Omega in Action | Omega

Omega in Action

Omega in Action highlights inspiring people and organizations making meaningful change. From protecting the environment to empowering women, healing veterans, and serving nonprofits, you'll find fresh perspectives, trending news, and the latest information on noteworthy events here at Omega and around the world.

Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition Reaffirms Commitment to New York State Residents

2 days 3 hours ago

Coalition Continues Mission to Inform and Represent Utility Customers in Proceeding

HUDSON VALLEY— The Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition (HVSEC) in 2015, after a lengthy legal and public relations campaign, gained significant concessions from the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) and developers regarding their proposed $1 billion transmission project, securing promises that the work would be done without the use of eminent domain and that potential towers would conform to the existing right-of-way in both width and height.  While these concessions are important, they are merely promises which have not been codified into any law or statute, and thus should receive our continued vigilance.

HVSEC also presented evidence during the proceeding that demonstrated these transmission upgrades failed a basic cost-benefit analysis and were not needed, but the PSC sidestepped the debate by qualifying the projects as necessary based on public policy needs, a rarely-used procedural tactic that is subjective in nature.  Now, the project continues and HVSEC remains committed to keeping a close eye on the next phase and informing the public of all new developments.

The “wins” for Hudson Valley residents

The HVSEC and citizens who joined its campaign produced compelling scientific and technical findings that led the PSC to transform its regulatory framework for the project. One early success was persuading the agency to incorporate Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s preference for lines within existing, rather than new, rights-of-way. Expert reports commissioned by the HVSEC on the project’s negative visual and environmental impacts led the PSC to eliminate design options that posed more serious threats.

Despite these victories, there are no guarantees transmission lines will be built to this standard. The process is far from over and warrants continued monitoring to ensure these hard-fought wins are not eroded.

HVSEC and the PSC have agreed to disagree

Since its inception, HVSEC has advocated that need should be established prior to moving forward with the project – a different order of operations than the PSC’s preferred approach.

To help contribute to the general record available to all stakeholders in the proceeding, HVSEC was awarded intervenor funding for specific quantitative research completed by energy experts and scientists.

Research delivered by these independent scientists and professionals that there is no need for additional overhead transmission lines, particularly given the established decline in electricity usage over the past five years, and projected declines for the future. HVSEC made the case that $1+ billions of ratepayer money would be better spent on projects with tangible benefits.

The PSC disagreed, and is proceeding with the project based on “public policy justifications.” The public policy process and justification is another new process for NYS. HVSEC looks forward to participating actively in this new phase.

“We are very pleased,” said Greg Quinn, spokesman for HVSEC, “that in 2016 the New York Public Service Commission publicly recognized that this project could feasibly be constructed inside existing energy corridors. We feel that without the Coalition’s intervention this recognition would not have happened. This policy, if followed, eliminates the threat of eminent domain. But final decisions about routes are not likely to be made for at least three years. HVSEC is absolutely committed to watch-dog the process, making every effort to assure that eminent domain and the prospect of ruined landscapes do not reappear.”

The decision to proceed with the project based on public policy justifications “…is disappointing,” said Quinn, “but it does not change our mission and our commitment to provide the opportunity for residents and stakeholders to participate in the process. This participation is essential to ensure appropriate oversight of government agencies and private developers as they create new processes and decide how much money New York State residents will pay.”

The Coalition will continue to facilitate efforts to build and maintain a superior, efficient, modern grid. “We want to bring people together around one table to share, educate, and create common ground,” said Quinn.

About the Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition

The Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition includes municipal officials; environmental, cultural, historic and land preservation organizations; businesses; and residents who support creation of a modern, comprehensive energy plan for the Hudson Valley and New York State. The HVSEC was formed in 2014 to advocate for constituents and stakeholders impacted by the new high voltage overhead transmission lines proposed by the NYS PSC. The Coalition has worked for over three years to address five primary issues:

  • Threat of eminent domain, resulting in loss of homes and livelihoods
  • Loss of historic, scenic, agricultural, and natural resources in the Hudson Valley, threatening economic health
  • Lack of evidence of actual need for new overhead transmission lines
  • Driving up the cost of electric supply in a State with some of the highest electric pricing in the nation, with limited associated benefits.
  • Reliance on 19th century energy solutions instead of 21st century innovation

More information is available at www.hvsec.org.

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Omega’s Scholarship Fund Grows to Create Record Access: Scholarships Now Available for 1-in-5 Workshops

2 days 5 hours ago

Omega to Award More Than $400,000 in Scholarship Opportunities for 2017 Programs

RHINEBECK, NY – Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, a nonprofit organization dedicated to lifelong learning, announced today that more than $400,000 will be awarded in full and partial scholarships to eligible applicants for more than 80 workshops taking place on their Hudson Valley campus in 2017. Veterans, educators, those living with cancer, and women leaders are among the eligible candidates.

“Omega is committed to expanding pathways to participation through our scholarship fund,” said Carla Goldstein, chief external affairs officer at Omega. “We know that our learning environment and the campus experience is enriched when a wide variety of perspectives, backgrounds, and identities are represented.” 

Omega welcomes more than 23,000 visitors to its Rhinebeck campus annually between May and October. People come for reasons big and small—from professional training to rest and rejuvenation to catalyzing personal growth and social change. Omega will offer a total of 390 workshops in 2017 spanning six learning paths: Body, Mind & Spirit; Health & Healing; Leadership & Work; Relationships & Family; Creative Expression; and Sustainable Living.

For a full list of scholarship opportunities and information on how to apply, visit eOmega.org/scholarships.

For more information visit eOmega.org, and follow Omega on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google+. 

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies

Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation’s most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 250 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world. eOmega.org

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Omega Celebrates International Women’s Day by Joining Global Efforts Calling for Change

2 weeks 4 days ago

International Women’s Day Events Planned for March 8, 2017

RHINEBECK, NY –At a time when women's rights are being undermined by new policy restrictions, Omega Institute joins in solidarity with millions of people around the world in celebrating International Women's Day (IWD) to call for stepping up bold action for change rather than rolling back decades of advancement for gender equality.

“As an educational institution we have seen more than 600,000 women come through our doors over the past 40 years. We have witnessed their struggles and triumphs, which led us to create the Omega Women's Leadership Center (OWLC) in 2012, and guided us in shaping an entire curriculum designed to support women leaders in learning how to ‘Do Power Differently,’” said Carla Goldstein, chief external affairs officer at Omega and co-founder of the OWLC.  “Over the next year we will grow our support for women, organizations, and efforts on the front line of advancing change through a range of innovative programs.”

IWD began at the turn of the 20th century in a global effort to bring attention to the unfair working conditions of women, build support for universal suffrage, and end gender discrimination. While much progress has been made since then, there is much left to do, and many women, particularly women of color and poor and working class women, have been left behind in the gains achieved.

“The emphasis of this year’s celebration is on bringing attention to women’s economic inequality,” said Goldstein. “It’s time to make deeper strides in closing the gender pay gap and recognizing women’s unpaid care and domestic work. We also have to do more to create economic policies for job creation, poverty reduction, and sustainable, inclusive growth that serves the needs of women.”

On March 8, 2017, Omega and the OWLC will participate in two events:

  1. A DAY WITHOUT A WOMAN, a Women’s March Initiative, to take international collective action for equity, justice, and human rights for women. As a nonprofit organization working on behalf of these issues, Omega has created a paid “Civic Participation” personal day off for any employee who wishes to honor this day.
  2.  “MAKE IT HAPPEN: Celebrate International Women’s Day,” an initiative of New York’s Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Leadership Alliance, to educate people on women’s issues, inspire action, and create pathways for involvement.

For more information visit eOmega.org, and follow Omega on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google+.  #IWD2017 #BeBoldForChange #DayWithoutAWoman #OWLC #DoPowerDifferently

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies

Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation’s most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 250 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world. eOmega.org

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Veterans Share Their Yoga Retreat Experience

3 weeks 1 day ago

For more than 20 years, Omega has offered hope and healing to veterans and their family members dealing with issues related to post-traumatic stress, often referred to as an invisible wound. Each year, veterans come to campus to attend trainings and workshops on resiliency and healing trauma that focus on complementary and alternative medicine modalities.

In the summer of 2016, 10 male veterans came to Omega on scholarships for a weeklong yoga retreat. 

