We profile two participants in the two-year mindfulness meditation certificate program launched as a collaboration among Survivors Empowered, the University of California at San Diego and Shelly Tygielski, author, mindfulness teacher, and activist.
Each survivor is learning how to teach trauma-informed mindfulness, and each plans to use what they’ve learned to help survivors in their communities heal.
A Grieving Father is Committed to Helping Others
Seventeen-year-old Nick Dworet was killed in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018. His father, Mitch Dworet, says Nick was in love with his girlfriend, and to mark Valentine’s Day he created and exchanged beautiful paper hearts with her. For Mitch and his wife Annika, the trappings of the holiday are now a trigger for pain.
“Stores are starting to have hearts,” he says. It brings us right back.”
But despite the challenges, Mitch has spent the last two years pursuing holistic healing for himself and his family. His surviving son, Alex, was grazed by a bullet in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and is currently a senior there.
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Moving from Darkness Into The Light
Brenda Mitchell’s hopes for the mindfulness meditation program she started in early January are being realized. “It’s great; I’m really opening up. I’m identifying with being present in the moment and understanding what that is.”
Brenda, who is a pastor and had her son, Kenneth Mitchell, killed by gun violence in 2005, is a lifeline for other mothers who’ve suffered the same trauma. She is a staunch ally of Survivors Empowered, and operates on multiple fronts, with direct support to peers, group facilitation and policy advocacy as well.
Read more here.