relational facilitators

for collective liberation

An intensive training program for movement leaders, healers, tenders and weavers.

Tending to the Heart of Our Movements

Spring Cohort:
Opening Retreat Sunday, April 16th
Ten Sessions: Thursdays, April 20th-June 22nd | 11:30a - 1:30p ET

This program is designed to help nurture a network of facilitators committed to strengthening the relational tissue of our intersecting movements for liberation. 

We know the work of tending to the relational tissue of our movements is often invisibilized, or seen as less valuable or less urgent than political wins and strategic outcomes. We are here to affirm the work of our movement healers and tenders, and provide facilitators with a robust framework and compelling relational tools that foster confidence and competence in this work. We’re excited to invite you to weave with us!

Building Cultures of Liberatory Practice

Our Relational Facilitators Program is designed to help folks build compassionate cultures of practice within their movements, communities, and organizations by learning to weave care-based, anti-oppressive, and healing-centered pedagogies—grounded in our CourageRISE model—into their leadership and facilitation.

Participants learn to:

    • develop relational tools for strengthening connection and belonging;
    • strengthen their structural competency and fluency in anti-oppressive pedagogies;
    • apply tools for healing and transforming harm and oppression;
    • expand their vision for more joyful, responsive and regenerative communities; and
    • integrate their personal and collective liberation practices in sustainable ways. 

Upon completion of the program, participants are invited to join our growing Courage Kin skill share and practice community.

Who This Program is For

We welcome all folks with facilitation experience—including trainers, mediators, DEI professionals, community organizers, educators, NGO leaders, coaches and healers—who are both grounded in healing-centered and counter-oppressive practice and are already embedded in communities and/or organizations in which they can bring this work forward in meaningful and impactful ways. We recognize that not all facilitators are formally recognized as such, and we encourage folks doing the often invisible work of relational culture building to join us!

What Folks Do With the Training

Folks go on to do extraordinary projects that incorporate the principles of the Courage of Care approach. Some highlights include: leading peace-building projects in Colombia; building compassionate, just school communities; leading regenerative culture programming within emerging political movements; and teaching relational compassion in diverse faith communities.

Learn more at the links below!

ecological justice for climate activists

compassion and justice in schools

anti-oppressive restorative justice training

Colombia Peace-building project

The Solidarity Fellowship

We are pleased to offer 5 reduced tuition scholarships to facilitators from and currently living in the global south. 

Interested applicants should be deeply engaged in facilitating counter-oppressive and healing centered work in their organizations and movements, and willing to join our peer practice community following the training.

Our Team

We love this work! This year’s program will be co-held by Brooke Lavelle and Maha El-Sheikh with guest facilitation and presentations from our beloved circle of Courage facilitators.

Brooke Lavelle


Brooke is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Courage of Care Coalition. She holds a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies and Cognitive Science from Emory University, an M.A. in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism from Columbia University and a B.A. in Religion and Psychology from Barnard College. Her academic work focuses on the diversity of contemplative models for cultivating compassion as well as the ways in which spiritual practice and social activism inform one another.

Brooke has consulted to various human rights, educational and spiritual organizations, and has experience leading national and international political, educational and climate justice projects. She consults to the International Solidarity Matters Project, is a fellow at the Mind and Life Institute and the Institute of Advanced Sustainability Studies in Germany, and has led courses on compassion-based approaches to anti-oppressive education at the University of Virginia and San Francisco State University. Through her work at Courage or in her neighborhood of Gowanus, Brooklyn, Brooke remains steadfastly committed to building alternatives to the status quo.

Maha headshot

Maha El-Sheikh


With 20 years working in the international humanitarian sector, Maha’s work currently focuses on the social injustices underlying our global crises. As a facilitator, she is inspired by 15 years living and working in Palestine and Lebanon, learning how connection to heart, beloved community, mutual aid, joy, and compassion can serve as antidotes to oppression, colonization, injustice and violence. She is the co-founder of the first non-profit, volunteer-run yoga center in Palestine, and brings her experience in studying and teaching trauma-informed yoga, somatics, and meditation to explore the interconnection of healing, social transformation, and justice. 

Maha serves as Co-Director of Courage of Care, and a member of the International Solidarity Movement, where she partners with relational facilitators and leaders in the economic, racial and climate justice movements. She also partners with international humanitarian groups to reimagine aid through compassion-centered, counter-oppressive frameworks.

Program Dates and Requirements

Spring Cohort:
Opening Retreat Sunday, April 16th
Ten Sessions: Thursdays, April 20th-June 22nd | 11:30a - 1:30p ET


The Spring 2023 program will begin with a half day opening retreat on Sunday, April 16th. Thereafter, the cohort will meet for 10 consecutive weeks beginning Thursday, April 20th and ending Thursday, June 22nd.

Sessions will meet from 11:30-1:30pm ET / 3:30-5:30pm UTC.  NYC time is our anchor time, so please note that session times may shift during daylight savings depending on your global location. (Find your timezone here!)