Drew, who served in the U.S. Army in Iraq in both 2007 and 2008, came to help heal both his mind and his body. Dealing with a brain injury and post-traumatic stress, he was looking for a holistic way to reset his nervous system.

Drew says returning to civilian life was much harder than his service, and he was not prepared for the difficult transition.

“You get caught up and lost, and then you have friends taking their own life,” he said. “I needed somewhere to reset.”

“One of the symptoms, they say, of suffering from a brain injury or having post-traumatic stress, is that you feel like you have no future,” he said. “I would have thought that you were silly to say you’re going to heal all of these terrible things. But it [the workshop] honestly has been the biggest healer for me—just learning more about myself and what my own body needs. Doing this workshop has honestly given me more of a future than I would have ever hoped for.”

Benefits of Yoga for Veterans

Guided by adaptive yoga teacher Annie Okerlin and veteran Nicholas Caris, the veterans in the workshop learned how to modify yoga postures to accommodate unique physical limitations and ailments, including chronic pain, joint and spinal pain, neck and shoulder discomfort, and amputations.

“Yoga has extraordinary benefits for anyone who has been injured, but specifically when we’re dealing with the mind-body connection,” Okerlin said. “When people are first traumatically injured, the care is usually focused on the body level. So they’re healing the wounds, learning how to walk again if there’s been an amputation, dealing with the cognitive issues if there’s a brain injury. They get the body moving again and off they’re sent. The reality of the deeper element, the unseen injury, can be so challenging with regards to reintegration into home life and into community.”  

The group also practiced iRest (Integrative Restoration) sessions daily, which is a technique endorsed by the U.S. Army Surgeon General and offered at military hospitals throughout the country. The practice is based on the ancient practice of Yoga Nidra, and helps promote deep relaxation, awareness, and acceptance of everything as it is.

“With yoga we learn techniques to settle back into the self, whatever that is now,” Okerlin said. “Maybe it’s a different experience from prior to injury, but we begin to really use the tools of breath, centering, and focus to welcome ourselves exactly as we are right that moment.”

Ray & David's Yoga Retreat Experience

Another scholarship attendee named Ray, who served in Vietnam from 1966 to 1969, said that despite his anxiety about being in group settings, he was able to find some peace.

“I’m a recluse, and I generally don’t like being around people, but knowing that I was coming into a group of veterans let me know I was on an even playing field,” he said. “This particular workshop helped me just be okay with things the way they are right now. I have anxiety issues, so I can easily get wrapped up in the garbage that’s going on around me and feel very unsettled all the time. But doing yoga helps me get back here now, and to relax.”

Another veteran, David, spent 12 years in the U.S. Navy and said he didn’t have any yoga experience coming into the retreat. In fact, his sister enrolled him, telling him to clear his calendar and take the week off work. He was more surprised than anyone to participate and see the benefits.

“I am very fortunate to have a sister that cares about me a lot and participates in yoga,” David said. “It’s hard for me to stay asleep for a long time, and to find out I was one of the longest ones sleeping afterward…and I didn’t even know it! It was a huge eye-awakening experience for me to learn that I can let go. By the end we were all smiling, which wasn’t how we showed up.”

Research confirms the benefits of yoga and other relaxation practices for veterans and those who are dealing with post-traumatic stress.

“It’s really simple to just try yoga,” Caris, also a veteran, said. “All it takes is showing up and being there with yourself. Trust your breath and listen to your body. Be kind to your own self. That’s where everything starts. And once you go once, keep going. It only gets better with each practice and each moment that you’re with yourself on a mat.”

Scholarships for the Veterans Yoga Retreat for Men, June 18-23, 2017, are now available. Applications are due May 8, 2017.

 

Radical Results From Kelly Turner Workshop

1 month 1 week ago

Thousands of people have overcome cancer against incredible odds, and Kelly Turner has made a career out of studying these cases—1,500 of them and counting. She calls it radical remission, or people who have experienced a complete reversal of a serious or terminal cancer diagnosis.

In October 2016, she led a workshop at Omega for more than 60 people, teaching the nine key healing factors that she discovered can help people heal, including changing eating habits, lowering stress, strengthening intuition, and developing a daily spiritual practice.

