Rochester Woman Online's July/Aug 2023 Edition

Page 70



Julie Chapus


Kwann “Calvino” Moore


Sandy Arena

52 78


Michael Barbato


I am so grateful for this community This group of people inspire me every time I leave a conversation And guess what, you can sit with us!!



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n to have a space where women fident, and inspired to walk their ey, The Hive was founded to offer ility to step away from other es and distractions to have oductive time in a beautifully kspace. It’s a one-of-a-kind place gifts and abilities to make this ter place.

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In this edition we are truly honored to be able to showcase the hard work, dedication and truly selfless work of Julie Chapus, owner and founder of Miss Julies School of Beauty for human trafficking survivors. The only school of it’s kind in the country! You won’t want to miss reading every word of this incredible woman’s story, and then donating to help her mission of opening the doors to the school by Fall of 2024!

PLUS,don’t miss out Influential Man Kwann “Calvino” Moore, Coffee for Cops with Michael Barbato, a chapter in the life of survivor Sandy Arena, and SO MUCH more that fills the over 225+ pages of this amazing edition!

Did you know that we are so much more then just an online publication? We have a lounge & collab, host events, provide branding and marketing services for clients, do LIVE video showcases, have a podcast, are influencers and more. We are all about providing our community of women everything they need to be successful!

Know someone who would be perfect for a cover, a feature, or a spotlight? Do you have a business that is you want tot promote to an audience of over 100k?

CONTACT ME TODAY at networkrocqueen@


We are honored to have the founder and creator of Miss Julie’s School of Beauty, Julie Chapus photographed by Robyn Baty Photography.

“I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles.”






Kelly Breuer

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Julie Chapus

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Sandy Arena

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Rochester Woman ONLINE is the premier professional woman’s online publication in the Greater Rochester area. Our feature articles address major topics that interest local women. Each issue includes articles on health, fashion, fitness, finance, dining, lifestyle and personal perspectives, as well as a spotlight on local area women. The electronic magazines are distributed freely through your favorite app store and will be in your inbox electronically by the first week of every month. The publication is available free of charge. Please feel free to contact publisher Kelly Breuer at 585.727.9120 or you can email us at Download our current media kit at

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Rochester Woman Online recently had the pleasure of working with up and coming fashion stylist, Leonardo Calvino for fashion show “Diamond In The Rough” to benefit Miss Julie’s School of Beauty for human trafficking awareness.

Calvino, born Kwann Walner-Moore, not only helped host the fashion show, but helped style over 50 models backstage, putting incredible styles on the runway while a standing room only crowd sat in awe. We are excited to showcase this talented hiddengem in the fashion world, that is right here in Rochester!

How did you come up with the name “Calvino’s Closet” for your brand?

Calvino Closet was something I dreamed and manifested for some time and then I finally started telling people little by little until it came to fruition.

Can you tell us about your background and how it has influenced your career as a fashion designer and stylist?

I grew up as an inner city kid in Rochester NY before being put into an all-boys Charter School due to my behavior in public school in the Rochester City School District.

Fashion has always been a part of my life, but I never could express it the way I wanted to because my family wasn’t didn’t have the means and I also was 1 of 4 siblings in a single

parent household.

What motivated you to pursue a career in the fashion industry?

I was always told growing up that I had a unique way in dressing myself, and to be honest it really comes pretty effortlessly to me. But, the way people would admire me in public made me realize I had a gift.

me. I think watching her is part of the reason I love fashion and stylisg so much.

What is it like being an influencer and having young children? How do you balance your personal and professional life?

Being a worldwide influencer has actually brought unnecessary stress to my life in some ways. But, I understand who I am to others and what role I play in there life and I understand it’s all part of the journey. Having younger kids actually keeps my vision and goals clear. My goal is to teach people like myself the meaning of fashion and understanding that it isn’t a price, it isn’t a word. fashion is a form of who you are. Fashion is a piece of identity that expresses how you feel, who you are, and what you stand for. I also can see myself traveling all over the world creating wardrobes and outfits for celebrities, pro athletes, as well as stylinbg on movie sets or for fashion shows.

Who has been your greatest inspiration in your career and why?

How did your relationship with your mother impact your journey as a designer and stylist?

My mother has always played a huge role in my life when it came to dressing and styling. I actually have never seen someone mix colors and blend an outfit like she would. The way she put an outfit together inspired

My greatest inspiration has to be my kids. I am so blessed to have them in my life and they have unknowingly brought out such a heavy work ethic and drive in me that is like no other. They are my WHY.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working? When I’m not working my favorite

“Calvino Closet was something I dreamed and manifested for some time and then I finally started telling people little by little until it came to fruition.”

thing to do is play basketball at Cobbs Hill or family fun day with my wife and kids. I am also a huge networker at heart, so meeting new people is always a goal of mine every time I’m in public.

Among all the people you have styled, who is your most favorite and why?

Wow, what a great question. So far, out of all the people I have styled, Nelly Epic, CEO of GPDW2 happens to be one I have truly enjoyed,. The process wasn’t easy, but she was the first client that I actually got the opportunity to give my full “Calvino Closet” experience to since launching back in 2019. Since that project I have been having major success locally including styling over 50 models for the runway for a local non profit’s fashion show.

Could you share a significant travel experience that has shaped your journey as a designer, and why was it important to you?

Yes, my wife surprised me with a trip to NYC for the first time in my life. I’ve always dreamed of moving there because I had so much admiration and respect for the fashion scene there, so to be exposed to that world really helped open my

eyes to know what I could become.

What are your dreams for the future of your brand and career?

My dream is to open up multiple Calvino Closets throughout the

secret to “Having Anything You Want In Life, If You Dress For It“.

How would you describe your personal style, and how does it influence the clothing you design?

My style is very unique. I have an eye for matching the perfect colors and materials together that helps speak to the look I am trying to portray, or “give off” because Fashion is an Art within your identity. Often I create looks and styles just to see if people from outside of the world of fashion notice the look I’m trying to give and I find great satisfaction in doing so.

Can you give us a sneak peek into your upcoming projects or collaborations? Where will we see you next?

I am currently branching out to the state of Florida where I have been given the opportunity to work a lot more in-depth with celebrity Actors/Actress on set of movie productions.

How do you stay creative and innovative in an ever-evolving fashion industry?

country that are specifically geared towards African American men, or men in general that are either leaving the prison system, or entering corporate America. Teaching and stressing the importance of appearance and the

What helps me stay creative is knowing that there are so many countless ways to express yourself when it comes to Fashion. Everyone is unique in their own way so finding that very thing within someone through fashion style just really brings this craft to a whole nother level. That is where I find my passion.

“Teaching and stressing the importance of appearance and the secret to “Having anything you want in life, if you dress for it.”

What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers and stylists who are just starting their careers?

I’d say whatever it is that you wanna do in the Fashion Industry, do it to the best of your ability. Fashion is a true form of art, so you want to be able to touch lives and express your feelings when doing so it’s very important to the craft.

Are there any specific causes or issues that you are passionate about, and how do you incorporate them into your work?

Yes I am truly passionate about my community and creating efforts in changing the stigma viewed towards

African American men and women. Having the power to help someone find their identity within themsleves brings such joy to my soul.

What are some challenges you have faced as a fashion designer and stylist, and how did you overcome them? I have faced many different challenges throughout my journey and people don’t understand how hard it is and how much time it takes in planning. Starting from wardrobes for individuals when it has to be based on so many things like, the type of event, finding the right sizes, shipping, time, gas, the countless phone-calls, a clients likes and dislikes. But, I have always found a way to make it work for me.

As long as you’re learning from your mistakes and come back bigger I think that’s critical when growing it’s ok to fail as long as you learned from mistake. You can’t be scared to lose.

How do you use your platform as an influencer to inspire and empower others?

I use my platform as a form of motivationand inspiration. I use my platform to show people that I can come from the same living conditions, school systems, and the same communities and backgrounds, but still end up on top. It all starts with your mindset.

‘“I have faced many different challenges throughout my journey and people don’t understand how hard it is and how much time it takes in planing.”
“I’d say whatever it is that you wanna do in the Fashion Industry, do it to the best of your ability.”


I pray to God every day, often throughout the day. As I speak to Him, this I what I felt Him say back to me about the writing of my book I’m Not That Girl Anymore. I am happy to begin the process of sharing parts of it through Rochester Woman Online.

I set you apart. I set you apart. Your pain is your story. Trust me with your heart. Write on I say. Write on I say. Keep to the facts and tell of my glory. I’ve kept you in love. I’ve kept you through the years. I held you when there was no other. I wiped away your tears. Be strong and smile – the devil resist. Be strong and carry on – trust my mighty fist. You are beautiful my child – my treasure you are. You are beautiful my child – my bright shining star. Pray for the persecutors. I use them to refine. Pray for the prosecutors. I love you. You are mine. I give you words. Write them for me. I give you words. Display my love for them to see. Rest easy my child. It will all be okay. Give me your burdens. No longer be dismayed. Write what I say. Write what I show you. Write to help others. It’s my gift and my avenue – to teach them and hold them – just like I did you. You don’t need a mother. You don’t need a father. You have me to unravel the years of sobbing. You handle it better with each passing day. Unmoved you will be as you hear what I say. You handle the hate. My perfect love only will you see. Finish up, finish up; my work in you I will complete. Eyes on me – eyes on me; only my heart will you hear beat. Tune it out. Tune it out. It’s only lies thrown at you. I allow it to happen so my love will fully flow through. Don’t despair or fret. It is okay.

Look up and look out. Be hopeful for this brand new day.

I’m Not That Girl Anymore


I am a survivor, I am healed, I am home, I am brave, I am strong, I am powerful, I am loved, I am His, I am worthy.

For too many years of my life, I struggled with low self-esteem and negative selfworth, and lacked a sense of belonging no matter what I appeared to be on

and a sense of satisfaction to my life, and purposefully and happily mothering three children who are the absolute delight and joy of my life, one could say I have it all. No one would know the days I struggled to overcome - battling fears, insecurities, depression and despair - while attempting to rid myself of negative feelings that seemed to be planted deep within my soul.

There were days when I fought back tears forcing myself to get out of bed, and willing myself to not give in to temptations to socially isolate from people. There were days also turned into years that I lived for perfection in myself, my home and my work trying to outshine my humanity, while taking on the role as my own worst critic.

the outside, and no matter how many accolades and accomplishments I achieved, whether in obtaining my education, in my professional work, or in my ministry endeavors. For those who have known me, loved me, worked with me and interacted with me, perhaps this comes as a surprise to read, but then again, perhaps not.

Married to a wonderful man, living in a nice home in a picturesque town in upstate New York, working and serving God in ways that brought fulfillment

While I consider myself to be a resilient person who has overcome much in my life purely by strong will and by being focused on accomplishment and achievement, I longed to overcome the void and self-doubt that would encroach upon me choking out all that was innately good and beautiful, created by God, in His image, in me which in hindsight I know SHOULD have been enough. On some of my darkest days it seemed no matter how hard I tried, how diligently I prayed, or the amount of time I immersed myself in the word of God, I struggled to blot out the negative feelings towards myself, despite my desire to be free.

This book is about my story and why I have wrestled with self-acceptance, self-love and belonging for so many years, and to share my journey in order to help others who may also feel the


same to know they are worth more than anything they would ever believe about themselves as they struggle to overcome traumatic circumstances in their lives. I am no longer the girl I once was, and I give God all the glory for healing my broken heart and resetting my thoughts about myself after years of suffering. I am admittedly still a work a progress until I am with Jesus, although I have come a long way in the past 30 years when my healing journey began, and feel ready to share what I have experienced to help others in their own paths towards becoming the people God created them to be.

I am sharing my story because, quite simply, I need to get it out, and also, I

feel it is helpful in establishing common ground with people who too have suffered and long to be free. My purpose is to provide words of hope that will help others become all that God intended them to be, and to encourage people to arise no matter how their stories have unfolded because we all have difficulties to share as part of being human. It is what we do with our areas of ruin and trauma that matter, and for me, what is most important, is to point my victory to the One who loves me most – the one, true, living God - as the foundation of my security and self-worth, and as the lover of my soul. He is the One who lit my path of healing after I fully committed my life to Him, and as I received in faith His blessing and salvation. I am

certain that God, who began the good work within me (AND YOU TOO), will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

What I will share here are the experiences I had growing up as they relate to how Jesus set me free, and continues to do so as I walk out my faith on a daily basis as a work in progress trying to become better with each passing day, week, month and year. I have had some debilitating, life chapters that no amount of sheer will or striving for perfection and personal accomplishment could truly fix. Eventually, mask-wearing becomes too difficult and chokes out the oxygen of true life. Striving for perfection is a

“As I speak to Him, this is what I felt Him say back to me about the writing of my book I’m Not That Girl Anymore.”


daily, exhausting chore that is impossible to maintain and will never yield the peace that surpasses understanding in knowing Jesus and accepting His love for simply being one of His chosen and part of His Creation. There are Biblical promises for all of us who will receive and it is a much more peaceful way to live – to stand upon His promises in faith – than to constantly strive to find our worth. I hope readers will find even the tiniest glimmer of faith to believe God’s promises as true, and to NOT quit along the way. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

I want people to see the beauty and example of one person – me - who is overcoming through the pure, unconditional love that is found in having a relationship with Jesus and following His word. My story has many ugly tales, like many of our stories do, and sometimes I look back on my years and wonder how it all could have happened. As I write this out, parts of it feels surreal. We live in a fallen world, but the good news is that Jesus came so we can live life abundantly and to the fullest. I know I am not alone in my suffering as a child of a living God and even better yet, I know that through my suffering the God of grace is calling me to eternal glory in Jesus. I know He has restored me, and I know He will restore you, too, if you receive His love in faith. (1 Peter 5:10) Jesus bore the sins of the world while hanging on the cross and He knows our pain. I take great comfort in knowing these truths, and consider the difficult times I have

experienced part of His master plan for my life. We were never promised a life without suffering, but instead are called to stand firm in that suffering, not of ourselves, but in submission to God and His plan, knowing we are not alone. I believe sharing my experiences is part of my plan to help others. I am not dwelling, as I had been accused by a person who wanted to silence me, I am telling to help others and to most of all give God the glory for all He has done for me. God has spoken to me, and I feel this applies to many survivors of trauma. He has set me apart and my gift is my story which is ultimately to speak of His glory. If you don’t know where I have been, you would never fully understand how far I have come, and I hope the truth of my journey encourages others to keep going.


