Mini Grant Dyad Needed: More is needed

This month ended our mini grant experience

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.

Glee and wide-eyed enthusiasm are…

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 was really worried…

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.

Dovecot Farm hosted Barn to…

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.

Dovecot Farm hosted the second…

Dovecot Farm hosted the second Barn to Bedside retreat on Saturday 27th March.
The group comprised Clinical Director and therapists from the Addiction/ Recovery industry in Palm Beach County.
The agenda was the same as the St Mary’s team. All participants completed their DISC before the retreat. Similar wear & tear on the S column – this relates to the PACE of work/ environment. We held an open discussion on COMPASSION FATIGUE, the therapists were openly talking about experiencing burnout.
The Clinical Director is a huge fan of drumming circles in group therapy so he lead that activity. It was fun!
It was clear that this team really needed to decompress- the sound healing piece at the end was very healing, the team all completely relaxed. Fascinating!
It was a busy week with two retreats only a few days apart. However, the program delivered! I am really happy with the feedback and impact we made.

I am delighted that Barn to Bedside retreats is resonating with our target audience.
Caregivers/ medical / health workers were reaching burnout before the challenges of covid. Now it’s firmly at the top of the agenda.
Therapists are willing and open to discuss burnout. They are looking for solutions, they are open to this kind of wellness/leadership retreat.
Feedback from the LMHC and therapists:
“AMAZING! I loved the DISC, sound healing, kindness/ thoughtfulness.”
“Thank you…Different ways to achieve mindfulness.”
“I really enjoyed the program. Safe space, clarity and organization, peace.”
“This was incredible. It fits perfectly with my approach to therapy. Thank you so much.”
“DISC, guided meditation, knowledge on equine assisted therapy and equine emotional intelligence. This was exactly what I needed at exactly the right time.”
“Amazing work. Keep it up! I loved everything.”
“I wouldn’t change anything. I loved all the process. I appreciated all the healing process.”
“An incredibly beautiful and moving experience. Thank you so much.”
“The sound bath…”

There have been three workshops…

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…

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)

In my mini grant experience…

In my mini grant experience it has beyond awesome! My first experience was involving the youth! I was to teach the kids about photography! We went out into the Glades and we share and compare personal feelings to the photos that were taken! We discussed how a picture has so many different meanings it was all about how you were able to look at it. I was able to give them a real hands on experience before COVID! My current mini grant has to do with getting back to basics! We are actually in process of building a garden retreat! Between planting and growing and teaching the youth in the same manner it helps them to appreciate the skills and value of bringing something to life and watching it grow! Also in the garden we have a buddy bench, to where your able to go and sit when it’s been a long day and you just need someone to talk to! Its so much more but I will rather wait until we reveal it!

One client, Mr. L, is…

One client, Mr. L, is a former boxer who truly understood the importance of fitness. I could see a difference just in the few sessions we had.