Guiding Principles

Self-determination, Respect, and Genuine Human Relationships

Contact Us

Kiva Centers’ Guiding Principles


The Kiva Centers Mission is to support individuals who have lived experience with trauma, mental health challenges, substance use and/or extreme states. These principles apply to all of our spaces and to any other workshops, trainings, classes, groups or individual interactions that occur under the Kiva Centers’ umbrella.

Core Values 

The Kiva Centers’ Core Values are Safety & Privacy, Respect, Optimism, Self-Determination and Personal Strength, Mutuality, and Genuine Human Relationships.

Confidentiality is an expectation. Everyone is expected to keep private information learned about individuals at any Kiva Centers location and/or virtual meeting.
Kiva Centers strives to make all spaces accessible to all. This means using wheelchair and other mobility device accessible spaces,  and scheduling interpreters and groups in other languages.
Kiva Centers are  trauma-informed and ask individuals to be mindful of activating others including avoiding smelling of alcohol and/or other substances. This also means being mindful of not having alcohol or other substances on your person at any time when at the Kiva Centers or a Kiva event.
Kiva Centers expects that members of its community will validate and attempt to accommodate each individual’s needs to feel safe. This may mean walking someone to their car when it’s dark out, or making other efforts to support each person to feel safe based on their expressed needs.
Kiva Centers uses non-violent conflict resolution. It is anticipated that any individuals at a Kiva Centers location who have a conflict with one another will address the conflict directly to the relevant individuals whenever possible, and without the use of yelling, gossiping or physical aggression, and that individuals in general will be open to talking through conflicts with one another.
Kiva Centers will respect the physical, sexual, and personal boundaries of each member. This means that each member of the Kiva community has the right to determine when they do or don’t want to be hugged or touched in any way, and what sorts of relationships they wish to engage in with others in the community.
Above all else, Kiva expects each individual to treat others as they would wish to be treated. This means treating each other and each other’s belongings with respect, compassion and kindness at all times.
Kiva Centers aspire to use the most inclusive and respectful language at all times. Everyone will be encouraged to use person-first and/or identity-first, strengths-based language and to avoid using one-word labels when referring to others in the Kiva community.
Kiva Centers encourages shows of gratitude and appreciation for all other members of the community. Individuals are encouraged to go out of their way whenever possible to thank others for their contributions, including those with whom they might not always get along.
Kiva Centers will respect all differences of opinion, beliefs, culture, appearances and ways of life. This means treating everyone with dignity, respect and as a valued individual, as well as encouraging learning, openness and conversations about different beliefs and cultures. We will not ostracize or put down any individual based on their race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, disability, size and/or other aspects of their appearance, religious beliefs and so on.
Kiva Centers believes that healing and recovery is probable for all individuals. This means that all individuals will be welcomed to Kiva spaces and be treated with the belief that they have the power and ability to achieve their hopes and dreams.
Kiva Centers will treat individuals who are struggling with compassion. This means that the Kiva recognizes that all people have their own struggles. The community will reach out to them in times of need and always welcome them back with open arms and without judgment.
All members of Kiva Centers will define their own path to ‘recovery.’ This means that all members of the Kiva Centers will always have the power to determine their own goals, and to define for themselves the very meaning of the word ‘recovery’ as it applies to their own life.
Kiva will not preach any one way of getting well. The Kiva Centers will focus on education about options and support for each other’s choices, and will never limit itself to any one model or approach.
Kiva Centers will treat each individual as capable in their ability to set guidelines for themselves. Hence, our centers will avoid setting too many ‘rules’ and/or micro-managing situations and relationships because we believe in each individual’s strength and wisdom to make their own choices, express their own likes and dislikes and identify their own needs without the overuse of rules and guidelines to dictate that process.
There are no ‘service providers’ and ‘service recipients’ at the Kiva Centers. It is assumed that all individuals who come to the Kiva Centers for support will also give support to another at some point and that each individual will not only approach the Kiva Centers with the attitude of what they can get but also what they can give.
We are not nor do we strive to be ‘clinical’ workers. Kiva Centers are a community of people supporting people who have been through similar struggles, all on equal ground. We will not attempt to act as therapists or clinicians. We will be ‘professionals’ in peer support, and above all else, in regards to the expertise that we have about ourselves.
We are all leaders in our Community. This does not mean that each person must necessarily take turns at facilitating meetings, organizing campaigns and/or being the point person for a given activity. What it means is that as each of us empowers ourselves to move, question, change, act and be hopeful we thereby (intentionally or not) inspire others in our community to do the same – and then we are leaders.
Kiva Centers is founded on our ‘humanness’ and the importance of forming genuine connections with other human beings. This means that individuals in our community will be encouraged to form connections with each other as they develop naturally and to use the connection with this community as an opportunity to build or strengthen their natural support systems.
Photo of Shulamith Jacobi

Human Rights Officer 

Shulamith Acevedo (She/They)

Kiva Centers

Monday-Thursday: 10:00am – 6:00pm ET

Fridays: 12:00pm – 6:00pm ET

 Human Rights

We expect everyone to work together in a collaborative manner to en-sure that rights are understood and respected. See the info table on Human Rights, learn more from our Human Rights Officers, or go to and click on “policies and forms.”

The Six Fundamental Rights

Ensures all clients have the right to:

  1. Make and receive confidential phone calls.
  2. Send and receive unopened, sealed mail.
  3. Receive visitors.
  4. A humane psychological and physical environment.
  5. Special visitors or phone calls with attorneys, legal advocates, social worker, psychologist or clergy.
  6. Reasonable access to fresh air.

Contact us today at (508) 751-9600 for information about our programs.