The struggles I have had in my life include a childhood riddled with excessive instability and trauma associated with constantly being uprooted and moved to over 25 houses in different states, towns and locations in my first 22 years of life - beginning in infancy where I lived with four different relatives the first year of my life including with my paternal grandfather who ruthlessly and selfishly sexually abused me - that first year, too, I am sure - and throughout my entire childhood, as well. Both of my parents struggled from addictions – one to alcohol and work, and the other to prescription pills – leading to instances of abandonment, neglect, accusatory rage and terrifying anger from my father especially during pivotal moments and milestone events where a girl or young

lady should have felt safe, protected, cherished and loved like on the day I graduated from high school, or on my wedding day.

Other early experiences that marked my lifetime journey to overcome include instances of emotional abuse, harsh criticisms and cruelty that lasted into the writing of this book including when I opened my home to my mother to live with my family during the last nine months of her life. I gave it my all along with my children and husband’s help to provide a loving, safe home for her which was something I struggled to find as a child. It was a gift for God and service to Him to serve my mother in this way, and a part of my own journey of healing and forgiveness.

Growing up, I witnessed self-destructive and harmful behavior, and it took its toll on how I viewed the world and myself. My workaholic and alcoholic father, with his explosive and terrifying anger, viewed women as nothing more than “trophies and nuisances”, to quote one of my relatives who was close to him and knew his beliefs, and there were many times I was at the receiving end of his anger or silences where he made sure I knew my place as an objectified female. Abortion, divorce, extra marital affairs, substance abuse, drug crimes, and addictions disrupted my peace, proper development and sense of security during formative years. I moved out on my own at age 16 to live with my older sister at the New Jersey shore after my mom left my dad for a married man after 32 years of marriage. She completely walked away from her duties and commitment as a

“I set you apart. I set you apart. Your pain is your story. Trust me with your heart. Write on I say. Write on I say.”


mother and wife leaving me – the only dependent child still at home – to fend for myself, even though a relative had asked her to at least wait until I finished high school – which would have been only two more years.

As a young teen when I finally decided to move to another state to get away from my parents and all of the toxic and destructive drama, the only thing my father said to me when I was preparing to leave was, “Make sure your sister tells you about birth control.” I had barely even kissed a boy at that point, let alone even considered having sex, and his words cut like dirty, crass knives in my already broken heart and even further skewed my understanding of female empowerment and worth, while further objectifying my persona that was already marred with messages I had clearly been given by the adult men in my life – including my pedophile grandfather – that I was nothing more than an object.

I purposed to be such a good girl growing up. Terrified by my father’s rage and continually rattled by my mother’s instability, neglect, cruelty and criticism directed to me, I always tried to please. I was a top grade earner, president of my class on several occasions, an athlete, and a member of the cheerleading team. I was voted friendliest and best personality – a byproduct of being a master people pleaser who was continually dragged into new school districts. I had just made varsity cheer and had been voted president of my class by my peers the year I left my parent’s traumatic household to live with my sister during the summer of 1982. Walking away from my parents

was not difficult by any means. What was difficult, however, was walking away from my collection of personal accomplishments that had become my security blanket and sense of worth in the midst of so much insecurity. I am God’s handiwork – plain and simple - and my accomplishments do not dictate His love for me, but as a child who struggled to know unconditional love, this was a difficult concept for me to grasp, and one I still grapple with today. Maybe others can identify with this, as well, in the “slay your day” and “girl wash your face” culture.

In deciding to live with my sister at the Jersey Shore, I hoped to heal and believed a summer at the beach would restore my tattered soul and emaciated body that had shed 60 pounds in one year from rapid onset anorexia in the wake of family trauma. This weight loss was mostly triggered by my mother moving out to pursue the affair which broke me even further as I was forced to live with her while she was in the middle of this relationship, while she made zero attempts to hide it or help me cope with my new life. Back then, my skeleton body matched my hollow soul, but even at the vulnerable age of 16, I was ready to move on to finally breath, and to maybe just be a carefree teenager. Now that I am a parent, it is astounding to me that no one even tried to stop me from leaving, or attempt to make things better at home. I think my parents must have been relieved to get me out of their way because they struggled to manage their own problems, let alone the job of raising me.

Moving out at this age forced me to learn as a young person to navigate an adult world as I took on the tasks of enrolling myself in high school my junior year and getting my driver’s license, taking help from kind people including my late brother-in-law to do so. Even though I eventually got my driver’s license, I had no access to a car during those years, and rode my bike to and from work as a waitress after school -- many times in the wicked seashore winds -- or I hitch hiked - even to the laundry mat - to wash my clothes. One time there was an incident when a man let me in his truck and immediately exposed himself. How fortunate was I that God protected me. I told the man to stop the car and let me out, and he did. I know now that the Lord always had His hand of protection on me in my many places of danger, violence and vulnerabilities during these early years while I navigated much of the world on my own. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

As mentioned before, the worse of what I experienced during my childhood years was the repeated childhood sexual abuse I endured from my grandfather without one shred of justice being served, except now to be able to finally tell my story, free from the fear of cover-up lies, judgement, disproval, shunning, and relational tactics designed to manipulate, guilt and shame me into silence. The second worse, beyond the sexual abuse, is the emotional abuse and cruelty I experienced from my mother that

“There were days when I fought back tears forcing myself to get out of bed, and willing myself to not give in to temptations to socially isolate from people.”


deeply scarred me. As I have worked through so much of what I will share in this book, what has motivated me the most in my journey is my desire to be free – free from emotional pain, free from the harrowing memories, free from the insecurities, and free from all that hinders me to become the person God has created me to be. I hope in reading my story that you, too, can find the courage and hope to do the same. The point of this book and in sharing my story is not to merely share my sad stories, but to speak truth in a safe place, breaking free to chronicle my experiences that are rightfully mine to share. I hope to encourage other people who have been through similar situations to overcome through the receiving of the miraculous love and saving grace of Jesus. That is what this book is mostly about: to serve others and share my love relationship with Jesus because what I have discovered in pursuing a relationship with a living God is that without Him there is no foundation of truth, no matter where you are in life, or no matter what you have been through. Even in writing this at this very moment, as difficult as it feels to write much of this out, I know Jesus is right by my side and I feel his warm embrace and the comfort of resting my head on His shoulder, something I never experienced as a child with my Earthly father.

In the past and during different junctures of healing and the rebuilding of my life as I have found strength in Jesus, I have gone from limited contact to no contact with my family beginning with a God orchestrated move 21 years ago

from New Jersey to upstate New York that took me 400 hundred miles away from everything and everyone so that I could continue to walk out this process of healing that really began when I was in my mid-twenties when I first became a mother – the greatest joy of my life. It has taken that long, and I am still a work in process at age 57. As I mentioned before, and as life and the Lord would have it during these current years for me, my mother had since followed me to upstate New York – almost 20 years after I first arrived - and at age 92 was living in our home for 9 months before she passed in September 2021. This required me to care for her 24/7 despite her instances of emotional abuse and cruelties I had suffered from her during my lifetime. This new season in my life tested my commitment to walk out my faith and God’s commandment to honor my parents realizing that “honoring” does not mean allowing someone to overtake your entire life to the point of being emotionally abusive. Caring for my mother was labor intensive, emotionally and physically draining, and endless in her demands for attention and affection despite the fact she withheld that from me during my earlier years. I loved being a mother and never felt anything but pure joy in caring for my children, as well as the many kids we have fostered, and the fact that she did not was deeply scarring. Eventually you come to the place where you are simply done being abused and discover that you are not powerless to what has occurred. You do have choices about who has access to you as you learn to exert your boundaries in healthy ways. This was something I worked on daily

while she lived with my family as I was learning to speak truth to her, and confront and forgive the actions that had hurt me for so many years.

When the quarantine of 2020 came on March 13, God told me to write. The word of God says that the sheep (I am His sheep) hear His voice, and I do hear the voice of the Lord. He said, “This is the time. Write, and I will be with you.” He told me that in this next season as I write out my story, He would continue teaching me about His love and that as I receive I could then fully love on others. So in the best manner of obedience to God that I can practice, that is what I have been doing: weeding through mementoes, photographs, letters, notes on my phones, essays and blog entries on my computer, as well as piles of papers, cards and artifacts I have saved and gathered along the way. As the youngest of five children who was raised with the understanding and reminder spoken to me at many times that I was not wanted and that my parents were devastated when they learned my mom was pregnant with me, there are not too many photographs of me growing up. I have over compensated in my own motherhood journey capturing every moment of my children’s lives and saving many remnants of our family life because I feel it is important. I have purposed to set my own home up for my children as much of a continuum of their lives decorating with their photographs and mementos so they can come home –even after they have moved out - to feel unconditionally accepted, loved, celebrated and grounded, and to help them become the people God created

“. I am no longer the girl I once was, and I give God all the glory for healing my broken heart and resetting my thoughts about myself after years of suffering.”


them to be. Am I a perfect mother? I am far from it, but I try every day to be my very best, to put God first, and to serve my family, children and community with all my heart and soul living out the commandment to love God and love people.

In this process of sharing my journey and research along the way, I sought help from others and made an effort to learn details of my past that I cannot remember in hopes to overcome the internal problems I have dealt with including insecurities, feelings of abandonment and rejection, and self-hatred. Digging is hard work in the natural and also in the depths of our experiences. Unfortunately, the lies we pick up along the way make it that much harder. My mind was wired with untruths about myself for too many years, and the hard work of self-reflection, prayer, therapy and clinging to the truths God says about me in His word (no matter how I am FEELING) has helped me to rewire my mind and throw the lies I have believed about myself and my worth back to the pit of hell from which they came. Jesus said in Matthew 24:35 that Heaven and earth will pass away, but His words will never pass – including His words about us. How beautiful, but also how tragic that we soon forget or overlook what Jesus has said. I look back at pictures of myself, and upon my many accomplishments in life, and I feel sad that I have struggled with belonging, finding acceptance and learning selflove. I wish I could go back there and give myself a hug. I am made in God’s image and He formed me with a plan and a purpose. He loves me with an

everlasting love and He loves you, too. We love Him, because He first loved us. Maybe readers can also relate to these struggles as survivors of childhood abuse and highly dysfunctional family systems or even through their own traumatic experiences because I believe we all go through hard times. In reading my story, I hope people can find inspiration and that they too will discover part of the healing process is remembering our trauma, so that ultimately we can let it go, and find the true joy that the Lord has planned for our lives.

I have promised God that I would see this journey through – as difficult as it is even to go through some of these memories without feeling again the sting of trauma. My goal is to help other women and men who may have had the same childhood and adult experiences I have had, and to help them find their own light so they too can help others. Light grows and shines over darkness and this is what I hope to accomplish with this journey of remembering what I have stuffed, overlooked, blocked or minimized in an attempt to survive what happened to me. As I share and get it out on the table, I hope you see the Lord’s promises as your guidepost, and find inspiration as I have in the past in reading other people’s stories which helped me during some of my hardest times of healing. A few years ago, for example, I randomly learned a new fact about the childhood sexual abuse I had suffered and I was completely undone again and felt like I just couldn’t take another period of grieving this new piece of information without support or help from others who also experienced

similar atrocities of what I experienced. I needed to know I wasn’t alone in my suffering. I did an internet search for childhood sexual abuse survivors and stumbled upon a book written by a woman who had similar experiences, and made it my job to read that book and face my grief and trauma with the author by my side. It made all the difference to the point that I wrote her a letter thanking her for her work to chronicle her story and for providing me with an example of survival that I so desperately needed.

In closing, I have made the commitment to write out my story and put the pieces of my life together in streams of words woven together with streams of Living Water that is the foundation of Jesus. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 10:7 that the memory of the just is blessed, and while I will be sharing the parts of my life that have been extremely hard and that required me to seek the Lord and healing with all my heart and soul, I have been blessed beyond measure with my husband and children and the life we have built in upstate New York that is filled with joy and stability and memories I will cherish for a lifetime. My life truly began when first becoming a mother at age 26 and I thank God for allowing me the opportunity to just be a mom, love my husband, and to seek and serve God as He guides and directs me through the seasons of my life until the day of Jesus Christ. We are promised that when we seek Him, if we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him. I have found the Lord, and in finding Him, I am a new creation in Him where all old things have been

“Eventually, mask-wearing becomes too difficult and chokes out the oxygen of true life.”


made new. And as my very wise husband confirmed, “Everything in your future will outdo what has happened in the past, if you persevere and believe.”