Being In the Right Place at the Right Time

Anna Hutchinson received scan results the night before she arrived at Omega. Her cancer had spread, again.

At the age of 38, Hutchinson was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer, which can be hard to treat and has a 5-year survival rate of about 11 percent. She is now four years into her healing journey and searching for answers after conventional treatments have not stopped the spread of cancer in her body.

“In my heart, I’ve always felt that there’s a natural cure for cancer,” the scholarship attendee told Omega. “If my body created it, my body can also heal it.”

Hutchinson had a magic moment upon arriving at Omega. At registration, a young girl caught her eye. She said she was at Omega for a mother-daughter workshop happening that weekend, too. It turns out her name was Sage, which is the name of her daughter who passed 15 years ago from a brain tumor. Sage’s mom name was Anna.

“Every hair stood up on my body,” Hutchinson said. “I knew it was a miracle right there and I was in the right place.”

She had experimented with healthy eating before coming to Omega but said she learned so much at the workshop and from the meals at the Dining Hall.

“One thing that really struck me is that only two of the healing factors have to do with diet, the other seven are all emotional and spiritual,” she said.

Hutchinson explored those factors in a morning yoga session. She was surprised she was able to get through the class and later that afternoon realized that her ongoing pain had subsided. She credits not only the yoga teacher but also the environment at Omega.

“The energy is so different at Omega," she said. "Life is so simplified and it’s wonderful to be surrounded by nature. I didn’t want to leave. You know so many vacations leave you with that feeling of needing a vacation, but I felt like I wanted to stay. To be able to see and hear from those who have beat the odds was just life changing.”

Taking a Dance Break

Maria Marewski, another scholarship attendee who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, echoed Hutchinson's sentiment about coming to the workshop. She chose an unconventional route for healing, rejecting chemo, radiation, and surgery.

“Going this route has been a lonely journey in that it is so hard to find people to connect with whom I can even talk to about cancer from this perspective, let alone find professionals in the field who will support this approach,” Marewski said. "There's an aura of hysteria about it and a lot of people project onto me their own fears about it. It was so good to be in this room with a lack of judgment and feeling connected to such a supportive community." 

She was surprised that one of her favorite moments from the workshop was a dance break.

"There was a moment when we all danced and it lifted the energy of the whole room," she said. "Those feelings of well-being were exactly what we all needed. I felt really motivated from that."

After the workshop, she says she’s now more aware of her daily life patterns and how to improve them, including taking more time for self-care.

"Kelly really got me thinking about the result of my habits each day, especially the habits of thinking and feeling," she said. "I really got to look at my patterns. I feel boosted from connecting to others who are seeking an alternative path. I left feeling connected, inspired, grateful, and really hopeful."

The Radical Remission workshop will be held again 10/6/17-10/8/17. Scholarships are available. 

Omega CEO Comments on New Immigration Policy

1 month 3 weeks ago

Omega Institute joins the growing number of educational organizations raising concerns about our country’s new immigration policy.

As a lifelong learning center for holistic studies, our curriculum and community come from all parts of the globe. We know from firsthand experience that the best learning comes from an environment where people feel a sense of safety, belonging, mutuality, and welcoming. We also believe that when we deepen our understanding of our common humanity, we can much more easily find solutions to problems and create more peaceful and just ways of living together.

In these days of uncertainty and unrest, we want to assure our community that we are committed to being a safe and inclusive environment for learning, and that we will do our part to work for ensuring justice and equality for all people. 

Omega Partners with TEDx: Practicing Change

1 month 3 weeks ago

How can we bring a more conscious approach to activism? How can we stand up and fight for our values and rights, while staying grounded in peace and empathy? These are the questions Omega's Chief External Affairs Officer Carla Goldstein brought to the TEDx Washington Square stage during Practicing Change.

Goldstein started her career as an activist and lawyer, to help change the systems that supported injustice and conflict. She spent a decade fighting the good fight—emphasis on fight—in public policy and women's rights, starting and ending each day working to defeat the enemy "other." A health crisis helped her realize that while she valued peace and love, her advocacy was fueled by anger and rage, and she began looking for a more integrated approach to change.

