This month ended our mini grant experience. I am so grateful and thankful to have been chosen as a grant recipient. This was my first time writing and applying for a grant so I am extremely happy that I was able to have this experience. I originally went into this with thinking that I was going to have a partner to help with implementing/executing the project but my partner ended up leaving the agency so I was the main one in charge throughout the majority of the grant. It was very stressful and tiring at times to try to coordinate and plan everything on my own. I did have some support from co-workers for my events in June which was very appreciated as I don’t think these events would have been able to be pulled off without them. The final monthly workshop of dancing to drums was one of the better workshops that we have have throughout the series. The youth seemed to really enjoy it and be engaged. It also had one of our larger turnout of participants for our events. I really enjoyed watching the youth smile and interact with the facilitators. The changes in some of their affect was noticeable throughout the workshops. I hope to be able to partner with these facilitators again at some point. The June events went well overall. I wish there had been more participation and turn out from the youth but otherwise I think it was successful. I definitely had to pivot on half of my original ideas due to lack of participation from the youth. The LGBTQ event with the t-shirt making night and pride event turned into a tie dye t-shirt making night and going to the Palm Beach Pride Market. We had a good turn out for both of these events and the youth seemed to be overall happy and involved during the events. The multicultural event turned into partnering with Jeannette Brown who runs the Utterance Open Mic. Nights. This was to provide an opportunity for any youth who wanted to preform any of the skills they had worked on throughout the year a space to do so. There was one youth who attended and they have been talking about it every since. The Juneteenth event of having people turn in art or photos related to Black Lives Matter turned into attending a Juneteenth concert put on by Spady Museum at the Art’s Garage in Delray. There were no youth that attended but I enjoyed the experience. The Spot Anniversary event stayed pretty true to the original idea of having a lunch type event to celebrate the anniversary of the Spot building at Vita Nova. There were some youth that were able to attend and it was great to have the opportunity to show them the building and have them actually see some of the resources we have available for them in the building. I am optimistic that even though throughout the project there was limited participation that some seeds were planted and some memories were created for the youth. Even if the impact at this time seems small I am hopeful that it will grow over time and a ripple has been made in the water that can possibly turn into a wave. I know that my first grant experience won’t be one that I forget anytime soon.
The Healthier Jupiter Mini-Grant served as a catalyst for our organization to bring the benefits of boxing – exercise, discipline, and fun – to young students throughout the Jupiter area. The boxing program brought together students from all walks of life. The best part was seeing students laugh and learn lessons that they will be able to take with them for the rest of their lives. I believe I speak for other volunteers and coaches when I say it is incredibly rewarding to see a student experience a light bulb moment when they see how they can apply lessons learned through sports and apply those lessons to their daily lives.
Glee and wide-eyed enthusiasm are not typical descriptors of middle school students, but I can honestly say that’s what is seen on competition days. Five minutes of “fitness training” every class period has given most students the confidence and motivation to use their new skills to become class champions for the week. Even better, some participate to improve upon their personal best! When reluctant students state that they actually enjoyed competing I congratulate them for doing something outside their comfort zone. Having the students choose the events helps with “buy-in;” reflecting on what worked and didn’t strengthen critical thinking, persuasion, cooperation, and compromise which help improve the next iteration. Although many don’t like to complete the fitness homework log, I am frequently told about more time being spent being active than playing video games! Several students come into class excited for the “First5Fit!” workout, and the challenging behaviors have been reduced. On the days we have competitions, participation and performance on the weekly quiz increases for most students! This project has helped me as an educator as well as my own physical fitness and well-being. I have experienced growth in skills and confidence that I did not anticipate. Sharing the experience with my students has improved our relationship, which is key to student engagement. I look forward to continuing the practice as long as I am in the classroom!
I recently taught a Drum Circle Class at Vita Nova. Everyone learned the basic skills so quickly, leading to a very fluid session. I enjoyed getting to know everyone’s stories and how music played a role in their lives. My favorite moment was when each person shared a song that meant a lot to them; they then tried to duplicate the beat on their drums with everyone else following. I would definitely be open to working with Vita Nova in the future, they are an amazing group of people doing impactful work in our community.
Sister to Sister Palm Beach State College – In March we had two events. One was Nutrition. My name is Sherry Fletcher and I am the coordinator of the program but I am also a registered dietitian and we reviewed some information about the credentials of a dietitian/nutritionist and some basic nutrition information with Mentors and Mentees. It was interesting because one of the Mentors is our Director of our RN to BSN program. It was nice to see that she was backing up the information I was trying to get across to the audience and her knowledge about nutrition. We made a great team. Mentors and Mentees attended the final Money Skills sessions from PNC Bank at this session the discussion was how to protect yourself from fraud. It was interesting to hear how some of the students had the personal information almost stolen or altered. Many of the students felt that both sessions were beneficial to them.