I am committed to the practice of replacing my wrong thinking with thoughts of who I am in Christ including the following “punch list” that I hope readers can cling to in hope as they read my story. These truths are also for readers if they truly believe in their hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe and receive in faith His word and the promise of salvation, wholeness, healing, love and eternal life freely offered to us by Him. I a child of God – John 14:18 - I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you I am supported – John 14:15-17 - If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I am brave – Romans 8:37-39 - No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. .I am courageous – Psalm 56:3 – When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

I am delivered – Psalm 56:12-13 - I am under vows to you, my God; I will present my thank offerings to you. For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

I am forgiven – Ephesians 4:32 - Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

I am healed. – Jeremiah 33:6 – I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.

I am heard – Psalm 6:9 - The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.

I am His – Psalm 9:9–10 - The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. I am home – 2 Corinthians 5:8-10For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

I am included – John 14:1-4 - Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare

a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.

I am loved – Isaiah 54:10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

I am powerful – 2 Timothy 1:7 - For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

I am protected – Psalm 18:30 - As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.

I am purposeful – Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I have an inheritance – 4 - In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession-to

“My story has many ugly tales, like many of our stories do, and sometimes I look back on my years and wonder how it all could have happened. as I write this out, parts of it feels surreal.”


“I am a survivor, I am healed, I am home, I am brave, I am strong, I am powerful, I am loved, I am His, I am worthy.”

I am strong - 2 Corinthians 12:10 - That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. I am a survivor. – Joel 2:32 - And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered;

For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

I am worthy – Proverbs 31:10 - She is worth far more than rubies.

While I practice to know these things now as I daily continue my journey of healing, I still need to tell my story. Here it is.



What Is Aging and How Do We Track It?

Essential Definitions to Understand the Anti-Aging Quest

The field of longevity was once new to me. Before my current role, I had a vague grasp of concepts surrounding longevity and aging research. That all changed when my journey with the Longevity Science Foundation began.



The organization’s mission struck a chord with me: having a close relative battling a neurodegenerative disease and seeing the toll it took on their life was one of the key motivators behind my decision to lead a global longevity nonprofit.

As we work towards funding innovative research worldwide, I am presented with another important task: spreading the word about our mission and the fundamental concepts that underpin our pursuit of extended and healthier lives. In this article, we will explore some of the key concepts behind longevity and aging research, introduce you to the drivers of aging, and some of the tools required to track and monitor the pace at which we age.

Longevity as a function of lifespan and healthspan.

As we’ve uncovered in the previous article, the key to understanding longevity lies in understanding lifespan and healthspan. Longevity professionals strive to increase overall lifespan, push the boundaries of human longevity, and maximize the time spent in good health (healthspan) without age-related diseases or disabilities.

Without interventions, our quality of life deteriorates as we age. While current medicine can extend life by a handful of years, it often fails to restore the quality of life during the extended

time. Therefore, the aspiration is not only to increase the length of life but also to delay and minimize the healthspan decline phase, aiming for a narrower fraction of time spent with a reduced quality of life. Let’s delve into how we can achieve these goals.

Biological vs. chronological aging.

As we age, our bodies experience a

genetic predisposition, a healthy and active person in their 50s may have a biological age comparable to someone in their 40s. In contrast, an individual with a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle may, in fact, be biologically older than what their chronological age indicates. Biological age surpasses chronological aging in its capacity for predicting healthspan decline, disease onset, and mortality.

Biological age tracking and its perspectives.

Measuring and tracking biological age become important when assessing the impact of lifestyle changes. Through various aging tests, we establish baselines to determine the effectiveness of interventions, providing valuable data to tackle health issues that hinder the optimization of our biological age.

plethora of changes that are reflected by our well-being. These changes, known as the biological aging process, reflect the age of our tissues, organs, and cells. While we cannot halt the passage of time (our chronological aging), significant progress has been made in understanding and decelerating biological aging. With the right lifestyle choices and a good

The expansion of longevity medicine combined with the rise of digital healthcare and telehealth will enable wider access to professional advice necessary for interpreting the data we receive. Health service providers equipped with digital healthcare tools can offer vital feedback and analyze actionable data, empowering individuals to effectively manage their health and offset the biological decline. This transformative approach allows proactive steps to slow the aging process

“While current medicine can extend life by a handful of years, it often fails to restore the quality of life during the extended time. ”

and potentially achieve rejuvenation. But what exactly will we be tracking?

The twelve hallmarks of aging.

Biological aging is a complex, multilayered process with no singular culprit. In 2013, researchers identified a set of nine hallmarks associated with aging. Over time, three additional biological processes were incorporated, resulting in a total of twelve factors underlying aging and decline in humans and animals. These factors include DNA instability (1), telomere attrition (2), epigenetic alterations (3), loss of proteostasis (4), deregulated nutrient-sensing (5), mitochondrial dysfunction (6), cellular senescence (7), stem cell exhaustion (8), altered intercellular communication (9), disabled macroautophagy (10), chronic inflammation (11), and dysbiosis (12). These twelve aging drivers are interconnected through various mechanisms, and understanding their

interdependence remains an ongoing pursuit for longevity physicians and researchers. The twelve hallmarks serve as a framework to further investigate and address biological aging.

Aging Clocks.

Aging clocks are biochemical tools that help us identify our biological age using the aforementioned panel of biomarkers. The first one was introduced in 2011. Not unlike many scientific breakthroughs, this discovery was accidental. A University of California biostatistician Steve Horvath was looking into epigenetic biomarkers to seek out biological grounds for differences in sexual orientation. Instead, he found a strong correlation between the ages of the study participants and their epigenetic markers. Quoting Steve himself, “I fell off my chair because the signal was huge for aging.” He subsequently went on to develop the eponymous Horvath Clock, the first epigenome-based aging clock.

Since then, several other models have been developed, including the ones based on changes in the epigenome, telomere length, transcription factors, gut biome, and more. All these tools vary in characteristics, and as science advances, we hope to see more scalable non-invasive solutions with high predictive capacity.

Accessible and accurate aging clocks hold great promise for tracking, offsetting, and potentially reversing biological aging. Recognizing their importance, the Longevity Science Foundation centered its grant call around aging clocks. We invite you to support our work and efforts in helping early-stage longevity researchers that are trying to investigate novel aging tests. Join us in the revolutionary quest to slow down and reverse biological aging, securing a promising and healthy future for generations to come.

“The expansion of longevity medicine combined with the rise of digital healthcare and telehealth will enable wider access to professional advice necessary for interpreting the data we receive.”
78 ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE : JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2023 MEET MICHAEL BARBATO An interview with Rochester Woman Online with the creator of Coffee For Cops.


What is the mission behind Coffee for Cops?

Coffee for Cops is a faith-based community outreach supporting lawenforcement, first-responders, and the military while simultaneously building bridges between the community and uniformed personnel via friendship, prayer, the gospel, and distribution of free coffee gift cards as a segue to conversation.

How did Coffee for Cops get started? Can you provide some background on its origin?

We first launched in 2020 as a result of growing opposition to law-enforcement.

I sensed a need to encourage lawenforcement and all uniformed civil servants, to build morale by way of various approaches.

What are the main objectives or goals of Coffee for Cops?

Objectives and goals of Coffee for Cops is to bring hope and encouragement by way of friendship, sharing the Christian Faith, building morale, and being a piece to officer wellness.

How does Coffee for Cops envision the future of its initiatives? Any specific plans or projects?

We would like to expand current initiatives and develop new ones.

We have already completed a trip to Washington, DC in May of 2023 to attend National Police Week. We are currently engaged with The Polisseni Foundation and an initiative titled “Celebrating Law Enforcement”. The foundation is funding monthly Coffee for Cops meals from Tony D’s Restaurant, as we feed various local police departments. We are also

wearing a military ballcap and so I shared that I was Executive Director of Coffee for Cops, and that as part of our mission, we hand off free coffee gift cards to people like himself. He ended up sharing that he had terminal cancer. I asked him what his immediate concerns about that were. He told me he was unsure about where he would go after he passed. We had a conversation around faith and the afterlife, which resulted in him praying with me and asking God into his life for reassurance. He passed away in December of 2023 and I attended his military funeral.

I’ve had several conversations with police officers and EMS personnel who shared that their jobs were very trying at times. I just listened, and afterwards sometimes you give hugs, sometimes prayers, sometimes words of affirmation, and sometimes you can tell that all they wanted was just a kind, listening ear.

planning a trip to New York City so we can meet up with The NYPD and FDNY by the end of the third quarter this year.

Can you share an interesting conversation or experience you’ve had during one of your coffee times?

During October of 2022, I met a U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran named Mike Stedman at a bakery. He was

I’ve also had conversations with people in the community, who may not be proponents of law-enforcement. In those cases, again you just lend an ear, try to find common ground, but most importantly you show compassion and respect.

What is the most memorable impact or positive outcome Coffee for Cops has achieved so far?

“We first launched in 2020 as a result of growing opposition to law-enforcement.”


I think the most memorable are all the officers, firefighters/EMS, and military personnel that I often see again and again locally. They express their extreme appreciation for what our organization does and share how it is definitely making an impact on morale. This, coupled with the outpouring of support from those in the community who have shared how it makes them feel inspired to do something on their own.

How does Coffee for Cops engage with the local community and law enforcement agencies?

There are a few ways we accomplish law-enforcement and community engagement. The simplest way is just to approach them, introduce yourself, and show a coffee gift card while you lighten the moment with something like, “Hello, I’m here to cite you for being too good looking for law-enforcement.” That always gets a laugh and breaks the ice.

Other ways are by attending police department roll calls and sharing some words of encouragement and appreciation, along with my doing ride-alongs as a Police Chaplain with the Town of Gates, NY PD and other agencies.

I have also taken civilians on ride-alongs with me, as I seek uniformed individuals on the road whom I may give a coffee gift card to. It gives the individual who is riding with me a different look into

officers, firefighters, and others.

How did the name “Coffee for Cops” come about?

The name came about in regard to the connection between police officers and their affinity for coffee.

What challenges or obstacles have you faced in its journey? Well, honestly, I’m learning that you cannot please everyone, and that not

and physically healthy.

What kind of support or partnerships does Coffee for Cops have with other organizations or businesses?

We have been invited on a few occasions to take part at The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Wellness and Peer Support Workshops. And again, we have done numerous ride-alongs with various local law-enforcement agencies including The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, The Rochester, NY Police Department, and The Town of Gates, NY Police Department.

We have partnered with The Polisseni Foundation regarding our distribution of meals to various police departments, and have received invitations to come alongside other organizations such as The Punishers Law-Enforcement Motorcycle Club, who organizes fundraisers for the needy in different communities.

Who has been your favorite interview to date and why?

everyone will like you or what you do, or how you do it. I just choose to keep forging ahead and not take anything personally.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Take care of myself and avoid burnout. We are no good to others, if we ourselves are not spiritually, mentally, emotionally,

We don’t necessarily interview anyone, but we have genuine, unscripted and casual conversations. I think all the conversations are as unique as the individuals we speak with. If I had to pick which are the most interesting, it’s usually when you have a small group of officers or firefighters and the playfulness between them comes out. It’s almost a moment or two of release for them contrary to the difficult tasks they have and focus required.

“The name came about in regard to the connection between police officers and their affinity for coffee.”

What measures does Coffee with Cops take to ensure inclusivity and diversity?

We do not discriminate regarding gender, sexual preference, or color when we distribute gift cards or compassion. I have met gay and straight officers, male and female, young and old, from all ethnicities and backgrounds. Peruse our website catalog of photos we’ve taken and view for yourself. God created everyone in His image, and Jesus loves all regardless.

How do you measure the impact of your programs and initiatives?

We measure impact by the feedback we receive from civil servants and those in the community we interact with along with those who are aware of what we do.

There have been many new relationships established as well and some friendships that are growing as a result of Coffee for Cops over the past couple of years.

Is there any upcoming project or expansion plan that Coffee for Cops is particularly excited about?

We recently went from serving one meal per month at a particular police department, to serving two meals at two different police departments. For the month of July 2023, we will be providing meals to The Rochester, NY PD Tactical Division, in an effort to honor the oneyear memorial of that unit losing fallen Officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz in July 2022. Additionally, we’ll provide meals to The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office

Is this strictly local, or do you plan on expanding the reach?

For now, our reach is more local but we have been to Buffalo, NY, Syracuse, NY, The Southern Tier of NYS, Philadelphia, PA, and Washington, DC, with plans to reach New York City this year. We would like to expand throughout the northeast as funding increases by scaling our donor base.

Where will we see you next?

I sense in the immediate short-term we would like to roll into Toronto, Canada prior to our NYC trip.

“Well, honestly, I’m learning that you cannot please everyone, and that not everyone will like you or what you do, or how you do it”
Zone A in Penfield, NY.

I sensed a need to ENCOURAGE lawenforcement and all uniformed civil servants, to BUILD MORALE by way of various approaches.

“ We first LAUNCHED in 2020 as a result of growing opposition to LAW-ENFORCEMENT.


Accepting that a trauma has happened can be very difficult at first. It wasn’t until I started working with a coauthor, Valerie Dimino, on my memoir, The Man Behind the Curtain, that I realized the severity of what had happened to me years earlier. With the help of family, friends, working on this book with Val, and A LOT of therapy, I was able to find my way through the darkness trauma can leave behind.

Being able to tell my story to people who are willing to listen was and is an incredible way to help me start the healing process. The outreach of love and support we have gotten from so many people has helped me be able to see a much brighter future, not only for myself but for sexual assault survivors all over.

The healing process from sexual assault can be a long, dark road, but it’s worth the work to get to the light at the end. Now I am able to see a bright future for myself and my family and hope to help other survivors start their own journeys to healing.

