Upcoming Programs and Events

Please check here for upcoming Communitas programs, retreats, workshops, and events. If you have an idea for an workshop, program, or event, please email us at communitasprogram@gmail.com


Communitas 10-Session mind-body & resilience group visit @ UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine

This transformative integrative health program is for 9-21 year-olds living with a chronic physical health condition and their parents/guardians.

Teens and parents meet in separate groups and learn various mind-body and mindfulness techniques to reduce stress, manage symptoms, cultivate resilience, and go deeper into what really matters — all in a supportive group of peers.

Each session consists of a meditation, a lesson on a mind-body technique, an experiential exercise, an opportunity for sharing in a group, and social time.

Examples of techniques taught include:

  • meditation
  • mindfulness practices
  • biofeedback
  • breath-work
  • positive reappraisal
  • guided imagery
  • movement
  • self-hypnosis
  • self-expression/communication
  • Health nutritional principles
  • Using art and writing to deal with emotions

9-13 year olds: 10 Tuesdays 3:15-5:15 PM, starting SEPT 12TH 

14-21 year olds: 10 Wednesdays 3:15-5:15PM, starting SEPT 6TH

Please email brittany.blockman@ucsf.edu for more information or to learn how to enroll.

Communitas Health Retreat for Teens Living with Chronic Illness and Their Caregivers


Communitas Health is partnering with Commonweal, The Healing Kitchens Institute, and Kids & Caregivers to host our 2nd immersive, residential long-weekend retreat for teens living with chronic illness and their caregivers. This retreat will be held June 19-23rd, 2019 at the gorgeous and magical Commonweal Retreat Center in Bolinas, California, at the edge of the Point Reyes National Seashore. This retreat will serve 8-10 teens living with illness and 8-10 of their caregivers.

The retreat will build on the successful prior Communitas programs and provide teens and their caregivers with an immersive, lived experience of practicing mind-body skills, healthy and healing lifestyle modalities, and creative/reflective practices in a community of similar peers. There will be plenty of opportunities for rest, rejuvenation, and fun in a natural setting. Food will be healthy, delicious, and nourishing!

Specifically, we will have sessions led by integrative health experts, nutritionists, artists, naturalists, and group facilitators on:

  • Mind-body medicine skills (i.e. meditation, mindfulness, guided imagery) that are known to improve physical and mental wellbeing
  • Stress management, relaxation, self-care, and wellness for kids and caregivers
  • Culinary medicine education and hand-on cooking workshops
  • Yoga, tai chi, and mindful movement
  • Acupressure for relaxation during the retreat and learning skills to use at home
  • Creative arts, including visual (painting/drawing), writing/journaling, and music
  • Nature walks
  • Supportive group sharing

Please note that this retreat is an educational program, not a medical treatment program. The Communitas Health Retreat is a program of Commonweal(a 501c3).


  • This retreat is for 14-19 year olds living with a chronic physical condition (such as cancer, autoimmune condition, lung disease, diabetes, etc) and one of their parents.
  • The retreat will work best for people who understand what the retreat is and believe they would benefit from participating.
  • All participants must meet the following eligibility criteria:
    • Must be medically stable enough to spend 4 nights in a rural retreat setting
    • Must be under the care of a physician
    • Must be able to communicate needs independently
    • Must be able to be away from family members for at least 2 hours or more at a time
    • Must be able to function and participate in a group setting
    • Must have a minimum developmental age of 5 years
    • We are able to accommodate one family with a wheelchair for this retreat due to the site’s limited wheelchair accessibility.


Our hope is that the retreat all leads to improving life quality and health outcomes, promoting life-long wellness for the whole family, reducing symptoms and stress through self-care practices, creating a sense of meaning/purpose in the face of adversity, and experiencing community with others in similar situations. We envision this retreat as a transformative experience that will allow teens and their caregivers to harness the power of illness to be an opportunity for health-enhancement, human connection, and resilience-building in a natural, healing setting. We also hope the retreat is an opportunity for families facing serious illness to build a lasting, supportive peer community and make life-long friends “who really get it.”


Following are some testimonials from previous retreat participants:

“The retreat was enlightening, amazing, and a way to gain new family members. You get to meet people who are going through similar things like you and create strong bonds in just a few days. All the people there truly want the best and nothing but the best for you.” —16 year-old participant

“This retreat is a healing space. My family had the most amazing experience, and we were blown away by what we learned. I feel blessed that we were part of the first Communitas Health retreat.”—Mother/Caregiver

 “I learned that I am not alone and that I have people who truly care. I have amazing new friends and a support system. I would love to do this more often.” — 14 year-old participant

 “The retreat was transformative, supportive, nurturing. I am overwhelmed with the generosity, organizing, warmth, creativity, expertise and the fun that went into planning and running this retreat. My heart is filled with gratitude.” —Mother/Caregiver


  • FREE!
  • Full scholarships are being offered to everyone thanks to generous philanthropic & organizational support + staff volunteerism.

FOR INFORMATION OR TO APPLY: communitasretreat@gmail.com

Please also contact us if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to support this retreat program.

THANK YOUS to the following organizations for their partnerships and generosity: