When Organized Chaos Just Becomes Chaos!

When organized chaos just becomes chaos!

Here are some simple ideas for a clutter free life…

There’s a reason real estate agents always advise home sellers to remove all clutter when selling their homes: The difference is remarkable. The clutter-free home often looks like a new one entirely, and homeowners even wonder how their home could look that good. You don’t have to wait to sell your home to make it look better. Plus, clutter can physically and mentally stress us out. By breaking your decluttering down into five-minute sessions, you can slowly conquer your clutter.

Put a stop to the endless piles of paper: Pick one place for incoming papers, and don’t put them anywhere but that spot until you can sort and file them. Make at least one day per week that you commit to sorting and filing.
Everything should have a home: Pick up five things and find places for them every day. These should be things you actually use, but which don’t have a good spot to live.
Do you love it?: Take everything out of a drawer, evaluate it and sort it into three piles: stuff that really goes in the drawer, stuff that belongs elsewhere and stuff to ditch. Only touch it once! Don’t think, just quickly sort it.The pile it goes in is where it stays.
Feeling indecisive?: Create a “maybe” box. When you’re organizing, you often know exactly which items you want to keep and which you can trash or donate. But there are always a few malingering items haunting you. Things you just don’t know where to put. Put them in the “maybe” box and pull it out every six months to re-evaluate. If you didn’t miss it, send it on!
Keep it going: After you’ve decluttered, don’t just immediately get more. It is so much easier to acquire than get rid of things. Instead, put yourself on a temporary buying pause of any non-essential items. It feels good! After that make a list of any non-essentials you really want with a date next to it. Check the list in 30 days and if there are any you still really want, go for it!

Modern Roots Foundation February 2018

The 501c3 Files

‘Tis the Gift to Be…Playing Music from The Ashland Sneak Preview

By Sophia and Adam Bogle

I was walking in Lithia Park one beautiful summer day when I came across about a dozen kids all holding fiddles! They were (mostly) paying attention to a grown up with another fiddle who was obviously giving them a lesson. Then they all lifted their bows together and began to play a song! Ok, it would have made a better story maybe if they had played something amazing and perfect, but no, it wasn’t perfect. However, it was lively and joyful and the kids were obviously having a good time. I spent a long moment wishing I were ten years old again so I could be a part of that class. Apparently I had come across the Creekside Strings Summer Fiddle Camp.

Actually, I only found out what it was called after I sat down with the Director of Modern Roots Foundation (MRF), Dee Fretwell. Dee lives up in the Green Springs and we met at the GreenSprings Inn over a fantastic breakfast. I was there to find out more about MRF and Dee had all the answers for me including one I did not expect. When I first heard about this charity I thought that since there was music being taught that there must be some sort of recital fundraiser to attend, so I was actually a bit shocked when she said there are no recitals required of them. She explained that while performing is definitely a part of musicianship, that they didn’t want to put pressure on the kids to focus on that. They want the kids to just have their own relationship with the music. Wow. That just speaks to the heart of why this is such an important and honorable program. I found this great quote by Dee on the MRF Website:

“One of the most magical things I’ve ever seen is the sparkle in children’s eyes when they realize they’ve just made music. You see, music explains what words cannot, and children need to be heard.”  

So you see, MRF is serving a bigger purpose than just making sure there are enough banjo players in the world. They are gifting children with the ability to make their own magic for themselves.

The camp I ran into is just one part of the services offered by the Modern Roots Foundation (MRF). They also offer workshops and private lessons for a number of instruments including banjo, acoustic guitar (electric upon request), upright bass (electric upon request), ukulele, mandolin and of course, the violin/fiddle (These are the same instrument in case you were wondering… I know I was wondering.) They have instructors in Ashland, Talent, Phoenix and Medford so far. Here is a list of their workshops and camps:

  • Wintergrass Youth Academy (Washington, every February)
  • West Coast Country Music Festival Youth Workshops (as offered)
  • Rogue Roots and Strings Spring Break Music Camp (every Spring Break)
  • Creekside Strings Summer Fiddle Camp  (Rogue Valley Only, every summer)

The name Modern Roots is based on the musical genre called American Roots. The music includes several genres we are all familiar with: folk, country, bluegrass, the blues and others. Basically, we are not talking classical music here. The word Modern in their title makes it clear that this is not about being stuck in the past though. Fresh music!

