Calm Clarity Achieves Preliminary Proof of Concept with College Pilot

Throughout 2014, the Calm Clarity Program was piloted with groups across a wide range of backgrounds and ages, all of whom responded positively. We ran professional development workshops for the Cabrini Mission Corps, the Wharton Alumni Club, Leadership Philadelphia, and Villanova University. We ran full programs for urban high school students from neighborhood schools in West Philadelphia and academic magnet schools like Masterman.  We initially pilot tested the program with college students at the University of Pennsylvania in spring 2014.  Then in fall 2014, the founder, Due Quach, taught Calm Clarity as a credit course as an adjunct professor at Cabrini College. Each pilot program provided an invaluable opportunity to gather feedback, refine the program, and design the program evaluation process.

The Cabrini College credit course provided the first opportunity to run the pre- and post- surveys developed to evaluate the program. The findings suggest that Calm Clarity had a significant positive impact on the college students.

The course was delivered as a mid-semester retreat over two consecutive weekends on November 8, 9, 15 and 16. The fifteen enrolled students (11 being first-generation college students) took the pre-survey prior to the course and the post-survey in early December around finals period. The validated assessment instruments consisted of the Brief Resilience Scale, the General Self-Efficacy Scale, and the PERMA-Profiler (a multi-dimensional measure of well-being developed by the Penn Positive Psychology Center) and a new multi-dimensional stress assessment instrument developed to measure peak stress levels and the frequency of toxic stress.

In this small preliminary pilot, statistically significant changes were seen in the mean scores for resilience (up 13%), self-efficacy (up 10%), positive emotions (up 15%), meaning and purpose (up 11%), negative emotions (down 20%), and loneliness (down 24%). There were also significant reductions in peak stress levels (down 14%) and frequency of toxic stress (down 24%).


These figures were strongly reinforced by testimonials from the students, such as those below.

“Since my mother had passed away right before I started college, I felt like giving up on life. But I knew that she wouldn’t want me to do that…Honestly, this class not only encouraged me to stay in school but to also focus on thinking positive and being a positive impact on others.”

~Freshman first-generation college student

“As a senior, I considered withdrawing from college because I was too stressed out. Since being engaged in Calm Clarity, I feel excited, more prepared and less stressed when it comes to graduating.”

~Senior first-generation college student

The course was very helpful, especially for the finals and exams I had after the course. It really helped me prepare and be more confident in myself.”

~Freshman first-generation college student

Calm Clarity’s progress thus far has been achieved in lean start-up fashion, bootstrapped and run by a one-person-team. The next steps include building the training capacity to run more programs and running a larger longitudinal study to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of the Calm Clarity Program. To achieve the social justice mission, it is necessary to raise funds, build a team, and develop collaborations with educational institutions.

Click here to see a 1 page summary of the findings: CalmClarity_CollegeSuccessSheet_2015_0126v1.0 

Written by duecalmclarity

Due Quach (pronounced “Zway Kwok”) is the founder of Calm Clarity, a social enterprise that uses science to help people across the socioeconomic spectrum master their minds and be their best self. A refugee from Vietnam and graduate of Harvard College and the Wharton MBA Program, Due overcame the long-term effects of poverty and trauma by turning to neuroscience and meditation. After building a successful career in management consulting and private equity investments, she created Calm Clarity to help more people overcome adversity and unlock their potential. Calm Clarity creates social impact by using revenues from corporate training services to deliver the same high quality training to disadvantaged groups such as low-income first-generation college students and inner city teenagers.

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