About Us

Our mission

Our mission is to support families in raising their children with self-regulation tools, communication skills, and empathy.  We teach families how to talk to their children about life’s most challenging topics in open-minded, nurturing, and developmentally appropriate ways.  And most importantly, we do it in an engaging way that excites children while also ensuring they feel connected and safe.

Our core values

Empowering children by respecting them and listening to their questions and thoughts.

Creating a positive family or classroom culture through rituals, safe spaces, and guided discussions on a range of topics.

Practicing self-care and self-grace as caregivers as well as seeking to understand our own beliefs and values as we learn how to guide our children in developing their own.

THIS sort of initiative is going to address the greatest need and struggle our youth are facing today!! As a school counselor, the amount of families and children I saw and worked with who needed support like this and were desperate to receive it (yet it just wasn’t available in the community) was sobering and defeating. This is very exciting!

Jamie, Oregon

RAISE Founders

We are two passionate educators who spent 15 years in the classroom combined. We were both struck by the social emotional needs of students and lack of tangible resources available. As teachers, our days were often centered around teaching social-emotional skills, alongside academics. Though some school-based curriculums are being developed to tackle these topics, there are few programs available for parents. Families of our students regularly asked us what tools we recommended for supporting social-emotional growth at home. We founded our company RAISE to fill this need.

Meredith Blunda, M.A.T.

CO-FOUNDER

I have a Master’s degree in Teaching from American University in Washington, DC; Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC; and am currently pursuing a certificate in School Leadership and Management from Harvard Graduate School.

I spent ten years teaching in elementary schools around the world: in Washington, DC; Milan, Italy; San Francisco, California; and Bend, Oregon. Both as a teacher and curriculum coordinator, I have had the opportunity to engage with students and teachers from preschool through fifth grade classrooms.

As I transitioned out of the classroom, what resonated with me most is the need for connection in our world. Our society is becoming more and more complex each day with amazing advances being made, but what matters most is how people come together and relate to each other. 

I am most inspired by my experiences in Reggio-Emilia, Italy where they follow an approach that places children at the center of the learning process and emphasizes strong relationships between parents, teachers, and children. 

I’m excited to bring my experiences to RAISE and to be a part of a community that values connection, authenticity, and an enriching environment for learning and loving.

Erin Swanson, M.Ed.

CO-FOUNDER

I have a Master’s degree in Education and Teaching Credential from Stanford University. I received my Bachelor’s in English from Bucknell University. During my years as a classroom teacher in both public and private schools, I taught a range of ages from Kindergarten to fifth grade. I am currently finishing a certification to teach children’s yoga. 

Prior to teaching, I worked with children with autism, Down syndrome, and  life-threatening illnesses at organizations built to support children with unique needs, such as The Paul Newman Hole in the Wall Camps, Special Camp for Special Kids, and Brainy Camps. 

Through my wide range of experiences with children, I have discovered that social emotional skills are paramount to a child’s development and happiness. In the classroom, I have used various social emotional approaches and curriculum. This transformed my teaching and the experience of my students. Over the years, a common need I saw was supporting students in talking about difficult topics, such as a student experiencing the loss of a loved one or troubling current events. I would spend hours on the computer trying to find tangible, helpful resources to use in the classroom and send home to families. That’s when Meredith and I realized there is a need for a social emotional curriculum at home. I look forward to continuing this work with your family!