Every year MRF offers a limited number of scholarships for kids  ages 8 -18 who have the desire to play a musical instrument but would otherwise not have the opportunity to take music lessons. MRF is dedicated to helping kids have access to musical instruments and instruction, regardless of their family’s economic status. They started in 2013 and serve all of Southern Oregon helping kids to rent instruments, take lessons and attend music camps.  

One of the fun things about MRF is that while you can donate in all the usual ways, like one time donations or sponsoring a child’s tuition, you can also donate a used musical instrument which will help fund the music scholarships! For more information go to ModernRootsFoundation.org or e-mail: info@modernrootsfoundation.org.

 

 

 

Resolved to Living More Sustainably?

While we are on the subject of resolutions, if you are resolved (see what I did there?) to make your home a more green and sustainable one, there’s no better time to incorporate energy-saving measures than during the cold months. Here are five simple things you can do to make your house more efficient…

#1 Install a Programmable Thermostat
The advice is usually to turn down the temperature during the winter, but wouldn’t it be nice to wake up to a warm house?

Programmable thermostats let you pre-set temperatures and schedule when the furnace goes on and off. If you use them correctly you could see up to $180 in savings each year.  More sophisticated devices like the Nest learn your daily routine an automatically adjust temperatures based on your habits. We got a NEST at our house a couple of years ago. I like it, even though it turns the heat on about 30 minutes too early in the morning for me. It wants the house to be of a comfortable temperature for when I get out of bed, but makes the room too warm to sleep in.  Maybe some day I’ll figure out how to fix that.

#2 Install Ceiling Fans
Fans move cool and hot air around your living space, allowing you to turn the temperature down in winter and raise it during summer. During the wintertime, you can reverse the fan’s direction to clockwise to keep the warm air moving down. Plus you can hang your clothes on them for a winter air dry. (Okay…that was a joke)

#3 Eliminate Air Leaks
Use a door draft stopper and caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows to cut down on the cold air coming in.  I actually have the worst door ever for this. I’ve got to get someone out to fix it. We took the weatherstripping off when we had our house painted. However, the weatherstrip was installed wrong because the door jam need to be completely re-done. I just talked to a contractor today get him on the schedule to come fix that.

#4 Use Power Strips
Did you know that many of your appliances use electricity whether they are on or not?Standby power is electricity that’s being used by things like TVs, computers, appliances, and phone chargers, even when the devices are in stand-by mode or even off.

Plug electronics, chargers, and appliances into power strips and switch them off when you’re not using the devices. You could save up to $200 per year! Or you can buy outlets with a remote control that allows you to turn the whole outlet off.

#5 Change Your HVAC Filter
If you change your filters monthly, you may lower your energy bills by 5 to 15 percent. Plus stop that annoying wheezing sound they make when they get dirty.

Simply put, dirty, clogged filters make the HVAC system work harder.
The savings can be substantial if you keep your filters clean as the average household spends approximately $2,200 on heating and cooling costs every year. Getting the HVAC system regular yearly maintenance is also beneficial.

Resolve January 2018

New Years Resolve from The Ashland Sneak Preview

The 501c3 Files

By Sophia and Adam Bogle

Happy 2018 everyone! What a perfect time to be talking about resolutions. Have you chosen one yet? Here is the one I am considering: “I will transform the way I communicate in order to manage and resolve conflict and to help myself and others heal from harm.” A little wordy maybe, but a pretty good goal, eh?  But I can’t take credit for it. This is a paraphrase of the mission statement for Resolve Center for Dispute Resolution and Restorative Justice, known simply as Resolve.

Recently I met with Deltra Ferguson, the Executive Director for Resolve, to find out more about how they are making a difference in Southern Oregon. I was impressed to learn that Resolve has been doing mediation work here for over 27 years now. They were formerly known as Mediation Works.