An excerpt from The Man Behind the Curtain: A Memoir by Jessica Renee with Valerie Dimino

As I work hard at carving out a life on my own terms, I’m aware every day of all that Mitch took from me and all that I’m still working to overcome.

My mom and brother no longer speak to me, and many of my friends have turned away too. I dropped out of college due to the stress and time commitment of seemingly endless

friendships and especially romantic relationships. Self-confidence, work ethic, and even just the motivation to get out of bed in the morning sometimes feel out of reach. I see so many people my age believing that the wide world awaits them with infinite, carefree possibilities, and I ache to find that kind of hope for myself.

For the crimes he committed against me, Mitch is serving eight years in prison and is quickly approaching his release date. Meanwhile, I feel I’ve been given a life sentence. I will carry this guilt, this regret, and this fear with me always.

with friends of my estranged family everywhere from the grocery store to my counselor’s waiting room, and I even worked with some of them for a few years, making for some painful office banter. Mitch robbed me of the comfort I should be able to find in

I will forever be someone who was raped and sexually assaulted. I can’t erase that part of my story, despite how much I’ve wished I could. What I’ve just recently started to accept, though, is that those experiences do not need to define me. I will not let them define me. I’ve struggled in silence for too long, assuming others wouldn’t understand and would judge me. I’ve told myself that my voice doesn’t need to be heard—or, worse, that it doesn’t deserve to be. But I see now that I’ve been letting myself be punished for someone else’s crimes. Maybe I can change what this part of my story means. Maybe it can be a source of power more than pain.


“For the crimes he committed against me, Mitch is serving eight years in prison and is quickly approaching his release date. Meanwhile, I feel I’ve been given a life sentence.”

Along the landmine-ridden road to Mitch’s imprisonment, I lost not only my stepfather but my mother and brother, who both chose him over me. I lost my role as daughter and sister. I was dragged into the role of victim the first time Mitch put his

hands on me; I found the courage to speak from that role only years later, and I am still trying to process how thoroughly that role came to define me and my surroundings. Victim came to mean outcast, interrogated, alone. I am trying now to make

it mean more, to take pride in its synonymy with survivor, to make it mean something like warrior.


Trade Paperback: $18.00

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ISBN: 979-8-9859400-2-2

Publication Date: April 5, 2022

Publisher: Possibilities Press


J e s s i c a R e n e e w a s 1 1 y e a r s o l d w h e n h e r s t e p f a t h e r b e g a n r o u t i n e l y r a p i n g a n d s e x u a l l y a s s a u l t i n g h e r O n l y w h e n s h e w a s 1 5 a n d h e r b o y f r i e n d a s k e d t h e r i g h t q u e s t i o n s d i d t h e t r u t h c o m e t o l i g h t a t e r r i b l e t r u t h t h a t h e r m o t h e r c h o s e n o t t o b e l i e v e . B a c k e d b y a c h u r c h c o m m u n i t y t h a t b e l i e v e d a w o m a n ’ s d u t y w a s t o s u p p o r t he r h u s b a n d a b o v e a l l e l s e , J e s s i c a ’ s m o t h e r a n d c o u n t l e s s o t h e r f a m i l y a n d f r i e n d s t u r n e d a g a i n s t h e r , l a b e l i n g h e r a s i n n e r e v e n a s h e r r a p i s t w a s c o n v i c t e d .

T h r o u g h o u t t h e l o n g r o a d t o t h a t c o n v i c t i o n , J e s s i c a o f t e n f e l t s h e d i d n ’ t h a v e a v o i c e , a s s h e w a s c o n t i n u a l l y q u e s t i o n e d , c r i t i c i z e d , a n d c a s t a s i d e S h e i s r e a d y t o m a k e h e r v o i c e h e a r d n o w a n d p r o v i d e a g u i d i n g l i g h t f o r t h o s e w h o a r e s t i l l s ea r c h i n g f o r h o p e

I n c a l l i n g a t t e n t i o n t o s e x u a l a b u s e h a p p e n i n g a t h o m e , b y a f a m i l y m e m b e r t h e v i c t i m l o v e d a n d t r u s t e d , J e s s i c a ’ s s t o r y i s a p o w e r f u l a d d i t i o n t o t h e M e T o o m o v e m e n t a n d a r a l l y i n g c r y f o r v i c t i m s a n d a l l i e s t o r i s e f r o m t h e a s h e s o f s i l e n c e .

" T h i s b o o k w i l l s t a y w i t h y o u l o n g a f t e r y o u t u r n t h e l a s t p a g e

— A n n e P a n n i n g , a u t h o r o f D r a g o n f l y N o t e s : O n D i s t a n c e a n d L o s s

Contact: valdimino@gmail com, (585) 503-8465


V a l e r i e D i m i n o h a s b e e n p a s s i o n a t e a b o u t w r i t i n g s i n c e k i n d e r g a r t e n , w h e n s h e w r o t e a n d i l l u s t r a t e d h e r f i r s t s h o r t s t o r y i n m a r k e r . S h e e a r n e d b a c h e l o r ’ s a n d m a s t e r ’ s d e g r e e s i n c r e a t i v e w r i t i n g f r o m S U N Y B r o c k p o r t a n d h a s 1 4 y e a r s o f p r o f e s s i o n a l w r i t i n g , e d i t i n g , a n d m a r k e t i n g e x p e r i e n c e i n h i g h e r e d u c a t i o n , p e r f o r m i n g a r t s , a n d m e d i c a l i n f o r m a t i c s . S h e l i v e s i n L a ke v i l l e , N e w Y o r k , w i t h h e r p a r t n e r , R i c h . T h i s i s h e r f i r s t b o o k

W W W . V A L E R I E D I M I N O . C O M
. "



GPDW2 is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to under privileged youth and local sports teams in and around Upstate New York. We strive to be a change-agent by fostering excellence, both in character and community, in urban and diverse communities.

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“I empower myself and the women around me by striving to be the most authentic and best version of myself. ”


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I was born in Texas and moved to New York when I was in my early teens. I completed high school in Newark, New York and obtained my bachelor’s degree in pre-law/public justice from SUNY Oswego. When I was in my mid-20s I felt an urge to rejoin the academic world and decided to pursue a master’s degree in criminal justice. While living in Portland, Oregon for a few years I decided to make the trip to Michigan and attend law school in Auburn Hills at Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Following law school, I was admitted to the New York State Bar and began working as a prosecutor. Within a couple years, I accepted a position with Whitcomb Law Firm, P.C. where I work presently.

What made you decide to go into the legal field?

My legal experience began shortly after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 2009. While I was in undergrad I changed my major from journalism to pre-law after I had taken a Criminal Justice 101 course and fell in love with the justice system. After graduation, I worked as a paralegal at a few different firms, a legal secretary, and a court clerk. I recall one day in particular when I was thinking about my future I thought to myself “You know what? You could do what these attorneys do,” so I decided to begin studying for the LSAT and applying to law schools.

What is your legal specialty?

I specialize in criminal, matrimonial, and family. However, criminal law will always be my favorite to practice and preferred area of law. While I was in law school I loved learning about all the rules of evidence and our rights within the Constitution.

all my femininity AND be a boss in my career. Now Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a Supreme Court Justice and was on the bench for 27 years and was the second woman to ever serve on the Court. Justice Ginsburg attended law school at Harvard University and was one of only a few women attending the university at the time and later transferred to Columbia Law School. Justice Ginsburg has inspired me because of how she persevered through law school during a time when women were marginalized and the public opinion was that a woman’s place was in the home. She showed the world that you could have it all, a loving husband, a family, and an amazing career. I admire her for her ability to remain strong and stand up for what she believed in.

How do you empower yourself and the women around you?

confidence and poise, but also showed how compassionate she was. She was truly a master at her craft and in my humble opinion - no one could dazzle on a movie screen like she did. She showed me how awesome it is to be a woman and that it is okay to embrace

I empower myself and the women around me by striving to be the most authentic and best version of myself. In today’s world I find it more difficult for us to show people who we truly are because we’re afraid of what they might think. We are afraid to show our perceived weakness and vulnerability. Whether I’ve met someone for the very first time or I have known them for years, I try to give them a place where they can be unapologetically themselves. I firmly believe that people do not remember what you did, but rather how you made them feel. It is my goal to make every woman around me feel like the amazing creation she is!

“I firmly believe that people do not remember what you did, but rather how you made them feel. It is my goal to make every woman around me feel like the amazing creation she is!”

Tell us about some of your goals and dreams you want to achieve in the next year?

It might be unconventional, but I do not like to share my “what’s next” with anyone but God and my diary. I will say that in the next year I plan to continue to expand my platform “Beautifully and Wonderfully Made,” continuing working with my nonprofit organizations, and host many more “Ladies who Brunch” events!

What is one thing people don’t know about you?

I’ll share, but you can’t tell anyone! It is not something that is a complete secret, but the more I speak with the community I realize that not everyone is aware of the foundation that began my platform “Beautifully and Wonderfully Made.” When I was 12 years old, I developed an eating disorder as a result of bullying and it has been something that I have battled since. When I was involved in cheerleading I became overly conscious about my body as my fellow squad members would tease me about my weight. As a result, I have spent many years working on myself becoming better physically and mentally. Through my efforts and platform, I hope to show men and women that it is possible to overcome an eating disorder and engage in activities that make you happy. The world of modeling and pageantry is not always glamorous like we portray on social media. There are many things that happen behind the scenes that leave us with a “bad taste in our mouth.” Whether it be an unkind comment, judgment from

our peers, or even the impact being “judged” or accepted only because of our body. This is coming from a person with an eating disorder. I have found so much joy in modeling and pageantry, but I have also battled my own issues throughout because of it. To tell someone that competing in pageantry and modeling does not trigger negative thoughts as it pertains to my body and self image would be a lie. But it is my goal to not give up on something I love and to continue in spite of it.

If you could do one thing you have never done what would it be and why? I would love to return to Germany, as an adult, to see where my family was stationed during my dad’s deployment to the Persian Gulf during the Gulf War. Sounds random but it is one of the only memories I recall when we were a family. I remember the memories my family made together and they are still something I hold dear today.

What is one piece of advice you have been given that you have never forgotten ?

I received this piece of advice from one of my close pageant sisters, Diana Meyer. I recall when Diana and I were in a hotel room for a pageant workshop weekend and I must have been going on and on about demanding perfection in myself in every aspect of my life - I cannot help it, it is who I am! Either way, she expressed to me - not necessarily verbatim - that some days I would excel in one role of my life and on another day I would

kill it in another role. For example, on some days I may be the most amazing attorney in the world, but not excel at being the best friend I could be. Ultimately, she told me to give myself grace because it is unrealistic to perform at 100% in every single role I have, every single day.

Also, a quote that helped me on many occasions that I may have felt inadequate: “You can be juiciest peach in the world and there will always be someone that hates peaches.” Long story short…know your worth!

What’s the most important risk you have ever taken? Would you do it again?

I moved across the country by myself to pursue law school in Michigan. I would do it a million times over again because I love my career and Michigan is where I rescued my sweet Coonhound, Bourbon.

How do you continue to constantly grow both personally and professionally? What are some secrets to your success?

I hate using the term, but I have recently been trying to read more “motivational” books. My favorite authors right now are Tim Grover and David Goggins. Both authors have a stance that continuous effort and never giving up on yourself or your goals despite the outcome are what makes us successful. On a professional level, I work on keeping up to date on new case law that has come through the courts.

“When I see Marilyn Monroe I see a woman that came from a not so favorable childhood, but grew to be so successful. She exuded confidence and poise, but also showed how compassionate she was.”

My secrets to success are being kind to yourself and to push yourself forward even on days when you feel discouraged. There have been many days recently where I have felt overwhelmed either by my extracurricular activities or my career. It’s important to remember that we cannot always control what happens on a day to day basis, but we can choose to pick ourselves up and continue moving forward even if we are crawling.

What is your favorite thing about what you are doing and working for Whitcomb Law Firm?

I practice across upstate New York, but most of my career as an attorney has been spent in Ontario County. I have truly loved getting to know the judges and other attorneys in my area. I won’t use the cliche term that we’re a big happy family - although we do argue a lot with each other so maybe that makes sense! But as I have heard it before, we have one of the best group of attorneys a county could ask for.

My favorite thing about working for Whitcomb Law Firm is definitely my legal team. When I say that I could not do my job or what I do without my team, I genuinely mean it from the bottom of my heart. We support each other in both our professional and personal lives and I could not ask for better.

What got you involved in pageantry? What is your platform and why did you choose it?

The interesting thing is that I did not

grow up doing pageants like so many women that I know. I became involved with pageantry only a few years ago. I have continued to compete in pageants because of all the amazing women I have met along the way.

My platform “Beautifully and Wonderfully Made” focuses on helping the amazingly strong women around me share their stories of difficulty and triumph. I have grown my platform to include online interviews to give women a stage to share their individual stories. I believe in creating a community of compassion for women to grow together, support one another, and build lasting friendships. I originally started my platform as a tool to spread awareness about eating disorders, but it grew to something so much more. It became a way to spread a message of strength and self acceptance.

What do you feel are some of the things that make you a strong and independent woman?

My mother has always told me my entire life that “no matter what happens you need to always be able to take care of yourself.” When I was 12 years old, my parents divorced and I moved to New York with my mom and my brother. My mother worked multiple jobs to take care of us. She had always shown strength and independence in the things she did to take care of myself and my brother. When my father was deployed to the Persian Gulf when I was 3, it was just myself, my mom, and my brother living in Germany during that time. It’s crazy to think about. Not to be overlooked, my father was

always a positive force in my life and his career as an E-8 Master Sergeant definitely taught me strength.

