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Testimonials for Mindful Kindful YOUniversity

“Dee visited my high school students today and made an amazing connection with them.  I have guest speakers in my CTE classes quite often, but she engaged the students in a way that none of my prior guests have done.  Dee’s presentation on Mindfulness was very well-prepared and engaging for the students, and full of visuals and interactions that connected perfectly with the students.  While brief enough to fit into a class period, it was just the right amount of knowledge to pique the students’ interests towards a practice that can benefit them (and anybody) tremendously.  We know that our students are exposed to numerous stressors at school and at home, but we do very little as a school to address this, or to give them the tools they need to deal with these stressors.  From Dee’s presentation, it is clear that the practice of Mindfulness is a much needed tool for our students and staff alike.  Kudos to Dee for her effort to help these students and others that she is reaching through “Mindful Kindful YOUniversity.”  While mindfulness can sometimes be a difficult practice for the beginner, Dee’s approach was interesting and easy enough for the students to grasp.  I highly recommend that other schools and organizations consider her mindfulness program.  As a teacher she is very much in touch with the challenges that students and others face in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven society.” ~ Kurt Lindgren, Nipomo High School

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“Dee recently introduced mindfulness to our corps members and the response and participation were extremely positive. Many were excited to learn better coping skills and strengthen resiliency. They asked so many questions and wished she could return again soon!” ~ Natalie Lambert, Education Coordinator, Los Padres Center, California Conservation Corps

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“The inclusion of a skilled mindfulness facilitator made a huge difference on our sites. When I first arrived at St. HOPE I was not deeply familiar with the approach {of mindfulness} and so did not appreciate the impact it has on supporting a caring and safe environment for students, or how much positive difference it would make in the culture of respect and attention. I can only say that I was sufficiently impressed with Ms. DiGioia’s process and program that I not only emphatically encouraged and endorsed her efforts but have taken it to the next level by pursuing training for myself and other department staff so we can continue what she began here…” ~Dr. Karen Romito, Director of Special Education, St. HOPE, Sacramento, CA

(*The above is A segment from a letter of recommendation. This and additional letters are available upon request.)

 

On “Mindful YOUniversity 101” adult ed:

“Sometimes life puts one in the right place at the right time. After seeing a flyer for “Mindful YOUniversity 101″, I thought that it sounded like something that called to me after a particularly busy time in my life. I was overwhelmingly pleased to find out that each week’s one hour class held small epiphanies and important reminders of how to honor life’s challenges, care for oneself, and develop better relationships with others.  Ms. DiGioia was an exceptional facilitator. I would recommend this course to anyone as I think we could all gain from these life lessons, whether it be professionally or personally.” ~Piper Adelman, LMUSD Librarian
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“I highly recommend “Mindful YOUniversity 101″ to anyone who is looking for practical, ready-to-use, research-backed tools for being healthy and resilient in our stress-filled world! Dee teaches with clarity and passion, not only about the important neuroscience behind mindfulness but HOW TO incorporate the practice into our busy lives. I have learned so much and wish the class was longer than an hour each week!” ~Lisa Arakaki, LMUSD Occupational Therapist
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“This class helped me with slowing down and being present as much as possible. Dee has an amazing rapport and she is interesting and passionate. Learning to breathe with intention was extremely helpful for me. It helps me with calming down so that I can get back to the present. I highly recommend this class to anyone and everyone. i will be taking this class again definitely.” ~Mandy Russell, Parent
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“I enjoyed the gradual process of the practices during class and the follow-up emails. Your encouragement for each of us to savor life, be a compassionate person, appreciate & truly “heart” ourselves. The class helped me handle stressful situations and people in a great way. I “thank you” for your sharing of your knowledge and experiences- we are all on the journey to help, acknowledge and hear one another.” ~Gloria Haggard
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“I have increased knowledge about mindfulness practices and awareness of being in the moment, pause, breathe. Last/this week has been one of the hardest in my life and having the tools (pause, breathe) helped me find my moments of peace, tranquility in my hectic world. Mindful eating was introduced tonight. I wish you would have shared this sooner… amazing. I have lost 10 pounds this last month- soooo wonderful info!” ~ B.R.
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“I found learning how to channel my thoughts to be the most helpful. I found myself catching negative thoughts and grounding myself. I wish my entire family could take this class. Thanks Dee. Your love and dedication for what you do is obvious. I felt so comfortable talking to you and the group.” ~ Jessica Bianco
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“I loved the newsletters with extra links and inspirations. It was a comfortable group of people that I looked forward to spending an hour each week with. The group activities, the slides, and practice seemed to speak to multiple learning styles. Great ideas to help reduce stress by living in the present… thank you! ~Olivia
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“Dee’s class has been very worthwhile for me. I recommend this opportunity for self-care to anyone.” ~Theresa Medbury, LMUSD teacher
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“I have to share with you how much the mindfulness class helped me with a strained relationship. We did the exercise in the class about someone that hurt us and we needed to forgive. That person wanted to get together for coffee recently to discuss things. I practiced mindfulness and really paused before I spoke in return to some hateful things that were being said. I kept reminding myself that I wanted to come from a place of love and understanding. I kept reminding him that I was not focusing on the past but keeping in the present and moving forward in a positive way. It was a lot of work but I felt so much better in the end. I just wanted to let you know and thank you Dee for the new lessons I am learning. I know I am still a work in progress and I will continue to be a better me.” ~ (Name withheld on request)
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On after-school “Mindfulness for Educators” or “ME Time”:

At a previous inner city charter school where turnover occurred on a monthly if not weekly basis, I facilitated informal after-school drop-in sessions, free of charge for teachers called “ME Time” (Mindfulness in Education). Here is what some of the participants had to say:

“ME Time has helped me make better decisions when I’m in a highly stressful situation like a contentious IEP meeting. I believe that it’s a tool that can benefit adults and children alike in any environment. If teachers are calmer and can control their emotional responses, imagine how much calmer their students will be?” ~Christina Saad, St HOPE School Psychologist at PS7

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“I loved ME Time. I liked that I learned more about the practice of mindfulness, but also had the opportunity to “practice the practice” in a really supportive environment.” ~Kandace Forrester, Director of Student Services

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“I have to admit that the first couple meetings I was thinking I can’t believe I’m going to commit to this. I really should be going home and starting dinner, but by the end I really began to see the benefits and looked forward to bettering myself and learning about mindfulness.” ~Lisa Minehart, Sac High Teacher

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“If administration can see mindfulness as a priority for all staff, this would allow for staff to have the time needed to learn it and apply it to students and self. Mindfulness would probably increase staff retention and help newer teachers get through the difficult early years of their career more easily.” ~ Julia Ingber-Chang, School Psychologist at Sac High

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“I have really enjoyed the techniques shared and the interaction with the other people who participated. This has been a wonderful experience and I will utilize the mindful meditation exercise as often as I can remember to do so.” ~ Deanna Jenkins, SPED Paraprofessional

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Other misc. comments from various folks on mindfulness with my students

“You are the first person in all my years in the school system who ever approached behaviors with a technique other than force.” ~ a parent of a special needs child sent me this message in an email following an IEP where I offered a goal on mindfulness to help her son with some behavioral challenges.

“Everytime I see you I think of peace and take a deep breath!” ~ a staff member after subbing in a classroom of special needs students where I was teaching mindfulness breathing and yoga

“I have never seen him calm down so quickly.” ~ a paraprofessional commenting about a special needs child in a class where I taught a weekly lesson on calming strategies