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

January 2021 Programming Update

It’s hard to believe we have rolled into 2021 already. This past year time has seemingly stood still at times, as well as accelerated. We are moving into 2021 with the grit and determination of expanding in ways that we never imagined. For us in programming, the year of COVID has been a gift in many ways, as it has moved us towards goals that were on our horizon yet not in our realm of attaining. We have all stretched and grown beyond the edges of our comfort, sometimes with trepidation. As the New England winter sets in and we feel the pull toward hibernation, we are opening doorways for a new way of bringing mindfulness education and practice to children and adults within our various communities.

Our recorded lesson project with Cape Cod Media Center was moving on track until a case of COVID at the studio shut things down for a few weeks. Luckily, it is open now and we can continue to move forward and complete everything in short order. As one of the individuals being filmed for this project, I have a whole new appreciation for people who are in front of a green screen with lights, cameras and directors all day! It can be quite exhausting!

We are looking to pilot these video lessons with individuals and schools through the end of the school year as well as maintaining continued discussions with schools to have a virtual presence in classrooms this spring.

We have been extremely successful in offering virtual community programs online and just completed three 8-week courses. One was with Wellstrong, a Falmouth organization committed to helping individuals in the recovery community through fitness and wellness.

In continuing our partnership with Dominican University, we launched our first 8-week Mindfulness-Cultivating Resilience & Well-Being course, offering graduate credit to educators! This first course offering had participants from California, Nevada, Maryland and Ohio! Working with Dominican University has been a very exciting and successful partnership. Our next course through them is scheduled to begin at the end of February.

We have an ongoing offer of our 8-week course with one beginning January 13th for the general community, with scholarships available, and a 2nd beginning on January 25th to educators in the school communities. PDP’s are available to participants in either course and graduate credit is available to participants in the educator course.

Due to the need to deliver our programs virtually, one of the gifts of the pandemic has been to broaden our reach and develop connections to new communities and organizations, providing support in creative ways to many people near and far. We are looking forward to providing workshops to the following groups:

  • Boston University students in their social work
  • To the Moon and Back- a 501(c)3 dedicated to children born with in utero substance exposure and their families
  • Alzheimer support group for caregivers and those living with Alzheimer's
  • Creative Outlets- workshops for teens combining mindfulness and art

The requests keep coming in from organizations looking for ways to provide much needed support during this time.

Finally, we continue to engage our mindfulness community with regular sitting practice groups Monday through Friday every week. In December we launched the Commit to Sit Challenge as an incentive for people to stay committed to their practice of mindful awareness during the challenging holiday season or to begin a commitment if not already practicing with us. This has been quite a gift to the community, as well as to ourselves, as we can take advantage of practicing together, albeit virtually, helping to build our resilience through community.

We look forward with hope to 2021 and all that may transpire!!