Her healing journey—which included Eastern practices like yoga, meditation, and tai chi—brought her to a greater understanding that we are all interconnected, even with "our enemies." This helped shift her perspective about our social change process, which she says "has to be both personal and structural—it's an inside and outside job.”

"The inside job is to work on healing ourselves and building the personal capacity for being peaceful and loving," says Goldstein. "And the outside job is to create structures, systems, and policies that support the well-being of everybody and the planet we share. It is a both/and. Because who we are as people shapes the structures we create, and our structures reflect who we are as people."

"Grounding in peace and love does not mean that we have to get soft," she continues. "It does not mean that we have to lose our moral discernment. It does not mean that we cannot rise up and protest in resistance together in the face of injustice and wrongdoing. But it does mean that we have to get beyond the enemy paradigm, beyond the enemy reflex, beyond the necessity to make an enemy 'other' that we can demonize."

Goldstein's talk on "practicing change" helps weave a larger narrative of the innovative ways transformation is happening around us—from the microscopic neural changes through mindfulness, to the systemic institutional changes happening in our prisons and businesses.

Other presenters include meditation teacher and best-selling author Sharon Salzberg, activist and author angel Kyodo Williams, and clothing designer Eileen Fisher.

Watch other Practicing Change presentations at TEDx Washington Square.

 

Resting & Connecting at Nonprofit Retreat Week

2 months 1 week ago

Spending time at Omega was a true gift of space, time, and healthy food, said the staff at Global Grassroots, an organization that works to catalyze women and girls as leaders of conscious social change in their communities, reaching 35,000 survivors of war and/or gender-based violence in Rwanda and Uganda annually.

The nonprofit came to Omega Institute’s Rhinebeck campus in 2016 with an intention to provide staff, who frequently travel, the opportunity for deep restoration and connection; to provide their board with a chance to get to know each other in a year of transition; and for the whole group to finalize a strategic plan for the growth and sustainability of the organization over the next five years.

Global Grassroots was just one of the more than 30 peer organizations in the nonprofit sector to come to Omega’s campus for Nonprofit Retreat Week (formerly called Service Week) in 2016.

Each year, Omega awards self-led retreats to nonprofits who need space to both work and rest so they can return to their efforts replenished and energized.

Strengthening a Literacy Consortium

Literacy Connections came to Omega in 2016 for their third working retreat. As in past years, their staff and board re-connected and planned together. But they also used the time to work on a new issue—convening the board members of four member organizations of a regional literacy consortium, which formed when a statewide network of literacy agencies closed down.

“The retreat afforded us the opportunity for great cooperation and to explore our mutual interest in partnering and collaborating,” said Marisol Rodriguez, executive director of Literacy Connections. “When the statewide network ended, it was a change we had to accept. But now after gathering, we can see the impact we can have across the Mid-Hudson Valley by supporting one another’s efforts to promote literacy and provide English as a Second Language classes to growing immigrant communities. We are learning that change has been the best thing for all of us.”

Building Effectiveness of Multidisciplinary Child's Advocacy Team

The Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD) operates a children’s advocacy center that investigates, prosecutes, and treats child abuse. The many different agencies that collaborate in the center’s work also came to Omega in 2016 to strengthen the effectiveness of their multidisciplinary team.

Child Welfare Services, a different division of WIHD, had a working retreat at Omega previously, which they said helped them consolidate new experiments with mindfulness that are now incorporated into staff meetings. 

Danielle Weisberg, who works in both divisions, applied for the organization to return so they "could deepen and strengthen relationships in a way that would be nearly impossible to achieve through any other means."

After their retreat, Weisberg wrote, “Team members walked away feeling very empowered to carry the work forward. This is very important for us because we work collaboratively with many different agencies, and so having individuals take ownership of the future direction of the work is very important.”

More About Nonprofit Retreat Week

Since 2005, Nonprofit Retreat Week has welcomed to campus more than 300 organizations that work to create a more compassionate and sustainable world.

“[It] is an outstanding opportunity for nonprofits who otherwise would be unable to meet outside of the office and enjoy such wonderful amenities,” Rodriguez said.

Retreat grant applications for Nonprofit Retreat Week: Connecting a Community of Change Leaders 2017 are now available. Apply by 1/30/17. 

