Dear Friends of Calmer Choice,
Happy New Year! Here’s hoping 2023 brings you kindness and grace in all that you do!
I’d like to update you on Calmer Choice - our many successes, some of our challenges, and a look ahead as we venture into the new year.
First and foremost, we remain steadfast in our mission of Cultivating Awareness, Living Mindfully and Enhancing Resilience (CALMER). We do this by serving children and those who support them, providing evidence- based mindfulness education, training, and mentorship.
We successfully introduced our District Model in 2022 under the wonderful direction and leadership of Sarah Manion, our Chief Program Officer. We are currently in nine schools across three districts, providing programming in over 80 classrooms. In 2022, our fabulous instructors served over 1,400 children. Talk about impact!
2022 was another year of transition. Patty Weinstein, our long-time instructor, mentor, and friend, retired in June. Patty remains an integral part of our Calmer Choice family and is currently consulting on several important initiatives.
Emily Smalley resigned as our Chief Executive Officer, effective December 31, 2022, to pursue opportunities closer to her home. During her five years at Calmer Choice, Emily had a profound impact on our organization. We wish her well on her new journey.
Chief Program Officer Sarah Manion and Chief Operating Officer John Fulone will serve as Co-Executive Directors of Calmer Choice while the board and staff decide the best way to organize going forward. John and Sarah are true professionals, and their confident leadership allows us to take our time in assessing our path forward.
This is a wonderful opportunity for Calmer Choice to organize in a way that reflects our mission and values. We’re excited about the possibilities.
Julia Bateman also resigned as our Development Officer. Her influence on Calmer Choice will be felt for years to come. We wish Julia all the best in her new endeavors.
We completed a comprehensive training program for all our instructors in August and welcomed two new instructors to our Calmer Choice team – Suzanne Costello and Song Sutthimaitree.
Two of our colleagues accepted key roles in our District Model pilot. Stephanie Goley is now the Calmer Choice Mindfulness Coach for the Dennis-Yarmouth School District, and Jennifer Perrin is the Calmer Choice District Coordinator for the Falmouth School District.
We also formally engaged with a professional grant writer, Noreen Winderlick. Noreen’s experience is already providing us with results.
Two new Board members joined us - Garth Smelzer and Allie Liimatainen – bringing tremendous professional experience in mindfulness and finance.
We said goodbye to Board members Betsy Bowes and David Troutman – both original members of the Calmer Choice Board of Directors. While their official tenure as board members came to an end, they continue to share their expertise with us!
And last but by no means least, our founder - Fiona Jensen – remains close to Calmer Choice. Her courage, leadership, and passion continue to influence everything we do!
In July we launched our new 3-Year Strategic Plan and are well into delivering on our Year 1 priorities. We are excited to have our Strategic Planning Retreat on January 20th where we will assess our progress and make any necessary adjustments to our plan. We’ll also use this time to discuss the transformational opportunity Calmer Choice has to thoughtfully design our future organizational structure. Our organizational consultant, Adam Brock from Regenerate Change, will again be on hand to lead our retreat.
In July we moved our offices from South Yarmouth to Osterville, taking advantage of an opportunity to reduce our overhead while moving to a more appropriate space. The Osterville community welcomed us with open arms. We’re especially grateful to the folks at the Osterville Village Library, where we hold a variety of meetings including our monthly Board Meetings; and the team at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, where we hold our bi-weekly Team Mindfulness Practice.
In September we were honored to be chosen as a beneficiary of the Seaside LeMans, a wonderful annual fundraising event hosted by The Davenport Companies. In October, we held our Collected + Connected Event. It was a resounding success thanks to the generosity of so many.
Throughout the year we streamlined our back-office processes, significantly improving our efficiency. Through grants, business partnerships, sponsors, and private donors, we’re moving forward in exciting ways.
As we approach a new chapter for Calmer Choice, I assure you we are committed more than ever to teaching children the importance of mindfulness...building resilience, fostering compassion, and nurturing wellbeing.
On behalf of the Board, I thank you for your dedication and commitment to Calmer Choice. And I remind you, Compassion has no limit and Kindness has no enemy.
All the best for 2023!
Chair, Board of Directors