The Newark Community Street Team (NCST) held a Changemaker retreat at The Uplands in August. Trailblazers of the nationally acclaimed model of reducing violence through building a community-centered public safety ecosystem, NCST runs programs such as the award-winning Trauma Recovery Center, and their newest initiative, the Overdose Protection Program.
As urban warriors of peace, protection, and service, NCST’s team leaders sought relaxation and renewal from their Uplands retreat. Retreating from emergency sirens and the hazards of violence-risk interventions, they softened into feelings of safety and peace during their time here — From lying on the soft mossy earth below a canopy of cherry trees, to meandering through the Wellness Walk, to losing and finding themselves in engrossing nature-based art activities. They were invited to reflect on their individual and interconnected impacts on the world, which, like stones thrown into the Upland’s pond, create ripple effects.
Our NCST guests also retreated from serving others in favor of receiving. They were offered soothing “sound baths” of chimes and crystal bowls, healing yoga practices that release tension, and delectable meals lovingly prepared with fresh garden produce. Re-energized by power naps in hammocks and helpless laughter from group games, they closed out the retreat by uniting in a circle to create a flower mandala to offer to the earth in reverent gratitude for all that was received.
The Uplands is privileged to offer respite and replenishment to NCST as they serve on the frontlines of combatting violence and trauma. We honor NCST’s far-reaching ripples of positive transformation, from the individual lives they save, to the city of Newark they enhance, to the national benefits of adopting NCST’s Changemaking model. Thank you, NCST!