Shakti Rising unofficially began in the fall of 1997 when Founder and Visionary Director Shannon Thompson started providing informal services to young women with co-existing conditions such as addiction, body image issues, sexual abuse, family and dating violence, depression, and low self esteem. Shannon provided weekly groups, individual sessions, mentoring, and worked with the women in her garden, apothecary, and art studio. She realized the need for structured programs that did more than traditional client service models, education frameworks, and leadership opportunities, and Shakti Rising was born. At first there was there was no official name, formal programming, or marketing. Yet word of Shannon’s work with young women spread quickly and an increasing number of young women sought services.
In September 1999, Shannon started the first program house at Mt. Helix in San Diego’s East County. From September 1999 through June 2001, the Shakti Rising model was piloted. Shannon provided Transformational Recovery Apprenticeship services and support to 34 young women (10 lived in the program house, 12 received counseling services and 12 received harm reduction, “courting” services). During this time, Education and Community Wellness workshops, classes, and labs were offered to women of all ages and backgrounds at the program house. Leadership and volunteer opportunities, now the Transformation Through Service program, were also offered to women receiving services as well as the greater community.
From July 2002 through June 2003, grant funding from Alliance Healthcare Foundation and the California Endowment enabled the formal development of the Transformational Recovery Apprenticeship Program. In just two years, enrollment in the program increased to 55 women. Shakti Rising’s budget doubled through diversified non-governmental funding streams. The Education and Community Wellness Program also grew during this time, providing over 300 hours of classes and workshops. All services were provided by five core staff members and a small handful of volunteers experiencing Transformation Through Service.
Today, Shakti Rising’s Transformational Recovery Apprenticeship Program serves between 50-80 women on an ongoing basis, through a combination of “courting” (our harm reduction services), Intensive Apprenticeship, and individual and family services. Our Education and Community Wellness Program delivers 1000 hours of classes, workshops, and trainings onsite and offsite to everyday women, at risk youth, and clinicians and service providers. Our Transformation Through Service Program has approximately 200 volunteers who participate in individual and community transformation while learning about effective service and leadership.
The future at Shakti Rising is promising. Our long term goals include finding a permanent home and community to grow with, replicating in other cities, states, and abroad, and sharing our life-changing programs with a wider audience.