More presently, I take a lot of pride in being able to take care of myself. I believe the older I get (I say that like I’m 80) the more I realize that strength and independence grow from loving those around you, but also knowing your worth. It is that mindset that ultimately “I am okay” regardless of whatever you encounter in this world.

What are some of your personal experiences (or reasons) that motivated you to think/care about women’s empowerment?

One of my favorite things I always think about as it relates to my career and women’s empowerment is how when I attended law school in Michigan a majority of my classmates were women. Another fun fact….my entire legal team (minus Mr. Whitcomb) are female! It’s been so fun to know how little women were represented in the legal field back in our history and now we outnumber men in so many areas of the legal field. It’s awesome to see our growth.

Where will we see you next?

I’ll be strutting the runway on July 29th for the Diamond in the Rough Fashion show to benefit Miss Julie’s School of Beauty at Evento in Webster! Everyone should come watch and support an amazing organization.

“While I was in undergrad I changed my major from journalism to pre-law after I had taken a Criminal Justice 101 course and fell in love with the justice system.”
“ YOU can be juiciest peach in the world and there will ALWAYS be someone that hates peaches. Long story short…KNOW YOUR WORTH! ”


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How long have you been in the photography industry, Chrisom B? I have been in business for 12+ years but have always loved photography and have had a camera in my hand since I was a little girl.

What inspired or motivated you to become a photographer in the first place?

I guess it started because I love being able to capture moments for other people. I love LOVE and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Could you tell us about your photography specialty or style? What sets your work apart from others?

We specialize in weddings and boudoirs. We Love, richrich colors and work with lighting to create beautiful, timeless photos.

Where did you receive your formal education or training in photography, if any?

I didn’t necessarily have any formal training. I learned most of it by myself other people in the field and youtube. It is such a wonderful community that genuinely wants to help each other perfect their craft.

Have you attended any photography workshops or participated in mentorship programs to enhance your skills?

We are always attending seminars and online courses. We also teach at our Hilton studio. We love learning anything new with photography and video.

How do you stay up-to-date with the latest photography trends and techniques?

We LIVE on Pinterest, Instagram, tic toc and all social media platforms that help bring new ideas.

Can you share a few examples of your most remarkable photography projects or campaigns you’ve worked on?

We have worked on so many amazing projects, weddings, stylized shoots, and so much more? We Got to shoot for elevation worship, and I have to say that it was pretty amazing. Being on stage, below the stage, and behind the scene was truly an experience.

Is there a particular genre or subject matter you enjoy photographing the most? Why?

Wow,, thats a hard question. I love so many things when it comes to photography. Still, I have to say I LOVE LOVE boudior especially in our new Hilton location. The feeling you get when you show your clients how they look behind your lens is so rewarding. They come in not knowing what to expect or nervous, and they leave with so much confidence.

Have you won any awards or received recognition for your photography work?

We have won The Knot Best of weddings award for the last three years. We have also been published in a few wedding magazines for stylized shoots and won 7th place in Shoot and Share along with several top 100 and more.

What kind of gear and equipment do you typically use for your shoots?

I started with Cannon and still love cannon but we just Purchased the Sony A-1 and WOW so in love with this camera for not only stills but also video. We also have several vintage cameras we use for film, and we love exploring anything new.

How do you handle challenging lighting conditions or unexpected situations during a photo shoot? We also shoot in a studio so this gives us a bit of advantage as we know how light low light situations. But there are plenty of times we have to think on the fly and problem-solve. We shoot 45-60 weddings yearly so we are fluent in problem-solving.

Do you have a preferred editing style or post-processing workflow for your photos?

I have to say we stay pretty true to color. We know some of our clients have spent years planning their weddings and we want to always provide them with how they envisioned their day. We capture all the ambient lighting and tell your story how we see it.

Are there any photographers or artists who have profoundly influenced your work?

oh my GOSH so many Susan stripling, Aaron Delesie, Salvatore Cincotta to name a few photographers and hands down Ray Roman for wedding films. I love looking at other people’s work. I think it helps inspire us to be better and to want to do more.

“We shoot 45-60 weddings yearly so we are fluent in problem-solving.”


“The feeling you get when you show your clients how they look behind your lens is so rewarding. They come in not knowing what to expect or nervous, and they leave with so much confidence. “


How do you approach working with clients and understanding their specific photography needs?

I love getting to know my clients, we have meetings, questioners and more. We truly believe every client is different and want to ensure we capture what they need and want. We help our wedding clients set up a day of timeline to ensure we allow enough time to get what they want.

What is your favorite aspect of being a photographer, and what keeps you passionate about it? EVERYTHING...... But seriously being able to tell a love story through my lens is absolutely the only thing I can see myself doing. When you get the email or text saying how much they LOVE their galleries, it’s a priceless feeling.

Can you share a story about a particularly memorable or heartwarming experience during one of your photo shoots?

So many amazing heartwarming stories comes with being a photographer. Some are very sad, and some are very happy. We get the opportunity to freeze moments and to bring joy to people’s lives for years to come when they look back on these moments. We have shots, some last moments, and some first moments

and we have come to attach ourselves to these memories.

How do you ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for your subjects during a shoot?

We love getting our clients comfortable and walk and talk with them the

challenges or obstacles in your photography career? How did you overcome them?

Of course, owning a business always comes with ups and downs. I have to say Covid was a very challenging time for us. Trying to accommodate everyone with moving wedding dates and venues was a challenge. We had to come up with a new policies to protect ourselves and the clients. But Doing this as a whole made it a bit easier to navigate.

What advice would you give to aspiring photographers who are just starting in the industry?

Just start... Seriously don’t be scared just put in the work. Shoot inside, outside, in the cold, in the heat, in the rain, in small spaces, in large spaces, just shoot everywhere until you know your camera without looking at it.

Where do you see yourself and your photography business in the next five years?

whole time. We try not to pose as much as guide them. We think the best pictures come when everyone is at ease.

Have you ever faced any significant

I can only imagine what the next five years will bring. We are excited to open up a few studios and build an amazing team to expand.

“Reject the diet mentality. Restricting doesn’t work.”
“We LIVE on Pinterest, Instagram, tic toc and all social media platforms that help bring new ideas.”

“We specialize in weddings and boudoirs. We Love, rich colors and work with lighting to create beautiful, timeless photos.”



In the bustling streets of Harlem, New York, Sherain’s story began. Little did she know that life would lead her on a tumultuous path, filled with challenges that tested her resilience to the core. Forced to leave her beloved hometown and face homelessness with her five children, Sherain’s spirit remained unbroken. Today, she stands tall as an inspiration, having transformed her own struggles into an opportunity to uplift others. Through her organization, Raindrops Closet, Sherain offers a lifeline to homeless families in Schenectady, New York, providing them with clothes, toiletries, and essential household items.

Sherain’s journey from Harlem to Schenectady was not one she had anticipated. Arriving in a new city with her mother and two sisters at the age of 11, she faced the challenge of adapting to an unfamiliar environment. However, little did she know that the true test of her resilience was yet to come.

In 2014, Sherain found herself homeless, her five children and unborn sixth child clinging to her for support were all born in Schenectady. Desperation filled her days as they resided in a dingy hotel room, where basic necessities like a proper kitchen and a sense of stability were merely distant dreams. Relegated to brushing her teeth in a sink that doubled as a dishwashing station, Sherain felt the weight of despair settle upon her shoulders.

With nowhere else to turn, she reached out to various organizations for help. But one by one, doors were closed before her. The sheer number of her children seemed to deter others from extending a hand. However, Sherain refused to let this setback define her fate. Determined

to provide a better life for her family, she held onto the flickering flame of hope.

After years of relentless searching, Sherain finally found a place to call home—a sanctuary for her and her children. Yet, her heart ached for the families she left behind in the hotel, still trapped in a cycle of homelessness. Fuelled by empathy and a deep desire to make a difference, Sherain founded Raindrops Closet in 2015.

Raindrops Closet swiftly emerged as a guiding light for homeless families in Schenectady. Sherain’s organization provides clothing, toiletries, and essential household items to those in need. More than just material support, Raindrops Closet offers a glimmer of hope to families transitioning from homelessness to stable housing.

Through Sherain’s own experience, she understands the transformative power of a simple act of kindness. She ensures that each item donated to Raindrops Closet is given with love, care, and the understanding that it can restore dignity and confidence to those who have lost their way. The organization also goes the extra mile by helping families with bedding and other household items, ensuring a smoother transition into their new homes.

Sherain’s story embodies the true essence of resilience—a tenacity that refuses to be stifled by adversity. Despite enduring homelessness, she emerged stronger, determined to turn her personal pain into a catalyst for change. Raindrops Closet is not just a testament to her own strength but also a reflection of the resilient spirit she instills in others.

Her journey from homelessness to hope is a powerful example of the resilience of the human spirit. Through her struggles, she discovered her own strength and used it to uplift those in need. Raindrops Closet stands as a symbol of her determination to bring light to the lives of homeless families, giving them the support and resources necessary to rebuild their lives.

Sherain’s unwavering dedication to her cause has touched the hearts of many, inspiring a community to rally behind her. The impact of Raindrops Closet goes far beyond the tangible items it provides. It offers a lifeline of compassion, reminding individuals and families that they are not alone in their struggles.

Sherain’s journey has taught her the true meaning of resilience. It is not just about weathering the storm but also about maintaining focus on what truly matters. In the face of adversity, she chose not to let her circumstances define her. Instead, she embraced her role as a beacon of hope, bringing light to the lives of others who were facing their own battles.

To become a resilient woman, Sherain believes that it is essential to have an unwavering faith in oneself and to lean on a higher power. Through her faith, she discovered inner strength and found the courage to persevere. She has shown that resilience is not about pretending that everything is perfect, but about finding the strength to rise above challenges and make a positive impact.

As Sherain continues her work with Raindrops Closet, she envisions a future where no family has to face the despair of homelessness. She dreams of a society that embraces compassion and provides


“Despite enduring homelessness, she emerged stronger, determined to turn her personal pain into a catalyst for change.”

support to those in need, empowering them to regain their independence and rebuild their lives.

Sherain’s journey is a powerful testament to the strength of the human spirit and the transformative power of compassion. Through her organization, Raindrops Closet, she has shown us that even in the darkest of times, there is always hope. And it is through resilience and a steadfast

belief in the goodness of humanity that we can overcome any obstacle and make a lasting impact on the lives of those around us.


Maya McNulty is a successful business woman, author and long Covid patient - led researcher. Her tenacity for advocacy, passion for travel and outdoor adventure allows her to speak on global stages and

experience different cultures other than her own. A positive mindset and attitude are the cornerstone to Maya’s resilient lifestyle. She has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, WebMD, Medscape, Healthline and many more.


Linked In: mayamcnulty/




Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives.

Ask the coach whose team is behind in the final seconds of a game. Ask the air traffic controller in charge of scheduling takeoffs and landings at a major airport. Ask the news reporter who has just received a breaking story from the AP wire. Or ask a parent of a critically ill or injured child—they know better than anyone how important even a single minute can be.

I typically share a story about the impact and importance of minutes for the families in our care at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester, however this month I want to offer ideas from an article written by John Maxwell, highlighting intentional behaviors that can be incorporated by all as we try to maximize our limited and precious allotment of time.

Time management is an interesting oxymoron. However, if we can embrace and incorporate skills to prioritize and manage our time, we might just maximize what we have! Here is a great analogy reinforcing the value of intentional living… think about the days in your life as identical suitcases—all the same size. Then think about how some people find ways to pack more into their suitcases than others can.

There is no magic way to create extra time, but, if we apply a consistent approach to living our lives with purpose, and have a clear direction, we can make the most of the moments we have been given.

Maximizing the space in our suitcases. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester (RMHCR) is one of 387 chapters in over 65 countries. There are 175 chapters in the US and five in New York State, and we are so fortunate to have a chapter in Rochester. While our HealthCare Partners—URMC, Golisano Children’s Hospital, and Rochester Regional Health—provide state-of-the-art pediatric care, we support families while their children are being treated, clearing barriers and obstacles so parents can focus exclusively on their child’s health and wellbeing. We serve over eight hundred families annually, providing over 10,000 family nights, and saving families $2.5 million in food, transportation, and lodging. And most importantly, we give families time. Time to be together. To be close when their child is hospitalized. We understand just how precious time is. Every day we witness the powerful impact of time spent with a loving, supportive, and trusted individual on a child’s recovery.

We spare families from the distraction and exhaustion of logistical needs so they can be bedside and focus exclusively on their child. Because we understand the matter of minutes, especially when a family is facing a serious medical condition or diagnosis. And we do it 365 days a year at no cost to the family. John Maxwell, an internationally respected leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold more than 18 million books has identified five characteristics to maximize time. His principles are used by business, organizational, and community leaders—but anyone who wants to maximize their precious time

can apply these simple but important reminders.

Maxwell suggests that we:

1. Be purposeful.

People who use time wisely spend it on activities that advance their purpose in life. By consistently channeling time and energy toward an overarching purpose, people can fully realize their potential. Purpose enlivens all that we do. In fact, the two greatest days in a person’s life are the day they are born and the day they discover why. Uncovering purpose helps to refine passion, focus efforts, and sharpen commitments. The cumulative result is to amplify achievements.