One of the most exciting programs Deltra told me about is their Restorative Justice (RJ) Services for schools. About three years ago, the Resolve education team came up with the idea to introduce RJ into the schools as a way to bring it to more of the community on a day to day basis.

In the last three years Resolve went from only being in only one school to being in twelve! And there are more schools interested. When a school commits to restorative justice it means they are regularly practicing the skills of dialogue and connecting. These skills help to strengthen their school community so that when a harmful incident occurs, the community is ready and has a way to contend with it.

This isn’t just about crimes or bad behavior either.  Sadly, earlier this year one of these schools faced a major tragedy when a student lost her life. There were a lot of emotions about this, and significantly, it was a group of students who called for a restorative circle to talk about it. They had the tools in place from Resolve’s program to help each other connect, to be heard and to heal.

Another part of the RJ school program is that, if a person has caused harm, they are still recognized as part of the community and they are supported to take responsibility for their actions. It is about shifting the culture from punitive to restorative to help keep kids in school. Those that have been impacted by the harm are also involved in a respectful process where their needs get met so that they can function in the community as well.

Without resources like this, kids can sometimes get lost in their emotions and disconnected from the world, and this can lead to dropping out of school. Resolve hopes that these RJ programs, which include Conflict Education and “Choicepoint” Bullying Intervention, will help schools to lower their dropout rates. Did you know that in 2016, Oregon ranked 48th in the nation for students graduating from high school! It literally doesn’t get much worse than this.

It can’t address every issue that the students have who are dropping out, but the Restorative Services program is a good foundation to build on. The schools who partner with Resolve do help with some of the funding needed but it doesn’t cover cost so Resolve has been fundraising like crazy to keep these programs and to add more of them.

Resolve is an amazing resource for all of us here in Southern Oregon. Here are just a few of the situations where they might be able to help.

  •         If you have a conflict with your neighbor or a family member
  •         If you are facing foreclosure
  •         If you are being bullied at school or are witnessing bullying
  •         If you would like to bring mediation training to your workplace

Coming Up! Resolve is holding a Basic Mediation Training in February. It will be a five day immersion course. These skills can help you in many situations, even everyday things like negotiating with a neighbor about how high the fence should be, or talking to your coworkers about who drank the last cup of coffee and why no one made any more yet.

Resolve is located in Medford at 1237 N. Riverside Ave. in the Cobblestone Village, Suite 25,

or you can call them at 541-770-2468. For more information, or to donate, go to:  resolvecenter.org   They have a “Donate Now” button through PayPal so it is super easy for you to help these programs to flourish. It’s sort of like voting if you think about it. You are voting with your $10 (or whatever) to say that you want this sort of thing to continue. Every vote counts!

 

Ashland New Plays Festival December 2017

 

The Gift of New Stories: Ashland New Plays Festival from Ashland Sneak Preview

The 501c3 Files

By Adam and Sophia S.W. Bogle

 

Imagine you lived in the time of Shakespeare. Would you have supported that unknown (and sometimes controversial) playwright? Thank goodness someone did or we probably wouldn’t be here in Ashland today. Whether we attend the Shakespearean theater here or not, this town is run on plays. It goes without saying that the old world plays will always have their place here because they are constantly being reinvented for modern audiences. But what about new stories for our current time? You will be happy to know that the Ashland New Plays Festival (ANPF) is providing an oasis for modern playwrights right here in Ashland. They started in 1993 and have become a major play development resource on the west coast.

The main event for ANPF is a one week festival that happens in October. This highlights the four best plays selected out of the hundreds of submissions that ANPF gets from all over the world. The process starts this month by gathering together the play readers. How would you like to be the one to find this new Shakespeare?

My mom came to stay with me one year and to keep busy she became a reader for ANPF. She had been in theater all her life so she really enjoyed the chance to connect with other people in this way. You see, being a reader isn’t just about reading the plays, you also get to meet the other readers to discuss the plays and vote. They need about 50 volunteer readers to get this job done and it must be fun because most of them return year after year. I remember my mom getting so excited about the plays, both the good and the bad. She was very thorough in her assessments, writing copious notes in the margins. (She used to teach English too.) The live readings at the Festival were a wonderful way to celebrate all that hard work.