A Café With a Mission

3 months 1 week ago

In the town of Liverpool, New York, just north of Syracuse on Lake Onondaga, you'll find Café at 407, serving delicious, seasonal, locally produced, and handmade food. Opened in 2009, the café's main objective is to support Ophelia's Place, a nonprofit that is dedicated to changing the culture and conversation around eating disorders, body image, and body dissatisfaction.

Founded in 2002 to address an urgent need in the community, Ophelia's place seeks to redefine beauty and health at large by empowering individuals, families, and communities to address and heal all forms of eating disorders, disordered eating, and body dissatisfaction. Besides nourishing its local community directly, Ophelia's Place has become a national leader in offering support services, education, and outreach. It offers outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment programs with the Upstate New York Eating Disorder Service, supporting approximately 70 families weekly, and thousands each year.

Ophelia's Place was a participating organization at the 2014 Women Serving Women Summit, a retreat grant that supports nonprofit organizations working to positively impact the lives of women through a two-day, two-night self-led retreat, hosted by the Omega Women’s Leadership Center (OWLC) during Omega Service Week. In an interview with MaryEllen Clausen, founder of Ophelia's Place, she recalled that her organzition was ready to close its doors right before they came to Summit. Team members showed up in a state of exhaustion and burnout. The organization had been losing money and struggling to continue.

During the retreat, the team did yoga, walked, and meditated. MaryEllen met other organizational leaders and founders who gave her a sense of community, support, and wisdom.

When the team returned home, they invited a representative from The New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON), whom they had met at Omega, for a site visit. With NYCON's help, they restructured some staffing and by 2015 the Café at 407 began supplying 35% of the organizational budget.

MaryEllen emphasized how impactful Summit was and how grateful her team was for having had that opportunity, stating that Ophelia's Place could not have gotten where they are today without the experience.

Regional Nonprofit Women Leaders Enjoy Downtime

3 months 3 weeks ago

Omega’s 250-acre Rhinebeck, New York, campus offers rest and rejuvenation not just to workshop participants, but also to nonprofit leaders. In September 2016, the Dyson Foundation invited a group of leaders who were past participants of the New York Council of Nonprofits's executive director training to a "Day of Respite" at Omega.

Alumna Casandra Beam, executive director of Ulster Literacy Association, initiated the idea of gathering with her peers for much-needed time away to converse, connect, and rest.

Nine alumnae arrived on a beautiful September day and began their retreat with activities designed to foster reflection and dialogue. The activities were created and facilitated by Beam and Susan Grove, Omega’s community engagement manager and former NYCON training participant.

"Susan and I designed activities intended to establish trust, allowing the group a chance to share from a more vulnerable place, rather than from the more typical leadership role," Beam said. "As it turned out, our group responded beautifully, with heartfelt sharing about the immense stresses executive directors experience, regardless of what phase their agency is moving through." 

In the afternoon, participants chose from a list of activities available on campus, from kayaking on Long Pond Lake or reading in the Ram Dass Library to enjoying ice cream in the Café or meditating at the Sanctuary. Each participant was invited to structure her own downtime to be most supportive to her. Each leader chose her own balance of spending more time with others or withdrawing into some rare solo time to reconnect with herself.

“The day was extremely nourishing,” said Elise Gold, executive director of Jewish Family Service of Orange County. “There was a balance of concrete, how-to support and emotional connection, and the freedom of the afternoon also allowed us space to give to ourselves in ways that we typically don’t do. I was grateful to be able to walk to the Sanctuary and just sit by the little pond.”

Beam echoed Gold's positive experience adding that her day enabled her to have new insights about what true success feels like, describing a more internal space of confidence, belief, and surrender.

"I returned the next day to my office with a refreshed sense of purpose and belonging," she said.

Attendees pictured:
Back Row (left to right): Nicole Fenichel-Hewitt, Spark Media Project; Caren Fairweather, Maternal Infant Services-Network; Cynthia Fiore, Taconic Resources for Independence; Ava Bynum, Hudson Valley Seed; Elise Gold, Jewish Family Service of Orange County.
Front Row (left to right): Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart, Walkway Over the Hudson; Casandra Beam, Ulster Literacy Association; Kellyann Kostyal, Safe Homes of Orange County; Lisa Silverstone, Safe Harbors of the Hudson.

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