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

Meet a Board Member: Shaelyn Hegarty

A true Cape Cod native, Shaelyn grew up right in the village of Osterville. She is a licensed real estate agent, graduating from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with a degree in Marketing and Information Technology.

After six years working in the e-commerce industry in Boston, she returned to Cape Cod one summer to manage a rental property for a friend and realized her true passion for real estate. A committed and rising leader in the Cape Cod community, she volunteers her time with the Osterville Rotary Club and was one of the very first volunteers for Calmer Choice.

It was a natural fit to ask Shaelyn to join our board as she has deep connections with origins of our organization.

Shaelyn Haggerty 2020 10 13 140459
Meet a Board Member: Shaelyn Hegarty

Shaelyn, out of all the Calmer Choice board members you have the most personal connection to the beginnings of the organization. Could you tell us about how you came to start volunteering for Calmer Choice?

Having been best friends with Fiona Jensen’s, daughter Lily for over 15 years now, I remember when the Calmer Choice organization was born. In fact, it was the struggles and tragedies experienced by many of my high school classmates that inspired Fiona to found Calmer Choice in the first place. Such struggles and tragedies included drug addiction and devastating deaths or suicides of peers. There was just no safe or healthy outlet for young adults to turn to when faced with such awful situations.

I began volunteering with Calmer Choice at the first events ever put on in 2010. Over the next ten years, I went off to college and then worked in Boston, but I would still participate whenever I could. I moved back to Cape Cod with my husband about three years ago, and since then have become more involved with the organization once again.

Last fall you participated in our 8-week course for adults. What did you find most interesting about the course and have you built a mindfulness practice since participating?

The “Mindfulness: Building Resiliency & Well-Being” 8-week adult course was one of the best things I did for myself the whole year! Not only was the course therapeutic for the mind in practicing mindful techniques, but it was also extremely eye-opening. There is so much scientific evidence behind the way that these techniques positively affect the way we biologically and physically respond to events in our daily life. I found this course truly fascinating and helpful. Since completing the course, I have definitely implemented mindfulness into my daily routine. With so much going on in life, I always found it hard to “turn off my brain” and silence my thoughts to focus only on the practice at hand. One lesson I learned in the mindfulness course that has helped me with this is to use a token, such as a small stone, to hold onto during the practice. Whenever my thoughts start to distract me, feeling the stone in my hand reminds me to bring myself back into the mindfulness practice at hand.

How do you find balance in your personal, professional, and volunteer life?

Finding balance between a very busy personal, professional, and volunteer life can certainly be a challenge. It is even more difficult when everything I am involved in is something I passionately care about and want to give 110% to. I have benefited greatly by implementing time management strategies into my weekly schedule, where I block off specific windows of time that are dedicated to one area. This way, I don’t let myself get distracted and jump from one subject to the next but ensure that I make progress on the one thing I am allowing myself to focus on. I have also learned a big lesson recently that I often underestimate how much time something may take. This has taught me not to bite off more than I can chew and be realistic about deadlines. No matter what my day looks like, I make it a point to set aside time for myself, whether it be practicing mindfulness or taking a long walk with my dog, where I allow my mind to be free of any of the other responsibilities or items on my to-do list. While it may seem counterproductive, gifting myself this time actually helps me better focus on my responsibilities.

What has been your favorite memory of your involvement with Calmer Choice?

My favorite memory of being involved with Calmer Choice would probably be hearing the personal anecdotes from the children that have benefitted from our courses in school. Because that is the goal of the organization - to start from the bottom up and teach future generations that mental/emotional health is just as important as physical well-being. It is not quite a memory per say, but what I love most is to have been able to see where Calmer Choice started from, and to experience where the 10 years of hard work has brought us to today.

How do you see the impact of Calmer Choice on your community?

Having been off-Cape for several years before returning 3 years ago, I am amazed at how widespread the knowledge of our organization has become. I can’t tell you how many times in the past year I will be talking to a family friend, work acquaintance, or a stranger on the street and the topic of my involvement with Calmer Choice comes up. More often than not, the person I am speaking with has heard of the organization, has personally been involved, or knows someone who has benefitted from the courses in school. I love hearing how parents of the kids in Calmer Choice courses at school can learn so much about our practices through their children. It is truly something that benefits all humans, no matter the age, gender, or race.

What do you like best about working in the real estate industry? The least?

What I love most about the real estate industry is the ability to be connected with the beautiful place I grew up. Although real estate is technically sales, I have spent almost 30 years loving and learning about the Cape, so I feel that I can offer my clients a genuine and personal perspective, which makes my job very rewarding. It would be hard to choose a least favorite part about my job, but I suppose I would choose the busy summer months. It can be hard to enjoy a “summer vacation” when it is the busiest season for Cape real estate, but I would take showing a waterfront home on a Saturday over working Monday through Friday in an office in the city any day!

If a tourist were to ask, from a native’s perspective, what would you recommend for a perfect weekend on Cape Cod? Beaches, restaurants, sights to see?

It would be tough to get everything done on the Cape in one weekend, but I would definitely recommend a trip to one of the islands to experience the quaint villages, shopping and restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket. The Cape is so unique that beaches on one side of the island look completely different from the other side. Being from Osterville with smaller beaches and calmer waters, I always have fun taking a ride to Wellfleet to experience the massive dunes, waves, and marine life at the National Seashore.

I would never be able to pick just one restaurant on the Cape, but if you are looking for seafood, you can’t go wrong! Truly, my favorite way to experience Cape Cod in the summer is the view from the ocean itself. We take out our family boat every weekend, and it is just so fun to pull up to the sandbars and see all the other boats out enjoying the day in the bays of Osterville. It always feels like a party on the water.