The ANPF is dedicated to helping their playwrights succeed beyond the October festival. One of the ways they do this is by partnering with other west coast regional theaters. Many of the playwrights go on to have their plays produced in other theaters across the country.  Meredith Friedman, one of the winners from 2015, has her play, The Luckiest People, being produced next March in Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s 29th season. Some of them are even produced at our own Oregon Shakespeare Festival such as Destiny of Desire by Karen Zacarias which is coming up in 2018.

I know you may not have heard of these playwrights yet, but that’s what is so exciting about it all! I know that Kyle Hayden would agree. This is his third season as the ANPF artistic director. He sat down with me at Cafe 116 to tell me about ANPF and I was most impressed with his passion for making sure that these written works are given life on the stage. Kyle had a lot to share with me about the creation of plays and at some point in our conversation, he said something that just made me stop and think: Plays are not movies. Ok, this seems super obvious, and I might have just glossed over it too. But he went on to explain that what it means is that plays demand something of their audience that movies cannot. Going to a live theater is a chance for us to put down our little blue screens and be a part of the live creation of art. It is a literal “con-spiracy” in that the audience is breathing together with the actors on the stage. And that is why the ANPF is so important. It is bringing us some fresh air!

While Ashland New Plays Festival is a great incubator for the future of theater, its success depends greatly on the theater lovers of today to make it happen. You can’t go back in time to support Shakespeare but there is bound to be a new Shakespeare someday. With your help, we might just find them through the Ashland New Plays Festival. For more information go to www.ashlandnewplays.org.

 

Sales to List Price in Southern Oregon

Different areas in the country have different ways of negotiating sales prices.

For example, in the Bay Area recently, the listing prices have been artificially low to encourage bidding wars. So List to Sales price can be way over 100%

I have heard of other areas that list the houses high, knowing it isn’t uncommon to take 75% of the list price.

So it is important to know the area and the norms when working on negotiating.  So your expectations are set appropriately.

Our market typically sees all home sales occurring between 95-100% of asking price.

The breakdown for 2017 for houses in Jackson County between $200-400,000 is this:

0-30 days         99.36%        1450 houses sold
31-60 days       98.06%         337  houses sold
61-90 days       97.78%         180  houses sold
91-120 days     97.74%         122  houses sold
120+ days        97.39%          169  houses sold

Note that in that price range, almost 65% of the houses sold in the first 30 days.  So in a competitive price point, one needs to be ready to make an offer quickly. Which might get you thinking about what it looks like on the upper end of the market.  Interestingly enough there is statistically more negotiation rooms in the upper price ranges.  This is how it breaks down for houses priced over $800,000

0-30 days         98.16%         31 houses sold
31-60 days       97.97%          5  houses sold
61-90 days       98.58%          5  houses sold
91-120 days     92.09%          7  houses sold
120+ days
        94.00%         24  houses sold

So think about that.

A house priced at $300,000 that has been on the market for 100 days statistically will sell at $293,000 or $7,000 less than asking price.

A house prices at $1,000,000 that has been on the market for 100 days statistically will sell at $921,000 or $79,000 less than asking price.

And just because I recently ran the numbers, one more set of stats.

Ashland between $300-500,000 sales price.  Or the “affordable” Ashland homes.

0-30 days          99.02%       62 houses sold
31-60 days        98.39%       25 houses sold
61-90 days        98.49%      16 houses sold
91-120 days      99.43%      12 houses sold
120+ days         99.34%       20 houses sold

The Maslow Project September 2017

The 501-c-3 Files from The Ashland Sneak Preview

By Sophia and Adam Bogle

     Recently, the Maslow Project celebrated their 8th anniversary with a newly remodeled and upgraded center of operations and I went to the ribbon cutting ceremony to get a tour of the facility. I found the upgrades to be both welcoming and professional, but the thing that struck me most about this visit was the amazing enthusiasm and energy of the staff. I got to meet Jorge Zamarripa, the Project Manager, who orchestrated the remodeling.He had obviously thought hard about the needs of their clients. From the phone charging station, to having a guitar hanging on the wall, it just feels good to be there.

