Facilitating experiences that intentionally develop critical social awareness that leads to personal and collective actions that build thriving, inclusive communities.
Place structural and systemic inequities front and center
Dismantle systemic inequities through facilitating challenging learning environments that increase critical thinking and social justice awareness.
Celebrate our gifts and differences recognizing that they are the true makeup of community.
Believe in community and our innate interdependence on each other.
Know that this work is always in progress…
Child’s Play: Gender, Toys, & Career Paths
Happy New Year! What’s your social justice resolution for the new decade?
MADE IN MEDFORD: Community Building Examples
ELECTION COMMENTARY: Why are there no black, indigenous, or people of color candidates running in Medford?
The candidate pool for the 2019 elections for Medford’s School…
MEET OUR TEAM
Dr. Divya Anand
Founder & Director of Research
Dr. Anand (she/hers) is a passionate spokesperson for equity and social justice, and is a grassroots advocate for developing these strengths and values in her life and work. She received her Ph.D. with distinction from the Thesis Eleven Centre for Cultural Sociology and the English Department at La Trobe University, Australia, and holds a Master of Philosophy from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Her social advocacy brought her to work as a Diversity & Inclusion consultant at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, in Cambridge, MA, where she developed programming for underrepresented minority students, as well as inclusion-focused events for the larger scientific community. She was inspired to expand on these concepts to create a layered and multi-faceted curriculum designed to address systemic and structural inequities. She maintains her academic endeavors, and is currently a research fellow at Thesis Eleven Centre for Cultural Sociology, La Trobe University and a senior faculty at Cambridge College, Boston. Her monograph Re-imagining Nations and Rethinking Nature: Contemporary Eco-political Controversies in India and Australia was recently published. She serves on the board of the West Medford Community Center and is an active member of many other advocacy organizations.
Ariel (she/hers) is an experienced nonprofit leader who is passionate about developing and supporting programs and initiatives that meet community needs. She has a BA in History Pre-law from Salem State University and a Master’s in Nonprofit Business Leadership from Fordham University. From Washington, DC to New York and now in Boston, MA Ariel has held several leadership roles in prominent youth-serving organizations. Her main focus has been developing strong quality afterschool services by optimizing budgets, training staff on best practices, and developing targeted responsive programming. She also has consulted for several start-up nonprofits helping to refine their visions and maximize their impact. As the Director of Business Development Ariel plans to establish strategic community partnerships and leverage stakeholder investments to ensure that Gaia Connections research, workshops, and programs are accessible to a diverse client base.
PROGRAMS & SERVICES
Utilizing our Discover Differences Reading Guides, we partner with schools and youth-serving organizations to provide activity-based programmatic workshops that create spaces for children to discuss, learn, and explore social justice subjects.
TOPICS CAN INCLUDE
Understanding Race * Exploring Gender * Hair Diversity * Consent * Disability * Names * Food Diversity * Immigration * Refugees * Celebrations * Consumerism * Caring for our environment * Allyship
Gaia Connections trainers customize content that is anchored in the needs of our clients and the latest research in the field. Workshops are designed for participants to actively learn about and in-turn commits to equity as they embark on their journey to develop an inclusive mindset.
Primary areas of focus can include but are not limited to
Dialogical practices and cultural humility pedagogies…
“Thank you for helping me all of last year with all of your resources! I truly hope eyes are being opened and hearts are being changed. Your PD two years ago changed my view on my own bias and privilege and allows me to educate myself. I am still learning and working and will continue to do so forever but you have helped me and I wanted to thank you.”
St. Josephs School
“I was lucky to attend a training/workshop on implicit biases at my workplace. It was eye-opening and important. We need to be careful about how we raise our children and the messages we send them.”
HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS
Enhancement of teaching practices for long term impact
FOR & NON-PROFITS
Pathways to inclusive cultures…
“We hosted Gaia Connections for a community workshop on “implicit bias” in Winthrop, MA and it was both engaging and thought-provoking, and just the right amount of uncomfortable to challenge status quo thinking. Dr.Anand was a fantastic presenter and great at moderating productive discussion amongst attendees. We hope to continue working with them as we continue to develop these important conversations in our community!”
Julia Prange Wallace
One Winthrop & Winthrop Public Library
Equity oriented consciousness that leads to systemic change…