My Background in Healthy Communities
and Early Learning/K-12 Schools
As an Executive of the Washington Pioneering Healthier Communities Initiative, I work with a 15-member technical advisory committee, the YMCA of Greater Seattle, the Washington State Alliance of YMCA's, and YMCA of USA. We build the capacity of Washington State to implement policy systems and environmental changes to prevent childhood obesity by increasing opportunities for physical activity and access to healthy foods.
As a policy analyst with the city of Des Moines, Washington, I worked to reduce chronic diseases by making policy, systems, and environmental changes. I worked with a 12-person advisory team, city council, and community partners to make "the healthy choice the easy choice." In my 18 months with the city, we impacted 14 policy areas for healthy communities. I partnered with local schools to implement the Safe Routes to School program. To support this program, I created a digital story entitled Step-by-Step. (This can be viewed on MappingVoices.org.)
In my 17 years with Comprehensive Health Education Foundation (C.H.E.F.©), a national nonprofit organization, I consistently received high ratings for my work in the following functions:
- Training Director: I managed the training department, conducted caregiver, parent, and teacher trainings, supervised national trainers, managed training contracts, and worked with national distributors.
- Managed design teams to develop three early childhood training programs: Healthy Beginnings™, Social Beginnings™, and Calming Ourselves in Stressful Moments™.
- Led C.H.E.F.'s Children and Families Initiative. The initiative focused on:
1) supporting parents in nurturing the healthy development of their children.
2) supporting child care and early childhood educators in providing safe and health-promoting care.
3) mobilizing communities to adopt child- and family-friendly policies and practices.
- Provided leadership on the Washington Parenting Education Network, the BrainNet Coalition, and the Washington State Action for Healthy Kids Coalition.
- Program Officer: I provided grants and technical assistance to work toward a healthier community, making it easier for community members to be physically active and eat nutritionally.
I worked with an entrepreneurial firm committed to school health education, Roberts, Fitzmahan & Associates®. During ten years with the firm, my work involved the following:
- Collaborated on the design of R, F & A's award-winning curriculum programs: Here's Looking at You® (K-12 drug prevention program), Get Real About Tobacco®, Get Real About AIDS®, Get Real About Violence®, and SKILLWISE® (K-12 social skills program).
- Directed R, F & A's annual six-day retreat for three hundred educators: "Washington State Health Education Conference."
- Traveled internationally to facilitate workshops with youths, educators, leaders, and advocates.
My Background in Mindfulness Education
For over 20 years, I have personally and professionally focused on the mind, body, and health. My health education background strengthens my own mindfulness practices today and enhances my well-being. My commitment to well-being expands to include supporting others in their mindfulness education and practices.
I recently participated in a historic, international, week-long mindfulness retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh entitled, "Open Mind, Open Heart: Touching the Wonders of Now." As a teacher, artist, poet, environmentalist, and peace and human rights activist, he teaches fundamental principles for harmonious living with simplicity and clarity. He taught five mindfulness trainings, which I now practice regularly throughout my day.
I attended a life-changing, month-long communication/relationships retreat with Virginia Satir in 1985. Virginia was known as the "Columbus" of family therapy. She taught the process of change and strategies to improve individual, family, and professional communication and relationships. Virginia led daily meditation sessions during the retreat and taught centering practices. This experience provided me with a model for mindfulness education programs.
I became a licensed massage practitioner. Giving and receiving massage provides wonderful opportunities to practice mindfulness.
In high school I was trained in Transcendental Meditation. This tool helped me in academics and sports. It continues to help me focus on my breathing and calming skills and is a foundation for the mindfulness meditation I practice today.
In 2012 I received one of only eighteen Local Champion Awards for my "inspirational and motivational" leadership of the Healthy Des Moines Technical Advisory Team.
Awarded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this national recognition honored our exceptional health-related outcomes and leadership to cities throughout the region.