Journey to Paradise: From Wildfire Devastation to Community Healing

On November 8, 2018, the most destructive wildfire in California history passed through the Paradise Ridge area, displacing over 50,000 people and destroying more than 11,000 homes. 

In the aftermath of the fire, Mindful Littles responded, creating its very first Mindful Care Kits for children experiencing trauma and bringing them to local students.

2019-2020: The Mindful Littles Impact: Our Journey into Paradise

Facilitating a districtwide mindful community service project, Mindful Littles empowered 1,800 Bay Area elementary school students to assemble and hand-deliver  Peace Kits for students in Paradise. The impact from this initial project was so strong that Paradise school leaders welcomed Mindful Littles as we launched a Healing Initiative to work on an ongoing basis with the trauma-impacted students across three elementary schools. This became the genesis of a multi-year engagement in the region that still continues today. 

Watch this video to learn more about our miraculous journey into Paradise.

“This program has been helpful for our students who are still in crisis after the fire. It has given them tools to help them cope with the pressure and their feelings.”

Paradise Elementary School Teacher

2020-2021: Sustaining Compassion and Growth Through a Global Pandemic

Since the first visit to Paradise, Mindful Littles remained a steadfast source of support for the local school community. In the midst of a global pandemic, Mindful Littles sustained and expanded its healing initiative in the Paradise school community through virtual programs and mindful service learning programs. With Butte County Office of Education (BCOE) funding supported through a federal SAMHSA grant, plus funding from North Valley Community Foundation, Mindful Littles programs continued.

Mindful Littles staff and local corporate volunteers helped assemble and distribute 2,000 Peace Kits to help Paradise students to practice mindfulness at home while in person school remained closed. In addition, Mindful Littles brought several outdoor, in-person community service projects to Paradise students to support local first responders and teachers.

2021-2022: Mindful Service Learning On the Ridge

As schools reopened, Mindful Littles supplemented its classroom curriculum with in-person service learning projects. With funding from Raleys, Safeway, and North Valley Community Foundation, Mindful Littles formed a partnership with North State Food Bank to bring school-wide Meal Assembly projects, Kids Farmers Markets, and school learning gardens to the community.

Students helped assemble more than 52,000 meals to community members in need. During this spring, Mindful Littles also engaged its first intern from Chico State University and developed a close advisory partnership with the university.  

2022-2023: Expansion Across Butte County

With the continued success of our programs, Mindful Littles expanded its partnership network collaborating with Butte County Office of Education CalKidz. Through this partnership, Mindful Littles reached over 3,000 students across 8 schools in Butte County with Mindful Community Service programs. We also piloted our first mindful STEAM project – orange peel birdfeeders – into our programming to teach about ways to take care of the earth by reusing food waste.

2024 & Beyond: Butte County Expansion Continues

As Mindful Littles integrates more closely with CalKidz, we have a vision of growing our nourishment programs across the region, reaching thousands of students, teachers, and communities.

The journey of Mindful Littles into Paradise is one of miracles. What began as a story of compassionate action from one community to another is now an ongoing school program supporting the students, teachers, families, and community in Paradise.

Learn how your school or community can make a difference.

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