2. Be committed to values. People who use time wisely underscore their values with the time they spend. By acting in accordance with their beliefs, they find true fulfillment. Failure to identify values can lead to a rudderless existence in which people drift through life, uncertain as to what they hold dear. Clarity of values is like a beacon of light, guiding the way through life’s twists and turns.

Values inspire a broader sense of purpose. They make work worthwhile, if vision is the head and mission is the heart, then values are the soul. Values endow day-to-day interactions and transactions with meaning.

3. Be attuned to your strengths. People who use time correctly play to their strengths. By doing so, you are most effective.

As Jim Sundberg says, “Discover your

“Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives.”

uniqueness; then discipline yourself to develop it.” You are blessed with a unique set of skills and talents. Find them, refine them, and let them carry you toward success.

4. Choose happiness. People who use time the right way choose happiness by prioritizing relationships and recreation. While choosing happiness may seem simple and obvious, far too many people are looking in the wrong places to validate their worth. One chases after power and prestige at the expense of friendships and family.

Family and friendships are two of the greatest facilitators of happiness. Prioritizing time to cultivate relationships is a hallmark of a healthy balanced life. Likewise, scheduling leisure minimizes stress and allows time for the things that bring us joy. In the end, happiness is an inside job. We are wise to surround ourselves with family, friends, and fun, but we determine our internal response to the people and circumstances in

our lives.

5. Be an equipper. People who use time properly equip others to compound their successes. They realize the limitations of individual attainment, and they build teams to expand their impact. By developing an inner circle, wise time-users multiply their influence. At RMHCR, we become an extension of the family’s support team. From the moment a family enters one of our houses or one of our four family rooms, they are surrounded by staff who are completely focused on their needs, and our primary responsibility is to clear all distractions so that each family’s limited energy can be directed toward the care and support of their child. We ensure that travel, food, and lodging needs are all met. The RMHCR team embraces every opportunity to meet the family where they are; celebrating the tiniest of miracles with one family while holding other families as they face the unthinkable.

Equippers pour themselves into the lives of others and watch the ripple effect of their kindness spread through those around them.

As much as we would like to, we cannot make more time—it is a finite and constantly diminishing resource. But if we can be intentional, focused, and spend time wisely, we will fill our “suitcase of life “to its maximum capacity.

John C. Maxwell + posts

John C. Maxwell, an internationally respected leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold more than 18 million books, has been named an inaugural SUCCESS Ambassador. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP, a non-profit organization that has trained more than 5 million leaders in 126 countries worldwide. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek; best-selling author, Maxwell has written three books that have sold more than a million copies.

“Because we understand the matter of minutes, especially when a family is facing a serious medical condition or diagnosis. And we do it 365 days a year at no cost to the family.”

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Can you provide some background information about Senior Care Authority and how it was created?

Senior Care Authority is a nationwide franchise of Certified Senior Advisors in 75 US markets. We opened in Rochester, NY at the end of 2017 and have now helped more than 1,800 families find solutions to keeping elderly loved ones safe.

What types of services does Senior Care Authority provide for seniors and their families?

We are elder care consultants who help families identify what is needed to keep an older loved one safe. Once we have diagnosed the care needs, personal preferences, and budget we advise families on the options so they can make a knowledgeable decision. Our specialty is identifying appropriate senior living communities that meet the support level, financial capabilities, geographic location, amenities, and continuums of care available in more than 100 area senior living communities and facilities enabling families to choose which to visit or consider as a safe living solution for their loved one.

We also offer senior driving safety, remote senior management for out-oftown families, peace of mind visitation, and Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) employers can offer to the 17% of employees managing careers and caretaking simultaneously.

How does Senior Care Authority differentiate itself from traditional senior care consultants?

Unlike hired private nursing and geriatric care services who bill hourly for help,

our placement services are typically free to families; local communities pay a fee to consultants who bring them a new resident to meet the licensed care, and financial requirements needed to join. In 2000 the “senior placement” business exploded with online marketers using SEO to collect and sell family information to senior communities who use the purchased information to contact families. We were the first local business to enter the Rochester, NY market. Since 2017 at least 4 other local companies have joined us

then provide the options families can consider worth visiting. We schedule and join families on tours, help with paperwork and negotiations, and hold their hands throughout the process following up after a move to ensure the loved one is safe.

What territories does Senior Care Authority cover? How far is your reach? We operate in Monroe and all surrounding counties down to the Pennsylvania border. West to Batavia, East to Seneca Falls.

What has been the biggest hurdle or challenge that Senior Care Authority has had to overcome?

providing hands-on, local expertise to families. Local advisors live in our market, regularly visit communities to keep up with their offerings, ownership, and licensing, and run NYS DoH inspection reports. What does it smell like? Where can a senior bring a pet, or smoke on campus? What happens if care needs exceed licensed support? Countless questions families have we can answer quickly with expertise. We meet the senior and/or family face to face, execute an extensive intake process to determine needs and preferences,

We welcome locally based, live hands-on competitors who provide personalized support via experience and expertise. Collectively our challenge as small businesses is recognition. We estimate less than 10% of family inquiries are aware of our local service. For independent and assisted living communities 60-80% of new resident acquisitions come by paying a fee to online marketers and consultants. While we make it very clear how we are compensated, 90% of fees paid go to online marketers who establish themselves as an “agent” when consumers search the internet for information and click “OK”. Few consumers realize that asking for information on the internet typically assigns an online marketer a seniors’ agent for 7 years! The cost of licensed senior living is shared online by only 5% of communities, and even then, the rent and care costs are an estimate that is only confirmed after detailed medical information and a personal nurses assessment.


What are your most commonly requested services?

In most cases an elderly person will need more care than a family is willing or able to provide while juggling jobs, children, and geographic challenges. Our referrals most often come from industry professionals who are unable to maintain the current offerings and requirements of more than 100 area senior communities, so they point patients and clients our way to help ensure a safe solution is found quickly and efficiently.

What are some common questions that people often ask Senior Care Authority?

• How much does your support cost? (Typically, nothing for help finding Independent, Assisted, Enriched, Enhanced, Memory Care, and Special Needs senior living. Paid services such as driving safety, remote family support,

and long-term care skilled nursing placement services are only billed after our clients understand and agree to sign a clearly defined services agreement.

• What does Medicare and private health insurance cover to support senior living? A: Medicare and health insurance only support short rehabilitation stays, not room and board in a community. Outside of the very limited, often undesirable option of sharing a small Medicaid-supported nursing home room, living in supportive senior living is almost entirely private pay.

• What is the best nursing home for my loved one? A: In NYS, the Department of Health now licenses many types, sizes, and care of a variety of senior living options well beyond “nursing homes.” These include Assisted Living, Enriched Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Special Need Memory Care assisted living in addition to senior

apartments, subsidized senior apartments, and age-restricted Independent Living Communities.

• We are tapping out having exhausted our family’s ability to support an elderly loved one, what can we do? A: While we don’t have all the answers, we are very familiar with almost all the options to understand what help is needed and available.

• Our family is unable to persuade a frail, failing elder who is in danger but scared of being forced into a nursing home. What can we do to alleviate these fears so we can keep our loved one safe? A: Today there are many diverse options for a senior who is not safe at home. We educate seniors and their families on all the options so they can make intelligent choices. This includes our expertise in how to initiate and maintain these delicate conversations.

“We educate seniors and their families on all the options so they can make intelligent choices. This includes our expertise in how to initiate and maintain these delicate conversations.”


• How much do senior living options cost? A: Between $1,000 and $20,000+ monthly. It is critical to understand the current needs of a loved one, as well as work to measure the trajectory of any illnesses and needs for support to identify the best options.

• Who can afford the rent and care costs of senior living? A: We estimate only ~25-30% of seniors have the resources for even short stays in senior living communities. Senior Care Authority does a tremendous amount of probono work educating seniors and their families on the breadth and costs of options available.

How did you decide to take on the franchise opportunity and what made you choose senior care authority? What were you doing prior?

My business partner began shopping franchises in 2017. Each of us was helping manage the support of our parents in decline and found localized help was commonly billed at $150/hour and internet searches did not provide much clarity on understanding options. We continued our senior advising education, developed relationships and agreements with local communities, and informed area hospitals, doctors, skilled nursing rehabs, elder law attorneys, financial planners, home care agents, and other peripheral services how our support could provide value to their patients and clients. Previously I had spent 40 years in the telecommunications and electronics industry, my partner Mike Kearney managed large area call centers that happened to also support the telecom industry.

What types of support does Senior Care Authority provide to family members in need?

In a word, personalized. Very rarely do seniors and their families understand the maze of financial requirements, licensed care levels, availability, apartment sizes, amenities, entertainment, transportation, and social support offered under the very general label “senior living.” We carefully determine the current needs, and trajectory of illness, budget, geography, and personal preferences of the senior(s) involved face-to-face before suggesting any kind of solution. Once we understand the seniors’ needs and preferences, we work together to prioritize what to visit and consider. This applies to our placement expertise, driving safety, and other services as well as all the peripheral services outside the scope of Senior Care Authority’s offerings. A move to a senior community is not always appropriate or affordable so we frequently educate our clients on other supportive options and point them to local homecare agencies, medical specialists, equipment suppliers, elder law attorneys, financial advisors, public assistance resources, and other companies and specialists who can meet the client’s needs.

In your opinion, what is the best part of what Senior Care Authority does? The relief clients and families share after meeting with us to understand how they can help an elderly loved one. Once a senior is no longer safe at home, families are often overwhelmed with how to care for someone who once cared for them. More than anything the tears, thanks, and blessings our

clients share after we have helped are the most rewarding benefit of elder care consulting.

Can you share some testimonials or feedback from clients about their experience with Senior Care Authority? Attached is a list of written reviews and thanks we have received from families.

Here are a couple of examples:

• Working with Dave was an outstanding experience. He was easy to talk with and was able to find the right assistant living for my brother on the west side closer to me. Without his expertise and looking for the correct placement, I would not have been able to do this easily on my own. He listened and was compassionate. Thanks Dave! AnneMarie A, survey July 1, 2023

• How do you find a safe place for your parent? We worked with Dave Schanz at the Senior Care Authority of Rochester. The process from interviewing to visiting places was simple and efficient and within a couple of weeks we found the best place. Thanks Dave Kathy Dunn Google Reviews June 29, 2023

• I have had the opportunity to work with Mike Kearney professionally and always appreciated his approach, compassion, and expertise. Senior Care Authority is where you will find excellence when you need guidance and support. Recently I called Mike to help my family with placing my mother-inlaw (who I adored) in a memory care community. Before we got very far in the process, she became suddenly ill

“While we don’t have all the answers, we are very familiar with almost all the options to understand what help is needed and available.”


and sent to the hospital. In the panic of being in the emergency department and expecting her to be discharged. But to where? Aware her discharge could go in various directions; Mike gave us comfort and peace of mind. He had arranged plan A,B, & C for us. Sadly, she passed in just a few days. But we are so grateful to have Mike’s help. Tina Cook April 19, 2023

• Thank you, Mike Kearney, for the quick and efficient support in placing my Mom in Fairport near us. You are so knowledgeable and compassionate. I’d highly recommend your services. A million thanks. Lisa McGraw Facebook March 25, 2023

How does Senior Care Authority assist families in finding the most suitable senior care options?

Hands-on, face-to-face whenever possible; often at a hospital or rehabilitation facility. Personalized. Most important is we do not direct or push families to make decisions, we offer a selection of solutions that best meet their needs so they can make educated decisions.

Can you describe the process Senior Care Authority follows when helping families with senior care placement? We begin by allowing clients to vent their frustrations. We ask; what is a “perfect” solution? Next, we work through a very detailed intake process covering health, care needs, the trajectory of any illnesses and complications, financial resources, family dynamics, legal issues, geography, and much more. We can only help a senior or family if we have a clear understanding of their needs, resources,

and preferences which takes time, patience, and a willingness to discuss very intimate, personal information that is simply outside of the wheelhouse of most medical professionals.

Are there any specific qualifications or certifications that your consultants possess?

Yes, extensive, and costly! We are all “Certified Senior Advisors” which requires an end-to-end knowledge of all topics related to aging along with ongoing continuing education requirements. We are “Certified Dementia Practitioners” educated in how to support seniors suffering from cognitive impairments as well as helping families understand how to interact with an affected loved one. Senior Care Authority requires all local affiliates to have these certifications and each team member must complete elaborate and ongoing training needed to stay current with best practices, technologies, laws, and public resources. Additionally, our team is deeply involved with the Greater Rochester Area Partnership for the Elderly (G.R.A.P.E.), a local nonprofit dedicated to bringing more than 300 area experts in senior care together enabling us all to meet and understand services beyond the scope of our expertise so we can provide help and value to clients even if their needs are beyond Senior Care Authority’s service offerings. Co-owner Mike Kearney is currently the President of GRAPE, an elected, volunteer role for the next two years.

How do you stay updated with the latest trends and best practices in senior care?

In addition to regularly attending GRAPE events, maintaining certifications, and corporate training we take every opportunity to visit area communities. Ownership, licensing, staff stability, and company policies can change significantly. No number or database can substitute for walking through a community, meeting residents and staff, witnessing support, understanding meal plans and options, and considering the cleanliness and smell of a facility.

Does Senior Care Authority provide any ongoing support or follow-up after placing a senior in a care facility? Moving from a home or apartment to a large senior community is a significant disruption to an elderly person in need. Significant resources are required to properly support assimilation into a community. The first few weeks can be difficult. However, in most cases after a month or so the most common feedback is “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” We personally contact both our client and the community after a move-in, and survey for feedback. After 6 years in business, our previous clients are often our most common referral source by returning for help with other family members or introducing us to family, friends, associates, and neighbors who can benefit from our help.

