Grant Won, Classes to Start, and Much More News

We’ve got lots of news at The Benji Project:

·        The Fund for Women and Girls awards grant to The Benji Project and School Clinics

·        Making Friends with Yourself teen course starts January

·        Teacher scholarships to be awarded in 2018

·        Theater fundraiser was a big success

·        Calling nominees for teen advisory board

·        Teen Self-Compassion Workbook published

·        Save the Date – “The S Word Movie” fundraiser Feb. 8

·        Donor thank-you’s

Grant News

The Fund for Women and Girls has awarded its annual grant to The Benji Project and the School-Based Health Centers. The $8,200 award will support the launch of Making Friends with Yourself by paying for local teacher training and an initial session of the eight-week class for high school age girls. (Class begins in January; See details below.) The Benji Project and SBHC under the leadership of Susan O’Brien will develop a community referral model to help teens access the program.  Thank you to the Fund for Women and Girls!

Program Launch

The Benji Project’s core program on mindful self-compassion for teens will launch in January. The initial session, supported by funding from The Fund for Women and Girls, is for high school girls and will meet on Thursdays at 3:30 p.m. in Port Townsend. The program runs Jan. 25 to March 30 with no meetings on Feb. 8 and Feb. 22. Registration is required. Further details will be posted online soon. Until then, email with questions or for registration information.

Additionally, the course will be taught to students at Jefferson Community School over the same period. Further classes are planned later in the year. We are seeking a sponsor for a community boys’ class.

Teacher Scholarships

Making Friends with Yourself will be taught by teachers visiting from the Seattle area in 2018, but we are working hard to cultivate local teachers. Supported by The Fund for Women and Girls, The Benji Project aims to select and award scholarships to two individuals in 2018 for training to become certified to teach MFY. An application and selection process will be announced by the spring.

Theater Night

The Benji Project’s night of theater fundraiser at Key City Public Theater for “The Book Club Play” in October was a big success. Thank you to KCPT, the many volunteers, supporters and our honorary host, Holley Carlson of Coldwell Banker. More than $4,000 was raised.

Teen Advisory Board

Thank you to the teens who have stepped forward to form our Teen Advisory Board. Among this board’s crucial roles will be to help select our teacher scholarship winners and advise on how to promote Making Friends with Yourself. Do you know a teen who is motivated to help others? We are accepting nominations for additional board members. Please contact for details.

Workbook Published

Karen Bluth, the co-creator of our Making Friends with Yourself program, published “The Self-Compassion Workbook for Teens” in November. It offers valuable tools and exercises based in mindfulness and self-compassion and is a great adjunct to our live classes. By purchasing your copy via our link to Amazon, you help support our programs. The Benji Project will in 2018 donate copies to local schools, organizations and libraries to make this resource available in the community. If you would like a copy for your organization, please contact

“The S Word Movie”

PTHS student Callay Boire-Shedd is organizing screenings in February of “The S Word Movie,” which played at the PT Film Festival and breaks the silence around discussing suicide. Filmmaker Lisa Klein will attend. As part of the events, a fundraiser screening for The Benji Project will be held at the Starlight Room on Feb. 8. Further details to come.

Donor Thank You’s

Thank you to all who have donated in the fourth quarter. Every donation is meaningful.

Major Donor Thanks: The Fund for Women and Girls, Sarah Schmidt, Center for Anti-Bullying and Non-Violence / PEACE-ART

Donor Thanks:  Rebecca Kimball, Holly Petta, Janeen Armstrong, Sarah Rubenstein, Peter Wiant, Suzy Carroll, David Taylor, Sherry NeSmith, Ellen Emmenegger, David Osterman, Arshad Mohammed, Sharon Kuznetsov, Laura Ovette, Mary Biskup