     The Maslow Project has a rather daunting task: to provide support to the shocking number of local un-housed youth and their families in the Rogue Valley, and yet they manage it with notable good humor and aplomb. While taking the tour, I met their job coach, Gary Montgomery. Gary took a moment to tell me how happy it made him to help people realize their own skills and abilities. He helps people create their own resumes and they can even sign up to do practice interviews. His joy in his work was obvious and a bit contagious. He made sure to let me know that not everyone who comes in jumps right to getting a resume made. There are a lot of basic needs that have to be met before that is a priority.

     I also ran into Lacey Renae, a Maslow Counselor, who was showing our tour group the upgraded art room. Art is seen as an important part of the Maslow layers of success. Not that everyone has to do art there, but the creative outlet is recognized as a basic human need. The art room is well stocked with the basics but I know they can always use more good quality supplies. I was also impressed to hear how Lacey is given the flexibility to be able to meet clients in the way that works best for them. The whole system at Maslow is highly functional.

     They can supply a mailing address when one is not readily available which helps with getting a driver’s license and job applications. They can also help with such basic things as food, clothes and assistance finding shelter. The lounge area has a computer to help with job hunting and there are snacks available thanks to donations.

     One of the things that stands out at Maslow is their Youth Advisory Board. The ages of the kids on the board range from 14 to 18. They are responsible for making their own decisions about Maslow community issues, they plan and create meals together and they choose special projects to do to give back, such as working with the animals at Sanctuary One.

     As you can see, I am a fan. Supporting the Maslow Project makes a huge difference to some of our most vulnerable citizens. Now, I just know that after such a glowing description of helpful efficacy that you must be wondering how you can help, so you will be pleased to know that September 23rd is the 4th Annual Southern Oregon Smoked Salmon Festival! What better way to contribute than to also go have a fantastic day in the park with your family? Held in Medford at The Commons on E 5th Street, the event is kid friendly and features local food, wine and beer with live music! 100% of the event proceeds will benefit Maslow Project. For more information go to the Maslow Project Facebook Page and please “share” to help spread the word! You can also visit their website at www.maslowproject.com

     And now a word to those who may be out there couch-surfing and uncertain of the future. The center is located at 500 Monroe Street in Medford. The hours are 10-5 Monday through Friday. Call them at 541-608-6868 or email: development@maslowproject.com Their motto is “A Hand Up Not a Hand Out.” They would love to hear from you.

 

Science Works Hands on Museum August 2017

The 501c3 Files from The Ashland Sneak Preview

By Sophia and Adam Bogle

     To the untrained / un-magnified eye, our 93% view of the solar eclipse here in Ashland is going to look pretty darn spectacular. Did you know that eastern Oregon is expecting over one million tourists for this event? Just the traffic alone is going to be a bit much to say the least. So if you are like me and don’t have a week to dedicate to camping in the high desert, why not stay local? Come to the eclipse party at our own ScienceWorks on August 21st!

     I met recently with Ann Dowdy, ScienceWorks’ Executive Director to find out more about this event. She was super excited about this great scientific opportunity for the community and told me they are going all out to make the most of it.

     There will be food and coffee carts on site and eclipse glasses will be for sale. Ann told me that there will be some free glasses for early birds but if you want to be guaranteed a pair, come visit ScienceWorks now and buy a pair in their gift shop for only $1.

     On the day, bring your lawn chairs and picnic blankets and get there early. The event starts about 9:15 with the total eclipse occurring at 10:18. It won’t cost anything to just come hang out on their lawn but for those curious budding scientists there will be fun astronomy activities and information inside. ScienceWorks is one of the few N.A.S.A. approved sites for the eclipse and will have a N.A.S.A live-stream feed of the event so we can see the “totality” on the screen in their theater. Regular admission is only $10 for kids and seniors and $12 for those over age twelve.