Can you share any success stories or notable achievements?

Yes, for days! We are running a business and enjoy making a living doing something we love. That being said, the satisfaction of talking a client down from the edge of frustration, patiently discussing intimate family details with

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Local advisors live in our market, regularly visit communities to keep up with their offerings, ownership, and licensing, and run NYS DoH inspection reports.”

a sobbing loved one to calm them, and the relief clients share knowing an elderly loved one is now safe enabling them to focus more time and energy on children, family, and career are priceless rewards we enjoy almost every day.

Helping someone in their 90s who has outlived most cohorts or has no family support. Pointing someone without financial resources to public assistance options.

Leveraging Veterans programs to support those who served our country.

The warm partnerships we have with communities who receive calls all day long from families they can’t help knowing a client we introduce is prequalified to join their community.

What are you planning for the next 3-5 years?

7 years ago we had visions of expanding our business to Buffalo, Syracuse, and beyond. We quickly learned there is all the business 3-5 of us can manage in and around Monroe County. We decided to focus on being the best in class in Rochester offers all the opportunity we

need to innovate and grow servicing a rapidly growing market. 10,000 US citizens turn 65 every day. As a country, we have failed to anticipate the increasingly complex needs of a population that often far outlive their ability to live independently. We can only speculate about what the industry will be like in 5 years, but we are very certain significant change is required to meet the demand. We are dedicated to evolving with these changes so we can provide even better support for our clients.

“We are elder care consultants who help families identify what is needed to keep an older loved one safe.”


It doesn’t matter what illness causes mobility impairment. When a family is told their child will have impaired mobility, one of your first thoughts is what kind of life our child will lead and how we can make life a little more normal. Bella’s Bumbas was born out of this idea to help a child live more normally. In the words of the Bella’s Bumbas founder’s Granddaughter Nicole, 7 yrs old, “ The most important part of Bella’s Bumbas is “helping Kids,” I asked her HOW, and she said..... by giving them wheelchairs when they need them, so they can roll around and play with other kids.

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Rebecca Orr, the president of Bella’s Bumbas (https://bellasbumbas. com). Bella’s Bumbas is a family-run 501(c)3 non-profit.

Can you tell us about the mission and goals of Bella’s Bumbas? Bella’s Bumbas has a “ GLOBAL Mission of Mobility” Our goal is to get as many children independently mobile as possible for the least amount of aggravation and the lowest cost to the families. Our chairs are best utilized with children 50 lbs or less and 45 inches tall or less.

How did the idea for Bella’s Bumbas come about? What inspired its creation? One amazing little girl named Isabella Shorr was born in 2015 with Spina Bifida; on her 1st birthday, her Uncle Marty made her a “bumbo” wheelchair using plans Bella’s Aunt Becky had found on Pinterest. We have since modified those plans to suit the many needs of other children requesting a “ Bella’s Bumbas” chair.

What specific services or products does Bella’s Bumbas provide for children with limited disabilities?

We make and give toddler wheelchairs to any child around the WORLD; we offer base extensions, Kris Karts to carry a small portable ventilator, and a basket for smaller mobile medical devices.

How does Bella’s Bumbas ensure that its wheelchairs are tailored to meet the unique needs of each child?

We ask each family to fill out a request form, answering specific questions about the child; if we have any questions beyond that, we will reach out via phone, sometimes via video call. We try our best to make each Bella’s Bumbas “fit” each child to the best of our ability based on what we have learned over the last few years.

What impact has Bella’s Bumbas had on the lives of the children who have used its wheelchairs?

The effect on the lives of “our” bumblers is beyond what any of us ever expected. Doctors said that children would never be independent “movers”! Some children have “exercised” their lungs so much while rolling their chairs and have lessened the oxygen they need daily. Some “impacts” are on the siblings and our bumbaleers; for the 1st time, the siblings can safely play with each other for some families. Brain & Life magazine did an article on how children’s neurological and cognitive areas improve due to early mobility and independence.

Could you share a success story or testimonial from a family that has benefited from Bella’s Bumbas?

Every bumbaleer has their own fantastic

success story! Here is one from Elizabeth’s family!

“We were first introduced to Bella’s Bumbas in 2017 by my ex-sister-in-law, who had sent me the information after discovering that Elizabeth was born with a disability.

I researched them but looked at the styles of the chairs and realized that with her caudal regression condition, she has legs that are fixed in a constant frog-like position, and none of the seats would work. Another parent in the Facebook group we are in offered us the use of the wheelchair her husband had made for their daughter, who has the same condition. We used that for a while, but Elisabeth was so young that she felt unsteady; she was always a child who liked to be swaddled.

One day shopping at a local consignment store, I found the perfect chair for her to use in the kitchen for her to sit at the table and reached out to Rebecca at Bellas Bumbas and sent her a picture, and asked her did she think that if I sent the chair to them would they possibly be able to make that into a Bumbas for Elizabeth.

Well, a couple of weeks passed, and before you knew it, we returned her chair to us. A simple little wheelchair, at this point, Elizabeth was 9 1/2 months old, and she took to it like a fish in the water. She learned how to maneuver that thing and was all over the house. Sharing pictures in our Facebook group turned into others with her condition needing that same chair style, so the Elizabeth style was born at that point.


. I don’t know how many of these chairs they have made. I have seen maybe eight of them through the group we’re in, and it has changed our life, and I know it has changed the children’s lives that receive those chairs.

2019 it was 9/11/ 2019; we were in Buffalo and had the pleasure of meeting Marty, Becky, Jeffrey, Sonya, and especially Bella. I have the cutest pictures of Bella and Elizabeth hanging out in bed, reading. We have become friends through what most people would think is the worst thing in their life having a disabled child. Still, it’s been the best thing that could happen to me because I have learned that there’s nothing impossible for anyone. You must figure out the best way to do what you must do with your abilities. We are so thankful for Marty and Rebecca and Marty’s skills and making these and their generosity for their time and making these and love watching all the posts from people worldwide when their children experience their bumper for the first time just like Elisabeth did.”

How does Bella’s Bumbas source the necessary funding and resources to create and distribute wheelchairs? Go Fund Me, Paypal giving fund, directly or when using PayPal to pay online, you can choose a Non for Profit to PayPal to donate $1 to, and that $1 adds up. fundraiser/charity/3350645

Are there any plans for expanding Bella’s Bumbas’ reach or services?

Our chairs are currently in 65 countries around the world; we are always looking to help children as best we can; we are

sometimes blessed by other families with other types of medical equipment and or medical supplies, which we send where we see a need.

How can individuals or organizations support and contribute to Bella’s Bumbas.’ mission?

Donated Supplies are always a bonus for us; we are looking for some suitable storage space(in or close to Webster). Funds are also helpful in a general area as we have many costs the house we have been blessed to use has overhead, utilities, taxes, and house maintenance (needs a handicapped ramp; we have supplies on site, just no one to build/ install) fundraisers are fantastic, we don’t have time to do them ourselves. AWARENESS is the most significant way to support Bella’s Bumbas.

What challenges does Bella’s Bumbas face in its mission to provide wheelchairs to children with limited disabilities? International shipping is our biggest hurdle; international shipping is crazy expensive. We always look for someone flying who generously takes a chair with them to a waiting family… It costs the “transporter” nothing as the chairs often fly for free; if they do incur any costs, Bella’s Bumbas will reimburse them. General prices constantly rise; we are BLESSED and always act on FAITH. A few months ago, our funds were meager, and we needed to order more seats to assemble. I asked Uncle Marty how much was in the bank he said, “Just order them. God will send what we need” THAT order was $1000.00; the next day, we received a call from the coordinator of Websters Business

Improvement District’s Bourbon Bash, who had done a fundraiser for us; they had a check to present to us........ that check was for $990.00!

Can you describe any collaborations or partnerships that Bella’s Bumbas has established to further its impact? We have so many amazing organizations and other Non for Profits worldwide; the list is so long. just a few are Keystone International Rotary, For You Haiti, For The Least Of These, and Private individuals around the world. Local area organizations include Golisano Children’s Hospitals, Child Life, Wegmans, Parents Helping Parents, The Wager Family, Webster Lions Club, Webster Rotary Club, Camp Smile, numerous local churches,

Are there any plans to develop new or innovative wheelchair designs that could further improve the lives of children with limited disabilities? We are working on expanding our style chair to accommodate larger children; we are very excited and have been working on it for a few years, and we hope that by mid-fall, we will be ready to share it with everyone publicly.

How can interested individuals or families contact Bella’s Bumbas to request a wheelchair or learn more about the organization?

The website request form is available.... or send an email to

Are there any upcoming events or fundraisers which Bella’s Bumbas will host or participate?

We have several families that do Facebook

“When a family is told their child will have impaired mobility, one of your first thoughts is what kind of life our child will lead and how we can make life a little more normal.”

fundraisers, “Network for Good”; they will do just “regular” fundraisers on occasion, we do some local events for local awareness, and we have some of our bumbaleer families around the globe that will represent us at times when we can’t personally go. We will attend the AMC Conference in Ohio at https://www.amcsupport. org/conference-2023; and the CSS conference in Boston at https://www.

What long-term goals does Bella’s Bumbas have in making a difference in the lives of children with limited disabilities? Our long-term goals are to get as many children mobile as possible for as long as GOD enables us.... and every chair we make impacts more than one child, as it is shared with another and another as each

child outgrows it........... It’s like Matthew 17:20 ...... Bella’s 1st chair was, unknowingly, a mustard seed God intended for us to plant and GROW!

“We make and give toddler wheelchairs to any child around the WORLD; we offer base extensions, Kris Karts to carry a small portable ventilator, and a basket for smaller mobile medical devices.”


“Modey was one of the most affectionate dogs I had ever met, and I quickly learned firsthand why he was such a favorite among staff.


My name is Jesse O’Conner and I’ve recently adopted Asmodeus, affectionately known as Modey, from Animal Care Sanctuary. We met about 5 months ago when I started working there as a canine caregiver. Modey was one of the most affectionate dogs I had ever met, and I quickly learned firsthand why he was such a favorite among staff. He was a joy to have with us and, by almost all rights, was a model dog. He was very loving, great on a leash, unreactive toward our resident working cats, and AMAZING with other dogs.

When we had playgroups Modey would be in the yard with anywhere from 4-6 other dogs running around and playing freely. He has a rare dog to dog style that we don’t see too often in the shelter. He can be hyper and playful with puppies and other energetic dogs, yet gentle and calm with shy or scared dogs. In fact, his best friend was a little Dachshund named Rocky. Modey would get down on his level and play so carefully with him. He knew Rocky didn’t like being crowded and would throw his body weight around to clear other dogs out of the way if he noticed Rocky was getting overwhelmed. The way he

so diligently watched over his little friend melted my heart, and the sight of a 90-pound lab being silly with such a little dog was a trip.

Modey came to ACS back in the summer of 2021 from Best Friends Dog Rescue. He spent over 500

ever gave him a chance past the first impression. We all knew what a heart of gold was lying under that fear, and it was heartbreaking to see him fail. Fast forward 5 months, and I had the opportunity to buy a house where I had the space for him. I knew the moment I decided to move that I was busting Modey out and finally taking him home. Since he’s come home, he’s made friends with my fiancé, my parents, and our other 3 dogs. To no surprise, his new best friend is our Chihuahua/Pug. Since Modey has been given the space to meet new people responsibly and at his own pace he has proven to warm up faster each time. Once Modey gives you his heart, you’ll have a loyal friend for life.

days waiting for somebody to take him home. His only hang up was that he feared strange people. Due to this underlying fear of strangers, Modey never had a successful meet where he didn’t try to nip at potential adopters. Although he warms up to new people rather quickly, nobody

He is truly a joy to have around and loves nothing more than laying with his head in my lap and snuggling. We go on lots of walks through the woods or down the walking trail by my house. There is also a swimming hole in the creek across the street where I can’t wait to take him this summer, he LOVES to swim. I am overjoyed that he has transitioned so well into our family, and excited for the many adventures in store down the road for both of us.

“He is truly a joy to have around and loves nothing more than laying with his head in my lap and snuggling.”



Matthew Perry and how it all fits in.

This is about High Quality Co-Regulation and Connection with people who make you feel safe and are on the same page as you.

Now recently I was watching a documentary about Matthew Perry and his new book. So if you don’t know who Matthew Perry is, he is an actor who played Chandler on the very popular show, Friends. And for years millions and millions of not only Americans but people around the globe have watched the show Friends and enjoyed that show because of the the six stars, one of them being Matthew Perry who was always very funny and always liked to get a laugh and everybody loved him.

At some point in his life it seemed as though, to all of us fans, that he had some sort of an issue, He would be very thin and then very heavy, but we were never very clear what it was. In the book he explains that it was drugs and alcohol.

What struck me about his story was that he said that when he was younger, his life consisted of his parents and him but his parents then divorced and he was thrust into a broken home.

He loved both of his parents and they loved him. At some point his parents both remarried. Both started new families and he said he still had a good relationship with them, but he felt alone, and he felt unloved, and he felt a lot of things because of it, yet he still said that he

loved both new families, he loved all the siblings, yet he always felt like, as Mastin Kipp puts it “a lone wolf.” Look at the words, “a lone” wolf….. alone.

This is how easily things can get started in your life where you can go down a road that isn’t good or healthy. In his life, he turned to drinking because it was easy and accessible and it made him feel something that he did not feel

unhealthy. In Matthew Perry’s case, it led to drugs and alcohol.