Participants will also be assigned to a small pod for the duration of the program. Pods will be encouraged to meet weekly for about one hour to support reflection and integration, and to build community. Pods will choose the time they meet as schedules permit.


Interested participants should have at least 2 years of experiencing facilitating relational culture in their community or organization (see above for the array of roles that fall under the umbrella of facilitation!). Folks should also have familiarity with our CourageRISE model. Folks who have completed any of our prior Summer Intensives, past Leaders or Healers programs, our Ecological Justice Course and/or our Radical Communion course meet this requirement.

Those who have not attended a Courage training before should be sure our approach resonates with you by taking one of our CourageRISE self-study online courses available via our online practice community. You can also read more about our CourageRISE model and watch a short video on “Our Approach” page here on our website.

What It Costs

We offer a sliding scale registration fee for our courses and workshops in service of economic justice. We also offer payment plans as needed to support accessibility.

We understand that access to resources is a result of institutionalized white supremacy, capitalism and colonization.

A sliding scale fee structure allows white folks and others who have systematically benefited from these unjust and inequitable systems to practice reparations within our community by acknowledging Black, Indigenous and People of Color for their generations of stolen land and resources.

We also know that privilege is intersectional and that not all white folks have access to generational wealth or class privilege. We ask that you take your privilege and access to resources into account when determining your registration fee. 

Folks registering on behalf of an organization or with professional development funds should register at the tier that aligns with their organization’s operating budget (e.g. $3600 for orgs with annual operating budgets of $1M or more; $2700 for orgs with budgets under $1M). You may find this template helpful when requesting professional development funds from your organization. 

Pay it Forward Tuition is $3600. We ask those with access to inherited wealth and those with financial means to contribute to our redistribution fund. We also ask that those being supported by organizations with annual operating budgets of $1M or more register at this rate. Paying this fee enables us to offer sliding scale tuition to other members of our community in ways that sustain our team and our work.

Full tuition is $2700. We ask white folks and those with class privilege (eg raised in middle-upper class homes and/or making over $62,000 per year), access to financial resources and/or access to organizational professional development funds to please pay the full course fee. We also ask that those being directly supported by organizations with annual operating budgets under $1M to register at this rate. Paying the full fee helps us cover costs and make the program accessible to others with less financial resources.

Work exchange tuition is $1800. We offer several reduced fee tuitions annually based on financial need and skills offered. We encourage folks interested in work-exchanges to apply early as these slots are limited and fill quickly.

BIPOC tuition is $900. We invite BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) folks to register at our scholarship fee. 

Need more financial support? We are committed to work with you to make this training accessible. Reach out to us to request an application for reduced tuition, or to request a payment plan.

Early bird discount! Complete your registration by March 16th and receive up to $200 off your tuition!

What Folks Say

Hear from some of our Courage Kin about the program!

application Deadlines

Registration is open now through Friday, April 7th, unless the cohort fills prior to that date!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a certification program?

No. We are happy to offer you a certificate of completion for the training upon request, but this training does not “certify” you to teach Courage’s model. It will prepare you to offer an introductory CourageRISE course in your community. On our view, it takes years to develop the capacity to teach this work in its full depth, and that level of training cannot be completed in one semester.  We are also interested in moving away from the highly transactional certificate world, and instead are interested in building a community of practice. We trust that folks attending this training are committed to building collaborative practices and that we will co-learn together along this journey.

what are the pre-requisites?

Interested participants should have experience with the CourageRISE model. Folks who have completed any of our prior Summer Intensives, past Leaders or Healers programs, our Ecological Justice Course and/or our Radical Communion course meet this requirement. Folks who have not attended a prior training with us should take our free online CourageRISE course available here



How much Prep time outside of the live sessions is expected?

We anticipate a minimum of 1 hour and 40 minutes will be needed per week in addition to the weekly Tuesday meetings. 

We will provide a variety of background reading and multimedia materials and resources on a weekly basis in preparation for the week’s session. While the amount of time spent engaging with these materials will vary per person depending on previous knowledge, interest, capacity, etc,  we estimate that time needed could range from 40 minutes to 2 hours per week. 

In addition, we will create sub-groups – or “pods” – which are invited to meet on a weekly basis – beyond our Tuesday sessions – for approximately 1 hour. Pods will provide space for more in-depth discussion and practice in smaller groups. Pods will self-organize in terms of timing and frequency of meetings.

what will i learn?

The outcome of the program is that you will be able to apply and use the CourageRISE framework and the various compassion-based, anti-oppressive, healing-centered, trauma-informed pedagogies, methodologies and practices in your work.

Our intention is that you will leave this program:

  • ready to assess folks’ readiness for multi-identity coalition work, and whether more healing and/or affinity work is needed before coming together

  • with renewed capacity to hold space lovingly and sustainably

  • more confident stepping into uncomfortable, difficult situations – including conflict

  • with capacity to embrace complexity and different possibilities for the future in a way that feels possible and less overwhelming

  • feeling more connected to an international network and community of relational facilitators and activists that will hold and support you in your work.