Shanti Project

The Shanti ModelTM

Founded in 1974 by Dr. Charles Garfield, Shanti has been at the forefront of a growing national movement to enhance the quality of life for persons living with life-threatening or chronic illnesses by providing volunteer-based emotional and practical support.

Shanti is a Sanskrit word meaning "inner peace" or "tranquility". It is an appropriate name since, ultimately, all of Shanti's direct service and educational programs are aimed at easing the burdens and improving the well-being of people in difficult life situations.

Key to the success of Shanti's mission is the Shanti Model of Peer Support, which is both a philosophy and a set of techniques that are used throughout our work. It is a way of being with another person that frees both parties to be fully who they are and communicate their feelings to one another. It is a way of being which allows two persons to meet as equals. It is a way of relating to others that is characterized by certain values and attitudes.

Definition of Peer
We define peer as someone who is not necessarily like us in obvious ways, but is someone with whom we share a basic humanity; someone with whom we are equals. All people share universal human experiences. By virtue of this shared humanity, we are all peers. The Shanti Model of Peer Support is based on this equality.

Values Underlying the Shanti Model of Peer Support

  • mutual respect
  • positive regard
  • empowerment of the client (the assumption that the client has the solutions to his or her own problems and does not need your advice of direction)
  • genuineness (being oneself, authenticity)
  • acceptance of differences (does not mean agreement, but acceptance based on respect)
  • empathy (allowing oneself to feel with another person)
  • intention to be of service

Techniques and Activities to Realize the Shanti Model of
Peer Support

  • Listening from the heart (listening with an open heart, being willing to be touched by another, willing to engage with another person's emotions)
  • Speaking from the heart (speaking authentically, honest self-expression)
  • Acting from the heart in service to another person (acting based on compassion, caring, and an intention to be of service)

Our Mission

Shanti Project exists to enhance the health, quality of life and well-being of people with terminal, life-threatening or disabling illnesses or conditions. Through a continuum of services, including in-home and onsite patient and care navigation, emotional and practical support and preserving the human-animal bond, Shanti strives to achieve the highest medical and quality of life outcomes for San Francisco’s most vulnerable.

Our Values

We embrace the Shanti model of peer support, which advocates listening, speaking, and acting from the heart in service to other people.

We create relationships based on the Shanti model that are actively demonstrated by mutual respect, positive regard, non-judgmental behavior, genuineness, acceptance of differences, empathy, and intention to be of service.

We acknowledge the unique value that each of us contributes to the success of Shanti, and we respect each other as individuals.

We assert that mindful, honest communication accelerates, enhances, and enriches our potential as individuals and as an agency, and we are committed to listening to each voice.

We celebrate diversity as a strength, and we encourage learning from others who may be different from us. We provide a safe place for diversity to flourish.

We share in this community of Shanti as an inclusive agency; we also respect that at times we each need to set boundaries without fear of being cast out.

We take pride in our commitment to our work and we honor the generous gifts of time, energy, and humor that our colleagues bring to our mission.

We affirm that each department and program at Shanti acts as a pillar that supports an architecture of compassion.