion into Ethics & Professionalism

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"My Capstone Project helped me to coalesce my understanding of compassion into practical tools for busy healthcare professionals who are fulfilling disciplinary steps following a transgression. I have been able to incorporate actionable skills into course materials for clinicians as well staff who enforce learning requirements with clinicians."
- Deborah Kasman MD, MA — Ethics & Professionalism Faculty, Professional Boundaries Education Inc — Azusa, California, USA

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Minimizing Money Mistakes
A Roadmap for Parents

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"My project drew inspiration from my own suffering as a parent and my finance career. Conflict around money is one of the top factors that strains families and parent-child connection. I designed  parenting workshops around minimizing money mistakes and raising "money-smart" teens, and the parents were truly moved, touched, and inspired by the programs.
- Urvi Shah, Mindful Leader, Educator and Facilitator, MSC – Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Self Compassion
The Why and the HOW

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"My Capstone Project grounded me in theory — the why and the how of applying compassion in any situation. Personally, it has definitely modified how I respond in the face of suffering, and the many tools and practices we learned are readily available for use at a moment's notice when the situation arises in one-to-one meetings and larger groups."
- Lois Lane — System VP, Mission Integration – Denver, Colorado, USA

One Speaks,
One Listens 


"The ACT Capstone Project has opened me to the possibility of positive transformation simply by telling a story. The energy transfer in this form of interaction is disarming and therefore, enlightening. Trusting a place of vulnerability, I have become transformed, and thereby, an Ambassador of Applied Compassion."
Mark Logan, MD – Hanover, New Hampshire

Compassion literacy for children and caregivers


"Fulfilling the potential of my Capstone Project meant practicing qualities within myself so that compassion would truly surface in my interactions with children and their families. My goal was not only to teach them about compassion but also inspire them to act on it. I really loved being encouraged to challenge myself." 
- Vitória Leite, Speech Pathologist, Kids Mindfulness Facilitator – São Paulo, Brazil

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Compassionate Leadership for Clinic Managers In Primary Healthcare


"As ACT progressed, I realized that I was resistant to the emotional suffering around me and within me. As I practiced calming my mind and noticing my reactions, I could respond in a compassionate manner. In my Capstone Project, I discovered that same anxiety present in so many people and that we can build confidence by sharing the concepts of Applied Compassion."
- Salome Liebenberg, MS – South Africa

Applying Compassionate Discipline

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"Mindfulness practices and understanding the core principles of compassion provided me with the foundation to facilitate the skills taught at ACT. Leading mindfulness and self-compassion exercises has created opportunities for my team to share experiences in a safe, non-judgmental environment." 
- Lizette Du Preez, RN – Johannesburg, South Africa

Skills-based Compassionate Culture in a Hospital Group


"My project required my courage, because some of my colleagues resisted the compassion initiatives. Many others, though, said that my bravery in being different – gentle, honest and vulnerable – gave them permission to show more compassion. I think I made this way of being more “normal” and acceptable across the organization."
Sandy Lewis, Mental Wellness and Compassion Coach, Netcare Hospital Group – Johannesburg, South Africa

self-compassion and awareness in survivors
of childhood cancer


"I have leaned into the suffering of others for years as a pediatric oncologist & felt a missing piece. The course I developed as my Capstone Project is my way to effect change. I plan to offer this course routinely to my patients, and to expand this into the work place, offering it to my colleagues, the students and residents."
- Lisa Mueller — MD – Los Angeles, California, USA

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Roots of Resilience

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"My clients are continuously giving to others with little time left for themselves. Helping leaders and teams“breathe in” with self-compassion has been a lifeline and sharing science-based strategies to build resilience has been a gift. I now have a framework to use and impactful techniques that I can facilitate. The experience has been transformational."
- Laurie Flasko, Training, Team Building, Executive Coach – Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Compassion Extends into Pharmacy


"The ACT Capstone Project helped me to put theory into practice. It helped me to apply compassion in my daily life, both at home and at work, with family and colleagues. With this daily experience and practice, it gave me the confidence and knowledge to teach this skills as an art that is acquired only by practice and application."
- Nirasha Singh — Head Clinical Pharmacy – South Africa

One Speaks,
One Listens 


"In hopes of engendering compassion, my Capstone Project brought a group of strangers together to bear witness to intimate and personal stories shared by others. The reactions of both speakers and listeners, confirmed our belief that the sharing of stories can spark compassion and focus in on our shared humanity."
Eileen London, Environmental Consultant – Vermont, USA

Mente Amiga
A Friendly Response to Anxiety for Parents


"By learning more tools and practices, I was able to facilitate compassionate conversations, where we experienced brave and vulnerable connection and sense of belonging. I really appreciate the knowledge and practices our teachers, mentors, and fellow students shared throughout the ACT program." 
- Maribel Ramírez Rivera, Grief Counselor and Wellness Coach – México

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Building an Compassionate
Nursing Practice

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"The ACT program is so
multi-faceted: it combines community building, networking, mentoring, experiential learning and a bit of traditional lecturing. There were ongoing opportunities to practice new skills as well as encouragement and gentle reminders to put these skills in practice to build my Capstone Project."

- Susan Johnson PhD, RN, Associate Professor, University of Washington Tacoma, USA

Somatic Ecotherapy
Compassion Principles & Forest therapy


"My Capstone Project provide me with the opportunity to work on my website and rebrand my business while helping others. I condensed many of the ACT core principles of compassion, integrated them with my forest therapy training, and applied them to my somatic work." 
- Wendy Figone, Certified Myofascial Therapist, CYT, Certified Forest Therapy Guide – Hillsborough, California, USA

Scaling Compassion, Mindfulness through Technology and Community

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"ACT propelled me to launch many different projects purely based on compassion and human connection. Gratefully, I've connected with many
like-hearted humans who will carry our collective vision forward to bring mindfulness, human connection and well-being to more people globally."

- Ruchika Sikri — Partner, Wisdom Ventures Fund and Founder, Mandala Ventures – Los Gatos, California, USA

for Kids 


"I guided my students from never hearing the word "compassion" to understanding its meaning and applying skills in their classroom and home community. We shared individual and group learning sessions by reading stories about compassion, writing our own stories and engaging in fun games."
Seana Coughlin, Grade 1/2 Special Education Teacher – Brooklyn, New York, USA

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