     This eclipse is such a rare celestial occurrence, why not take advantage of it and make this an astronomy summer? Did you know that ScienceWorks has Free Summer Star Parties August 4th and August 25th! Starting at 8:30 and going until 10 P.M. They turn off the outdoor lights and set up the telescopes! I know I personally am always wondering if those twinkling objects in the sky are stars or planets and I only know two or three constellations for sure: Orion’s Belt, The Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. It would be nice to be able to point out a few more, although I have to admit I have had fun making up some new ones for my nieces. The Great Whisk and Santa’s Beard are good fun to make up stories for, but I do hate to think I am dooming my nieces to fail astronomy later on. Don’t be like me! Get the real scoop on constellations like Cassiopeia and Aquila!

      ScienceWorks will have eclipse activities and information available for the entire week before the event. And on eclipse day there will be astronomy specialists to answer your questions and various devices to view the sun while the eclipse is happening. The next time a complete solar eclipse will be near us (in Northern California) will be August 12th 2045. Only 28 years away…

      ScienceWorks is located in Ashland at 1500 East Main Street near Walker Ave. Their summer hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Parking is easy and there is so much to do from giant bubbles to making your own machines in Da Vinci’s Garage that everyone is bound to have a good time. For more information go to www.scienceworksmuseum.org. ScienceWorks is a non-profit organization that is helping to provide S.T.E.A.M. based educational opportunities for our youth and our young at heart. Volunteer! Make a donation! Now more than ever…

Southern Oregon Land Conservancy October 2017

 The 501c3 Files from The Ashland Sneak Preview

by Sophia and Adam Bogle

So what the heck is a conservation easement and why should we care? I met with Cathy Dombi, the Executive Director of Southern Oregon Land Conservancy (SOLC) at Noble Coffee to get the 411. I had met Cathy previously when she was the Executive Director of the Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF) so first I had to ask about the transition from film to easements.

Cathy: “I spent summers working in Jackson Hole Wyoming and lived on a property that actually had a conservation easement on it so I was familiar with how they worked. I also have a strong background in outdoor education and youth work.  After I left the AIFF, I spent some time thinking about what to do next and when this position came up it just seemed a perfect fit.”

The E.D. before me, Diane Garcia, was with SOLC for 14 years and retired at the end of June. When she started she was the only employee and now SOLC supports eight employees who do everything from working with landowners to pulling invasive weeds. The capstone to her career happened recently in June when Diane and the SOLC team secured the Rogue River Preserve. These are big shoes to fill.”

Now back to the definition of conservation easement. The more boring definition, according to the Land Trust Alliance is: “a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits the uses of that land in order to protect its conservation values.” After my conversation with Cathy, I would define it as: “Land that is ecologically special that the owner makes a commitment to conserving it forever by connecting legally with a land trust such as the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy.”

The “specialness” of the land could be as simple as providing a great view (called a viewshed) for the public along a road or it may support lots of wildlife or be great agricultural land. Creating a conservation easement does not mean you have to quit farming that land or even stop cutting timber. There would just be limitations based on best conservation practices. For instance, some of the land that SOLC helps protect keeps the Pacific Crest Trail wild by providing a natural buffer zone for the animals and plants.

While there are some costs associated with conserving land, SOLC works closely with each property-owner to create a plan that meets the conservation goals and unique situation of each owner.What a great legacy to leave for future generations!

The Rogue River Preserve that I mentioned earlier is 352 acres along the Rogue River about 15 miles north of Medford. It is special because it has been mostly undeveloped for thousands of years. The land contains several rare or at-risk ecological systems and native species and it just happens to be amazingly beautiful to boot. This is the first property that the SOLC worked to buy outright with the help of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB). Now it is the responsibility of the SOLC to create and fulfill a management plan for this preserve.

The plan will include educational outreach to the public that focuses on lightly using the land in order to preserve the habitat. If you are curious now about what these conservation easements look like, SOLC offers a Free Fall Hike Series: To find out more go to www.landconserve.org, click on the “hamburger” icon, click on +ENGAGE, then Hikes and Tours or Calendar.

