Calmer Choice, non-profit organization in Barnstable, Massachusetts Calmer Choice, non-profit organization in Barnstable, Massachusetts

A Letter From Our Founder, Fiona Jensen

So many things go through my mind as I sit poised to write this letter today. What to focus on? What is important to say right now? How is it that I am privileged to have this platform?

So, here is what is on the top of my mind: the need to say something as an organization about what has been unfolding in the United States regarding systemic racism.

Calmer Choice stands squarely behind the movement supporting all Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in their right to equality and social justice. It is important to stand together. It is equally important for those of us with privilege and a platform to speak up.

Enough is enough.

We at Calmer Choice pledge to examine our actions, and non-actions that might have contributed to unjust systems and are committed to doing more to progress our understanding. Please reach out with ideas, thoughts, and resources that we might share amongst ourselves and with others.

All that being said, it is our birthday this month. June 8th, 2010 to be specific. That was when we became a non-profit.

Ten years ago, the Cape Cod community was reeling after the death of three young men. Two of them white and one of them black. The anguish and pain for all three lives lost was palpable. When I looked at my daughter and her friends who were mourning the loss of their peers, it occurred to me that all three of these boys had amazing gifts inside of them that the world would never see. Tragic.

In response to the pain, a ragtag group of community members and parents organized and said enough is enough. We needed to support our young people. As parents and community members, we made a commitment to those children and others like them to share the gift of mindfulness, compassion, empathy, kindness, and gratitude. I have such admiration for all of those “kids,” then and now, and for all that they have taught us and where they are in the world today!

From that group of young people who were teenagers mourning the loss of their friends- we have an emergency room nurse who's working with COVID patients.

We have successful people working in the world of banking and finance helping many of us smaller businesses navigate through our PPP loans.

We have remarkable parents of young children who are teaching them all about kindness and compassion.

We have young people in the world making a difference. Standing for what they believe in. Wise, strong, compassionate people who are also saying enough is enough.

Calmer Choice was born out of these tragedies. I often say that we as parents had to “bear witness” to our children walking through this fire AND we also had to move. Do something. Make a noise. Ask questions.

This is where Calmer Choice came from, teaching mindfulness and social and emotional skills to young people. Teaching us all how to be in relationships with both ourselves and others with kindness. This has been our remarkable journey for the last ten years. This continues to be the work.

And this is the truth.

❤ We couldn't have done it without our incredible team of instructors and programming staff who created our curriculum and a multitude of other programs. Always stepping up to the challenge and need.

❤ We couldn't have done it without our board, past and present, who have remained committed to this organization and what we stand for, many of them parents like myself.

❤ We couldn't have done it without our school leaders, donors and funders, who even now as we continue to build this plane as it flies in the air, have not backed down.

The last two and a half months have been challenging. We have had to make some really difficult decisions around staff and programming. Never in a million years if you had told me that this was going to be my responsibility as a leader of an organization would I have believed you. I would have looked at you like you had two heads and yet those are decisions I have had to make.

There are ramifications for these decisions and some of them have been more difficult than others. There has been more than one morning that I've woken up wondering if I'm really the “right” person to lead at the moment. And yet here I am. Standing firmly in my leadership with support from all of you. The buck stops here.

So, I get up and I go for a run with my husband and my dogs. I sit down in my home office and I begin my day. There are many of us out there having to “suit up and show up” in a similar way and I suppose that makes it just a little bit easier.

On this birthday month of June, though I'm feeling anguish, sadness, and anger for what is happening in our world, I am also feeling gratitude.

Gratitude for all that we have, for all that we are, for all that we can become.

To all of you reading this, I want to say THANK YOU.

Thank you for standing with Calmer Choice.

Thank you for standing up for what we value.

Much much love to all of you.