About our founder

Meet DIY Human's founder, Shari Foos

Shari Foos is a Marriage and Family Therapist, adjunct professor, writer and improvisational artist. After twenty years of private practice, she wanted to address the growing isolation and need for real connection in an increasingly technological world. While one-on-one therapy and counseling offer profound help, only groups can provide the sense of empowerment and belonging within a family or community. So in 2013, she founded The Narrative Method, a 501C3 with the mission to create group programs in which participants could see themselves in each other's stories, increasing empathy and mutual understanding. The effectiveness of hundreds of transformative workshops with at-risk populations including veterans, youth and disenfranchised women, was proven in a study by California State Northridge. Being able to feel seen and appreciated for who you really are increases empathy, broadens perspectives and builds the sense of belonging.

In 2018, she launched DIY Human in Santa Monica, a serious but lively living room environment serving up radical human connection. In addition to salons, DIY Human offers Zoom-Ins, classes and leadership trainings. The DIY Human Cards were designed to allow anyone to facilitate a group because "You don't need a license to use your humanity." The cards come in both English and bilingual Spanish/English and have been widely used in universities, businesses and social gatherings.

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Shari earned a MS in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University (2012), and a MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University Los Angeles (1997), where she is an adjunct professor teaching The Narrative Method. She also founded the Bridge Program at Antioch, a free year-long humanities course for adults who could not otherwise afford higher education.

 

Prior to becoming a therapist, Ms. Foos worked as a television and radio writer, improv artist and host, bringing together diverse artists and intellects for entertainment and creative dialogue. She serves on the boards of Coalition for Engaged Education and City Kids Foundation. She is a co-founder of IKAR LA.

Shari and DIY Human Cards

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The DIY Human Cards were born out of necessity.

 

We were attending the graduation ceremony for a group of homeless women who'd just completed The Narrative Method 12-Week Program. I'd trained the facilitators at one of our skid row partners' facilities in downtown Los Angeles. 

 

It was a tear-jerker! Each woman came up to the podium all dolled up- some of them receiving the first 'diploma' of any kind in their lives. They each spoke with joy and gratitude about how much they'd been impacted by the course and how wonderful it was connect deeply with each other.

They reported increased empathy through learning to closely listen and by imagining the world through the eyes of another. The camaraderie increased their optimism about what was possible for them in the future.

 

As I was leaving, a participant came up to me and said, "Thank you so much for this program. But what are we supposed to do now?" We needed to create a group process that folks could do on their won. It had to be simple and self-expanatory in a vernacular of spoken language that made it easy to relate to.

 

And it worked!

The DIY Human Cards are being used by universities nationally, underserved communities, businesses and diverse individuals.

It's not a game, it's an experience - a fascinating, connective and expansive experience.

You are an innovator and a connector of ideas-- what a brilliant, thought-

provoking set of cards.

Barbara N. MD, Ph.D.

Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University

The exercises facilitated with the DIY Human cards were really instrumental in creating strong bonds between the students. 

Eric P.

 

Wellness Counselor,

NYU Los Angeles

I think they will start a million conversations that will result in communication,

growth, connection and hugs.

Dan R.

Senior VP , Jewish Community Foundation

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©2020 DIY Human is a project of The Narrative Method, an award-winning non-profit offering programs that increase empathy and expand perspectives for many underserved communities, including veterans, youth and homeless. TNM also works in healthcare, higher education and K-12 teachers’ continuing education.