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.
Healthier Jupiter’s mini grant opened the the door to exercise for low income at risk kids.
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.
I am so grateful to have received my first ever grant from Healthier Neighbors in such a time of need. Also, I am grateful that my introduction to applying for a grant was smooth. As a recipient of the grant it has truly allowed me to make the necessary enhancements to my business for growth. During a pandemic so many people had to pivot personally and professionally, and my grant experience allowed me to do both. Not only was I applying for funds, I had to help others understand the importance of what GLOWrious Bath & Body was on a mission to do. The trainings provided, the encouragement given, and the sense of community definitely helped me charge forward. Fast forward, the funds has been exercised to great use by providing me with a more seamless interface to interact with my consumers. Lastly and more importantly, I have established and continue to build lasting relationships with those I’ve met along the journey. Again, I am so grateful that this experience has been pleasant and edifying.
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.
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.
There have been three workshops that have occurred since the first sensemaker update I believe. There wasn’t the turnout of youth that I was hoping for and it has been very hard to get to youth to come to the events. At the beginning of the grant I had another co-worker helping with the grant. They are no longer with the company so that has been an added difficulty as they are not longer they to help with coordinating the events. The poetry event was awesome. It was amazing to work on the community poems. I loved how they all turned out and were each so unique. I have my on my bulletin board in my office. It was such a great way to get insight into some of our youth without having to be serious or have some sit down in depth discussion. It made me feel and I hope it helped others to feel part of a community and valued. To know that someone (hopefully) put thought into what you, then others, had written before adding to your poem was very special. I would have to be able to do this again in the future. This seemed to be the workshop that had the most youth at it and that the youth seemed to enjoy the most. I gave the youth blank notebooks at the end of the workshop and I am really hoping that they will continue to use writing as a creative outlet. The photography workshop went nothing like planned. I wanted to have the youth get their headshots taken and talk about how you can express yourself thought photos, what you can learn about someone through a photo, and how to show your/ help others express their unique personality in a photo. There were only a few youth that showed up and a majority of them did not want headshots taken so the facilitators had to improve and mainly focused on what to do when taking photos of others. The advantage of this was that the facilitators were able to talk about how to get to know the subjects you are photographing and helping them get comfortable and express themselves. I was then able to turn this back to the importance of expressing our true selves. They also were able to discuss the value of capturing organic moments. The monologue event was great. It was a zoom online workshop due to covid numbers being higher at that time. I had accidentally made the event on Eventbrite public for a period of time. We ended up having a youth from Germany join us. It was amazing to see that even though the youth that attended didn’t know each other they were able to seem comfortable with each other in a short period of time. It was such a heartwarming experience to watch them practicing their monologues and amazing to watch them perform them for the group at the end. The next workshop is coming up soon and while I am excited I am also nervous about the attendance. I want to maximize the mini grants funds and help as many youth as I can. I hope that the last three workshops and the events in June have a bigger turn out and that they are able to reach more youth to have as much as an impact on the youth in the county as possible.
Family Caregiver One (FC1): “Amazing, thank you so much”. This is one of the initial response Each Starfish Matters (ESM), received from FC1 after she received a care package. As we listened, we heard that FC1 is caring for her mother. Her mother is 84 years old and is experiencing the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. FC1 does not have any siblings and she has a fulltime job. Luckily for FC1 her work schedule is flexible. However, the demands of her job required that some of her meetings were late evening. She told us that her lifestyle now resolves around her mother’s daily needs. FC1 indicated to us that her work schedule was now being driven by her mother’s needs. As we continued to support FC1 we learned that she is now having all meetings by early afternoon and in some cases she has asked her contacts to allow her to meet with them on the weekends. FC1 is trying to maintain own her lifestyle and her job while coping with the new demands of family caregiving. As we closed out the grant, FC1 thanked us for her last care package and told us that other family members had taken the “cute” face masks which were included in the package. (Each Starfish Matters)
Working on Center for Child Counseling’s training, Healing the Healers: Creating Happy Healthy Healers and a Happy Healthy Workforce, during this global pandemic has been an interesting and eye-opening endeavor. In our lifetime, there has never been a more challenging time in health and mental health care in terms of the major stressors professionals and clients/patients alike are experiencing at the same time. Working as a helper/healer has always been a challenging and stressful career choice, although for those who survive and thrive in such careers long-term, we also find tremendous reward, satisfaction, and joy from our work. However, with the stress of COVID-19, as well as other concurrent stressors (racial unrest/violence, rise in hate speech and hate crimes, political polarization and upheaval) that we have experienced in the US in the past year, there has been significant rise in the need for both health and mental health care, pushing our medical mental health institutions/providers to the limit, and significantly and adversely impacting the well-being of many of helpers/healers, for example, increased rates of anxiety, depression, acute and posttraumatic stress disorder, and suicide seen in frontline healthcare workers.For helping and healing professionals, it has always been important for us to think and talk about stress, vicarious trauma, burnout, compassion fatigue, stress management, compassion satisfaction, resilience building, self-regulation, and self-care, although it is often overlooked or under-focused upon by our training programs, as well as supervisors and administrators in the institutions and agencies where we work. Honestly, I personally have significant regrets that I did not spend enough time on these topics in the many years I was an administrator overseeing and supervising a team of child trauma therapists. It is easy to overly focus on our interventions/treatments with our clients, measuring outcomes, paperwork, billing, etc., but doing so without concurrently focusing on the topics included in our Healing the Healers training is very short-sighted. Client care and health of our organizations/institutions directly relates to health and well-being of the individual workers. In the current climate, our need to focus on these topics is greatly magnified and must be in the forefront of our conversations as helpers/healers. The overused, but nevertheless very important analogy of putting your own oxygen mask on a plane during an emergency before helping others with theirs rings abundantly true today! Plus, the good news is that even in the face of COVID-19 and other concurrent societal stressors, there are strategies to combat stress on an individual and organizational level that can dramatically improve the well-being of all helpers/healers, including those most vulnerable to stress, and this, in turn, will lead to improved care of all of clients/patients and healthier, better-functioning organizations. With that being said, once our team completed a first draft of our Healing the Healers presentation, Power Point and notes, and the pandemic dragged on (with all the associated personal and professional issues it created for helpers/healers and their patients/clients alike), we realized that there was a need to expand this part of our presentation to include the latest anecdotal and research data on the impact COVID-19 was having on helping /healing professionals, and what support and assistance was most needed at this time. We have now done this, while continuing to monitor the emerging literature, so we can make any necessary updates to our presentation. At this point, we have a rich 4.5-hour Power Point presentation completed that covers the types and roles of helpers/heaters; causes and types of stress; biology/physiology of stress; ACEs and their relationship to stress and well-being; impacts of stress (burnout, vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue); challenges faced by specific groups of helpers/healers (African-American and other minority and LGBTQ healers); COVID-19 and the impact on helpers/healers; and self-care, self-regulation, and resilience building. Our next step is to record the presentation, so we can the disseminate it before we as an organization are able to return to doing live trainings. Even though we cannot do this training live at this time, in addition to information we included in the training, we have added videos, role-plays, activities, and resources to make it as engaging and interactive as possible. We are stuck by how timely and important this training is for our community of helpers/healers, and we feel so grateful to have the opportunity and funding to do this at the very time it is so desperately needed.