Their next big fundraiser is coming up November 10th. They are celebrating their 39th year! The event takes place at the Ashland Hills Hotel with a silent auction and a live auction where people bid to “Save an Acre”. Tickets are $75.

SOLC would love to have you join them and become a member. There is no minimum membership fee so even $20 will work fine. There is an annual member picnic and a new member picnic. What a great way to meet others who appreciate the natural world of our beautiful Rogue Valley.

Grandma Boom! Conscious Living Foundation November 2017

The 501-c-3 Files from The Ashland Sneak Preview

By Adam and Sophia S.W. Bogle

Grandma Boom!

She is hard to miss: Flaming red curls, flamboyant feathered hats, a huge smile and it is not unusual for her to have wings! Janai Mestrovich a.k.a. Grandma Boom is the head and heart of The Conscious Living Foundation (CLF). The CLF is dedicated to creating a world where children have the emotional tools to make good choices from the inside-out. I first met Janai at the Ashland Chamber of Commerce Greeters’ meetings where she regularly demonstrates her teaching methods. My favorite is the expandable rainbow sphere. She uses it to teach how to take a deep breath in order to calm yourself and it is very effective!

I met with Janai at the Breadboard and (while I ate my favorite pancakes) asked her about what made her so passionate about kids’ emotional health. She was ready for me with a couple of daunting statistics. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, 50% of all children and youth in the U.S. right now suffer from some form of mental health issue and there is an eight to ten year lag between the onset and any treatment. Sadly, 75% of the cases are never resolved.

This great need is what drives Janai to get creative and do something about it. Her pioneering work advocates that all children deserve the right to learn self-help skills that strengthen their resiliency, confidence, self-control and mindfulness. Janai has developed and applied her program for over 40 years and has won several awards for her methods.

Locally, she teaches workshops around the Rogue Valley. She has done work with Lone Pine Elementary and Griffin Creek Elementary in Medford and the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program through the Jackson County Oregon Child Development Coalition. She also does a class to train parents and teachers.

The latest CLF project is called Empowering Superkids. “It is focused on using 3D tools that engage all the senses, like the expandable rainbow sphere, to teach young kids to know themselves in a way that creates health, happiness and self-accountability.” Here is the wonderful example she gave me of how she knows it works.

One day, after Grandma Boom had been working with a class of preschoolers, the teacher was getting frustrated and upset. One of the boys in the class noticed and started singing the “calming song” to her and the class joined in to help her calm down. “Calming, calming I’m calming myself (with soothing hand gestures). Breathing, slowly, I’m calming myself.” Just imagine! These little super-kids were able to recognize the emotion and they had the tools to help the teacher. I wish I had a Grandma Boom when I was growing up.

Another fact that Janai shared with me is that 85% of a child’s brain is developed by the age of five. That is why it is so important to get these tools to them as soon as possible. While Grandma Boom is making a difference here in the Rogue Valley, Janai is not satisfied with helping just a few kids. She wants to help all of them.

To that end, Janai and the CLF are doing everything they can to get the word out. She recently met with former State Representative, Peter Buckley who was very encouraging about the program. Apparently there are already programs that exist to help older kids with mental health but nothing out there for pre-K! With more funding, the CLF is dedicated to create the resources for teachers and parents all over the world to learn and teach these methods themselves. There is already a guidebook available on Amazon called the Superkid Power Guidebook as well as 6 other books that can be used with children to teach them these skills.

Their website: ConsciousLivingFoundation.us is currently under construction and will be up and running December 1st with a downloadable video series for parents, teachers and pre-K children. Meanwhile, just google Grandma Boom for more information. Janai offers Training Workshops, Private Sessions, Curriculum Development, Consultations and Speaking Engagements through the Conscious Living Foundation. You can reach her at janailow@gmail.com. If you want to be a part of this effort to help empower Superkids, send a donation to the CLF at P.O. Box 1201, Ashland, Oregon 97520. Everything helps!