The Bodhana Group

The Bodhana Group exists, and the world is better for it. If you have not heard of them, then you’re about to have that enviable experience of learning about them for the first time.

I first learned of The Bodhana Group when executive director Jack Berkenstock was interviewed by the folks at Saving the Game. Jack is great at talking about his passion, and I’ll just link a video below of him doing just that.

(Oh yeah, they also run an annual local gaming convention called Save Against Fear as a fundraiser.)

The Bodhana Group uses tabletop games therapeutically, in particular with children, including children who are victims and perpetrators of sexual violence. So they use something I treasure, gaming, to help some of the most vulnerable children as well as people who our society so often abandons. In a country where convicted sex offenders live beneath bridges in Florida, The Bodhana Group works to heal through the power of games.

Not long ago I was made inordinately proud to become a member of the Board of The Bodhana Group. I don’t think of myself as much of a joiner, and it’s still weird to do something like be on a Board of anything. But I’m happy to be part of The Bodhana Group, to help them however I can.

One thing I’m going to help them with is a book they are putting together about therapeutic gaming. I got to go through a copy for an editing pass, and in a group as small as Bodhana I might actually be the most experienced writer and editor. The other project I want to help with is a board game they are designing. It’s been a while since I was in on a game design project, at least one that is headed to publication, so I’m excited about that opportunity.

In the meantime, it seems like Bodhana is in the midst of some rapid and exciting growth. They just relocated to a new HQ, which is pretty cool, and have been contracted by more than one organization to run therapeutic games. They recently had a training day for volunteers, and of course we’re all looking forward to Save Against Fear, featuring Bodhana’s first celebrity guest, Martin Klebba.

Back to the beginning, though, when I first heard about the existence of The Bodhana Group – I felt better about the world. I felt like it was a place with more good in it than I’d previously realized. It came at a time in my life that was very hard, when I really needed some good news. The Bodhana Group is good news. I’m so glad to be a part of it.

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