and received the 2018 Ellen Berne Pathfinder Award
During the first mediation with Mindy, I made the connection of a previous idea to start a podcast with students at the high school where I currently work. This idea was to create a program focused on ideas for relaxation for students. I discussed the idea with the students in my Audio Visual Club and they loved the idea and create the name RelaxCast. Our premiere episode was with Jill MacInnis, an Italian teacher in the school who had recently received her certification to teach Yoga. Many of the teachers featured in the episodes, I discovered because I had built relationships within the building and discovered what they do in their spare time. I thought this would be great to share with students to help them in Social and Emotional Learning. We’ve video taped and used audio recording for several episodes and have several more episodes that will be filmed if not by the end of this year, then for the start of a second season next year.
At the beginning of the school year, I also had the opportunity to attend the Massachusetts Library System workshops on "Caring for the Mind: Providing Mental Health Information at Your Library" and “Mindfulness for Librarians.” The morning workshop "Caring for your Mind", discussed way to provide mental health information and offered example resources to consult and share. In "Mindfulness for Librarians" I was able to learn more about mindfulness and experience walking, eating, and breathing meditations.
Other places that I’ve used to recover and start to share via social media are personal articles from the website The Mighty. The Mighty self describes themselves as “a digital health community created to empower and connect people facing health challenges and disabilities.” This community has inspiring stories from people going through Mental Health Issues and other pre-existing medical conditions. In addition, another source that is closely related to our field is Anita Cellucci ‘s Facebook page and group The Empathetic Librarian. Anita has posted many useful articles as she makes the connection of social emotional wellness to schools and libraries. The private group has become a community as we learn and grow from one another to provide self-care and information and assistance for our students.
As I’ve gone through this journey and continue to find new things that help in healing, I’ve also focused on providing resources for my students. Searching for ideas online, such as the Wellness wall where I have a display of post-it notes written by students for students. I asked the students to write notes if they were having a bad day what would make them feel better and other students can take what they need from the wall. I have a puzzle station that has become very popular with both students and faculty members that can take a break during the day. We’ve provided large community coloring sheets and smaller papers to take or stay in the library and color. I’m working on increasing the collection to provide books on dealing with mental health issues, and also ways to deal with stress, and way to relax.
I previously mentioned my local Yoga studio The Yoga Mat which has become my sanctuary. In addition my children have benefited from family drum nights and afternoon children’s yoga and even children’s sound bowl meditation. Jeanne Perrault has also introduced me to Bio-Energetic Synchronization Technique (B.E.S.T.), developed by Dr. M.T. Morter, Jr., which I have to say has probably been the most healing of everything I’ve tried, in addition to building my tribe of close friends who have supported me and been there when I needed a night to attend programs at the Yoga Mat or an adult book-club at the local public library or just a hug. I encourage you to find your own tribe of support.
This summer I plan to read: The Zen Teacher: Creating Focus, Simplicity, and Tranquility in the Classroom by Dan Tricario if anyone would be interested in being part of a virtual Bookclub with me let me know firstname.lastname@example.org.