I recently was really worried about the artist submissions for the ball. At first we have only 12 submissions. Then we had 24 submissions as of March 26. I was worried that we would not have a lot of people to sign up (since the Call to Art was over with on the 5th of April). Two days before the call ended, I was notified that we had over 108 submissions! This was all thanks to the marketing from myself, the reposting from different orgs like BeWell and the Arts Warehouse. I also spent time everyday emailing different artists and art galleries about the art call. So hard work pays off. On Friday, we started to narrow down the artwork. There are sooo many talented artists out there. Im so blessed to know that I played a small role in them submitting. Im happy they took the event seriously. Seeing 108 submissions really gave me back my motivation for the event.
For the Women Helping Women mini-grant, we’ve been very receptive in regards to client mental health needs during this difficult time as it relates to world affairs. Previously, we were offering virtual-only Zumba classes every Monday evening as a COVID-19 safety measure. Now that restrictions have been relaxed, we have recently been able to offer in-person Zumba classes at the park next to our site to great success. Originally, our numbers for virtual Zumba were small but steady. However, since we’ve started offering in-person classes, those numbers have been growing! Our participating clients love in-person Zumba classes and have commented on how helpful they’ve found the class. “I feel refreshed and energized, and I’ve been losing weight.”, said one 25-year-old client. “Attending classes in-person has been a breath of fresh air. “Every Monday evening, the Lake Worth West Park is flooded with women of all ages, dressed in athletic attire with the goal of living a healthier, less stressful, and wholesome day-to-day life. Everyone is all smiles from the time the music starts to the time it ends. Our Zumba instructor is lively and friendly, always happy to guide and help others through the steps. “I love Zumba!” she says. It’s certainly easy to tell from the energy she puts into the class instruction. By the time the class is over and it’s almost dinnertime, the participants part ways with a new outlook on health and fitness.
Vida Smith sharing her story of survival and struggle from domestic violence and being a homeless mother to a successful PhD candidate truly inspired me — as I listened to her story as part of Family Promise SPBC’s Sharing Survival Stories Saturday. My role at Family Promise is to interview the storyteller and prep them for going live or being recorded. Over the course of two days/six hours, I was enthralled with Vida’s story of leaving her homeland of Ghana and moving to the United States after getting married to a seemingly nice American man. Once here, she suffered terrible mental and physical abuse from a very controlling husband, who wanted to dominate her in every way – to the point, she was held hostage in her own house. When she had her daughters, the abuse worsened for her until one day with the help of an angel (her neighbor), she escaped with her children. Through local social services, Vida and her daughters were able to find housing and much needed help and guidance. Vida said that it is through her faith in God that she overcame this terrible situation. She decided to draw upon her inner strength to become the person and mother she wanted to be. She chose to be a role model to her daughters and not a victim. Today, she is working full-time AND earning her PhD in Leadership. How this story impacted me. Listening to her story, I thought how many other women, moms and children are out there – that go unnoticed as abused or trafficked. As a result, of her story (I’m getting emotional as I write), I have found a church that helps with abuse and human trafficking and aim to be an integral part of this mission.
My process is going better now that we have launched the art call. Since February, we have had over 12 organizations sign up to be involved, and over 25 artists have submitted to the art call.
Dovecot Farm hosted Barn to Bedside retreat for a leadership team from St Mary’s Hospital Medical Center on Wednesday 24th March.
We incorporated a blend of equine interactions, DISC self awareness, sound healing and drumming as well as HeartMath breathing techniques and nature therapy.
It was a full day retreat with much needed healing for our healers.
Many significant highlights from the team retreat. I think what was significant was using the DISC framework to bring up the burnout issue amongst our frontliners. There was transparency and openness in our discussion about ‘self-compassion’ matters. The S score difference on the natural and adapted columns indicate burnout / wear & tear. It allowed me to bring up burnout in a sensible, factual numbers-related way.
Second highlight is the massively popular feedback on the sound healing session. I incorporated an integral sound healing approach with multi-instruments. Wow. Every single participant went into a deeply meditative state of relaxation. I was concerned that sound healing may be perceived as too ‘woo woo’ for this audience. I was very surprised that the mix of releasing and harmonious sounds had a wonderful impact, re-booting their autonomic nervous systems. Delighted with the feedback. Barn to Bedside received wonderful feedback from all who came. I am over the moon.