By Rochelle Douris
Last Thursday, when my alarm went off earlier than usual, my first thought was: hit snooze. Then, I remembered, I would attend my first ‘mindfulness session’ at 8:15am in the ESA library, being led by Trish Drynan, an ESA Mom and an active SESAT member. Up until two years ago, like most parents, I was too busy, over-scheduled and overwhelmed to add one more thing to my life but at that time I decided to attend my first SESAT (Supporters of ESA Talent) meeting. My thinking was, if I can just commit to this – two hours, one evening per month – at least I will feel some sense of connection with my son’s school life. What I didn’t know then was that I would also become connected with a core group of parents who form the dedicated nucleus of the SESAT group, including Trish. They have made a commitment to not just the meetings, but the endless rounds of concession sales, fundraisers and the massive undertaking that is the annual Craft Fair and Silent Auction. They do this in addition to maintaining schedules that are just as packed as mine. New parents attend SESAT meetings every September. Some stay, others move on. Yet, from this core group there is no judgement – only understanding and warmth for anyone willing to show up, even if only for one night. Trish has been at nearly every SESAT meeting I have attended in these last 2 years, smiling and making me feel welcome and then this past Thursday, Trish’s kindness emanated from every pore as she welcomed me to Mindfulness, offering me green tea from a tiny cup. Within minutes of walking in, a dozen others arrived – teachers, students and guidance counsellors. What followed was a half-hour of peaceful music, quiet reflection and a guided meditation with the focus on listening – to others and to our own bodies. My breath slowed and deepened, my mind stopped racing. It wasn’t boring, or difficult or embarrassing. It was just really, really nice. At the end of the session, we opened our eyes and everyone quickly dispersed before the bell. I thanked Trish and went to my van to begin another busy day. But, this day was different. It began with kindness, reflection and connection. And the effects lingered, a little, for the remainder of the day. It was a better day, a little less manic, a little less stressed, a bit happier. In short, I lived that day enjoying the moment a little bit more. Life is crazy for all of us. We all know about the physical, emotional and mental benefits of daily meditation and exercise, in theory. Do we do it? For many of us, the answer is ‘no’ – and for most of our kids, a resounding ‘no.’ But, thanks to one devoted SESAT member and the support of this unique and wonderful school our kids attend, there is something in place to help us make that commitment. Better yet, to help our kids make it. It took me a long time to get started with SESAT and with Mindfulness but I’m glad I finally made it, because there is no downside to a better day. It’s the building block to a better life. And this particular block is a pretty easy commitment, all things considered. I’ll be back, and I hope to see you there. And one day, when pigs learn to fly, maybe my son will join us.
4 excellent fundraisers will help us hit our fundraising goal with your help! Whether you are able to help run one of these or participate by donating goods, dollars or buying flowers, we are thankful to you.
Program 1: “Love Your Student” Direct Donation Campaign – at every show March to May
Program 2: Spring Flower Fundraiser – Coming in early May
Program 3: 2nd Annual Yard Sale – Coming to our parking lot at the end of May
Program 4: The Snack Shack – this after school program that runs Tuesdays and Thursdays where we serve healthy snacks and awesome smoothies has taken the halls of ESA by storm. A huge thanks goes out to the Moms that have been out to run the program. I would like to also recognize Bamford Produce for their generous donation of fresh fruit for our Smoothies. The program will run until May so please continue to encourage your students to bring cash and meet us at The Shack!
Our last Parent Social held Monday March 6th at The Crooked Cue opened our eyes to some more talent tat ESA. Oh yes, we have Pool Sharks and Ping Pong Stars. It was a lovely evening and as was shared by one parent in attendance ” This is such a good opportunity for me to get to know some of the amazing parents at ESA!”. We look forward to hosting our next social in the months to come so stay tuned….
- March 23rd – 5:00pm – On Broadway Musical
- March 24th – 7:00pm – On Broadway Musical
- March 25th -2:00pm & 7:00pm – On Broadway Musical
- March 29th -4:00pm- Big Screen Film Festival
- Every Tuesday and Thursday – 2:45pm Snack Shack
Want better Health – Become a Volunteer, Study says!
Global News Correspondent Allison Vuchnich shares how this Study run by Harvard looks at the link between volunteering and health care use versus previous research that has examined overall health benefits of volunteering.
Study Authors explain that volunteers take better care of themselves because “volunteers experience more positive emotions, psychological well-being, and less depression, when compared to non-volunteers” and immune systems are bolstered by positive emotions. Also a sense of purpose in life, connections and social time with others – all has been linked with positive health outcomes.
Check out the full article here Volunteering = Healthy Living
March Volunteer Shout Out
This month I would like to recognize this group that helps bring every SESAT concession stand and event to fruition. Whether it is opening doors to spaces, moving tables, helping set things up, tidying up after us or taking a moment to chat and laugh, the custodians of ESA are the best! Thank You Bert, Chris, Dan, Daryl and Stan for all your help. SESAT appreciates You!
May Election and June Volunteer Celebration
In May, SESAT elects our new Board. We welcome anyone interested in getting involved to come forth and run for office.
Each June, we take a breather and celebrate one another. This gathering has always taken place at a volunteer’s home – in the form of a potluck. If you would like to open up your home or the gate to your backyard, we would appreciate it immensely.
Need more info to make a decision on either of these, drop Bev a note at [email protected] or call at 416 708 3091.
From all of us at SESAT, have a great March Break and a Lucky St. Patrick’s Day