In other people’s case, it could be that they make bad choices around other things, or in the world of domestic abuse you either will become an abuser or you might end up with an abuser because you don’t feel good about yourself, which just starts this downward spiral of bad choices, right?

You don’t think you deserve somebody worthy of you, which is what Matthew said in his book. He was with a couple of very popular celebrities and he broke it off with them because he didn’t feel like they would want him in the end or that they would end up breaking up with him. This is how we end up choosing people for our life partners that are not right for us.

His story really got me thinking because it was the simple fact that his parents got a divorce, he was in the middle and felt alone and without a place in life.

for a long time.

He had good parents, but he felt like he wasn’t enough or wasn’t being loved or whatever it was that he felt. Drinking made him feel “euphoric” as he put it and of course, that rolled into drugs. His life was almost lost because of it. This is what happens in many people’s lives when they don’t feel nurtured or loved or validated or heard, which would lead them to do things that might be

When we are young, we need support and to have people in our life to take care of us. Many times our parents may have been well meaning but we didn’t feel heard and validated or didn’t have someone or something to rely on.

So Matthew was a lone wolf. You need to join the wolf pack.

Now, about high quality and low quality co-regulation.

“ This is about High Quality Co-Regulation and Connection with people who make you feel safe and are on the same page as you.”

“You don’t think you deserve somebody worthy of you, which is what Matthew said in his book.”

When we try to do it alone it looks like this:

Low quality …..

You know you need support but you pick support that mirrors your childhood caregiving patterns. And you pick someone who you have to take care of or who feels safe because they won’t challenge you or won’t confront you or take you to the next level. The support won’t work and you feel guilt.

NOT doing it alone means, High quality….

You know you need support, so you step outside your comfort zone and feel the uncomfortableness yet, you keep going with the help of competent coaches that will help you overcome the old patterns. You need to create some disconfirming experiences which will rewire your system and in turn will cause a breakthrough, which will help you move to the next level. Now that

is a mouthful.

Just keep doing that over and over, rinse and repeat.

So this is how you have breakthroughs. Process this first and we can chat more about how I can help you move to the next level of happiness in your life.

You can reach out to me at karen@ or go to my website at



“A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself.” ~ Maya Angelou

Life gets busy with many distractions. It’s easy to lose ourselves and just function on autopilot at warp speed.

We identify ourselves as daughter, mom, wife, sister. Those are roles we play but are not our true identity.

We grow up being told what to do. Our beliefs are influenced by other people and our surroundings. Some of us do not feel comfortable in our own skin. It can be confusing.

You are pulled in many directions. Sometimes you may want to escape and silence the noise and all the voices and opinions.

Have you ever asked yourself the question: Who am I?

Your true identity can get buried.

It’s not just about gender, although that is important. The bestselling book confirms our true identity in Genesis 1:27, “So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”

You were born female or male for a divine purpose. You are valuable just as you are. You were fearfully and wonderfully made.

Know your worth, value, and identity.

We are loved because He first loved us. You cannot love other people if you don’t love YOU.

Embrace who you are and Who created you. You have special gifts given specifically to you.

Many people who end up in an alternative lifestyle are really meant to be evangelists. They just got confused. It’s okay. We all have been in a state of confusion sometimes.

Unfortunately, many people spend time trying to be like someone else. This can look like dressing and acting like other people. You are unique. No one else has your DNA.

You don’t need to be like anyone else.

Parents have dreams for their children. God is no different. You are His child; He has a dream for you.

Truly discover and know who you are and what you are designed to do.

Honestly, I have explored many directions and felt scattered and confused. I was being led and directed by other people and doing what they thought I should do.

I know who I am. I know my name and my gifts. Like the song in Moana says, “I have crossed the horizon to find you. I know your name. They have stolen the heart from inside you, but this does not define you. This is not

who you are. You know who you are.”

Once you know what you like, there you are.

When I began seeking my Creator about His plan for me, it brought clarity.

I felt light and free. I now know what is meant for me. My superpower is WRITING!

I no longer was a slave to the enemy of fear and confusion. I no longer let other people’s opinions become my reality. I no longer allowed myself to fit into roles that were not a perfect fit for me. Size matters. LOL

Free yourself from slavery. Break the chains and be who you were designed to be. I encourage you to listen to this song, No Longer A Slave to Fear.

Years ago, I took myself on a retreat to a Woman of Faith conference. I set my intentions to do a lot of writing and emotional healing. In preparation, I brought my journal, a pen, the Book of Truth, and my favorite essential oils.

I knew I needed to be there, but I wasn’t sure why at first. The answer was revealed when Luci Swindoll spoke and said she was meant to write books, which she resisted at first. Writing books and stories has always been a desire and passion of mine. Luci said to tell your whole story. She said to live your life and BE YOU no matter what.

That confirmed that I am to keep writing. It was worth the investment of


time and money to pour into myself.

Taking time away to reflect and really get to know myself was worth it. It renewed my mind, body, spirit, and soul. It was a time of healing and self-care.

A couple years after that, I wrote and published my first book, “Hole to Whole: Journey to Hope and Transformation.” The cover shows a girl sitting on a pier. She is made of puzzle pieces with one essential piece missing out of her back. Spoiler alert, one representation of that missing piece is her true identity.

Writers write. Now, I have the privilege to have a regular article in this magazine as well as bylines in other publications. Writing for others is fun too. Some people enjoy writing but don’t have time and others don’t like to write.

Writing is healing for me and soothes my soul.

Our creativity comes from God the Creator of heaven, earth, and Creator of you. What has He created you to do? Are you doing it yet? If not, why not?

Maybe you’re not sure what that is for you. Do different things. You’ll know what’s your thing and what isn’t. As for me, don’t hand me a sewing needle or garden tool. Put me in the kitchen with a bowl, beaters, the right ingredients and you’ll have warm, delicious cookies that will produce audible sounds of pleasure beyond measure.

Besides baking sought-after savory cookies that please the palate, I discovered my God-given gift and superpower is writing.

help you write your story.

Speakers, coaches, and entrepreneurs often have audios and videos that can be repurposed into blogs, eBooks, social media posts, workbooks, or a book. Ponder the possibilities. If that’s you, I can help.

If you’re still seeking your true identity and what you’re meant to do, let’s talk.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Where will I be next?

Look for me at the Park Ave Summer Stroll August 5th & 6th

Ways to connect with Lori:

“If you don’t know what your passion is, realize that one reason for your existence on earth is to find it.” ~ Oprah

Do you have a story waiting to be told? My expertise is helping people get it onto paper. I would be delighted to


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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. I’m Dominique Lopez, owner/organizer of Sort To Finish. I have a professional background in business management and client services, which stems from my passion for helping others. I currently live in the town of Greece with my husband and two children, Nathaniel (7) and Penelope (1), who keep me plenty busy outside of organizing.



Managing a household with kids while running and operating a business has added a whole new layer to my multitasking skills! I enjoy working out and living a healthy lifestyle. When I’m not busy organizing, you can find me spending time in the great outdoors with my family. One of my favorite things to do together is bike riding to the beach because I get to combine two things that I love doing into one!

What made you decide to create your business Sort To Finish?

I decided to create Sort To Finish after realizing how many people struggle with organizing. So many people aren’t able to relax in their own homes because of

the clutter surrounding them. Clutter stirs up some negative feelings and it can take a toll on you mentally and physically. The piles of unfinished projects, unopened/opened mail, kids’ school work, and unfolded laundry lying around become a constant distraction. This makes it impossible to fully relax and unwind. Whether it be the lack of skill, patience, attention span, or simply time, I knew I wanted to help others put that barrier aside and conquer their home organization quest!

It wasn’t until shortly after I had my second child that I gave the idea of starting my home organizing business some real thought and consideration.

I have organized for my friends and family for as long as I can remember. For some reason, I thought if I decided to make a career out of organizing, I wouldn’t enjoy it as much. Well, I was wrong about that! Looking back, I wish I would’ve started my business sooner. I’ve been able to help so many people in a lot of different and unique situations. My experience has really opened my eyes to the struggle that clutter creates. Not just within the household, but within the family members living in the space too. A disorderly space is loud and chaotic. Your home shouldn’t be a place that causes stress and anxiety. It should be a place where you can relax and unwind from the outside world. When your

“I decided to create Sort To Finish after realizing how many people struggle with organizing.“


home is organized and every item has a place, there is a great sense of calm and peace. I want to help as many people as I can experience that same peace and allow them to truly enjoy their homes.

What is Sort to Finish? What are the main services you provide to clients? I like to think of Sort To Finish as the motivating factor in achieving your home organizing goals! Whether it be in the physical sense (ridding your closet of excess clothing) or the less tangible sense (planning a monthly calendar or household budget), Sort To Finish has got you covered! The start of any good organizing project begins with the “sort” process, hence the name of my business. The “finish” is where the magic happens! I work to arrange items in a way that’s functional and exclusive to the needs of the client and their family. Once the work is done, you’re left with an intentional arrangement of items that’s also aesthetically pleasing to the eye! Now to some, that doesn’t sound like an enjoyable experience. There’s always a strong line of communication so it’s not atypical for me to organize independently on a project. A lot of clients call Sort To Finish to help organize spaces that are too overwhelming for them to face, so it’s reassuring that I can still get the job done without their physical participation.

For the most part, Sort To Finish has been providing home organizing and design services predominantly in playrooms, kitchens/pantries, home offices, nurseries, basements, and garage spaces. During the spring/summer months, we see a lot of clients preparing for a household

move so our declutter/downsize service is pretty popular as well as our packing/ unpacking service.

Who is someone that inspires you and why?

I’m very lucky to have people in my life that inspire me in different ways. I’m mostly inspired by those who work with a higher purpose in mind- a true go-getter! When a go-getter sets a goal, there is nothing that can get in the way of achieving it. Their passion is so strong that it ignites them to propel forward and keep going even if challenges arise in the process. The thing that inspires me the most, is their unwavering belief in themselves that even the toughest of criticism won’t shake. I admire their ability to be proactive in a world filled with people who are typically reactive by nature. I hope to breathe that same kind of inspiration and positivity into everyone I come in contact with, both personally and professionally!

What is your favorite service to provide and why?

Oh, this is a tough one! And only because I truly enjoy all of the services I offer. If I had to choose one, I’d have to say my favorite service to provide is the one that I don’t typically offer. It’s the kind of service that comes up on a whim! For the most part, the nature of my business is helping others manage their possessions through home organizing and decluttering. There have been many times when a client has asked me if I know someone who can perform a certain task (like painting, hanging pictures, installing shelving, etc.) and I can almost always respond with, “I

can do that!” I have always had a very “can do” attitude and to be honest, there are not many household tasks that I’m not capable of doing. I wholeheartedly believe that you’re never too old to learn! If there’s something I don’t know how to do, I take full advantage of the learning opportunity!

Did you always want to be an entrepreneur? What did you do prior to starting your own business? Let’s just say that being an entrepreneur was not on my bucket list of things to accomplish! The thought of becoming a professional organizer kind of just came to me one day. I wanted to do something that I enjoyed and felt passionate about so it made sense. This is truly my calling and I get to share it by helping others benefit in ways both physically and mentally! Before I started Sort To Finish, I worked for a nonprofit human services agency. I’ve always been inclined to career roles that allow me to help make life easier for others. I have found that and more as a professional organizer!

Tell us about some of your goals and dreams both personally and professionally.

A pretty important goal of mine, both personally and professionally, is to become a true inspiration to those around me. There’s no better feeling than helping others make progress toward their goals and awaken them to something new and greater! To be inspired transforms the way we perceive our capabilities and forces us to have an open mind. I’d love to be the catalyst that pushes people to be a better version of themselves and to live up to their full potential. We

“I like to think of Sort To Finish as the motivating factor in achieving your home organizing goals! “


are all capable and deserving of good things. Sometimes, we just need a little encouragement to believe it.

How do you balance being an entrepreneur and all of its challenges with your family life?

It definitely has been an adjustment, that’s for sure! I feel like motherhood has prepared me best for adapting to unexpected situations and being able to multitask extremely well. As a parent, there are never enough hours in the day. So it truly is all about balance and finding areas where you can consolidate. It’s just as I mentioned earlier, both fitness and my family are very important to me. I shared that one of my favorite things to do together is bike riding. I simply combined two things that I enjoy into one. Looking at the bigger picture, this ultimately saves me time which I now have “banked” for another area where attention is needed. As an entrepreneur, mom, and wife, I’m doing more than I have ever done before but it doesn’t always feel like it when you get your rhythm and find that balance.

If you could do one thing you have never done, what would it be and why?

This may sound silly but I would write and illustrate a children’s book! This is something I’ve always wanted to do, even as a kid. I vividly remember asking my mom to get me those blank hardcover booklets every time we visited the craft store! I must have created over a dozen of short stories during my childhood. I know my mom has kept a few over the years so I will definitely have to revisit those one day!

What is one piece of advice you have been given that you have never forgotten?

Our mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy. The more you feed it with positivity and good thoughts, the more great things you attract into your life.

Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?

When I first launched Sort To Finish, I wasn’t scared or worried, or doubtful. I started this business with total confidence, which isn’t something easy to do embarking on a new adventure. Organizing and helping others are my passions in life. There is no greater feeling than waking up in the morning and going out to do what you love to do for work each day. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. There is no such thing as coincidence. I think it’s important to appreciate that your present circumstances result from past thoughts and actions. Where I’m at now is exactly where I need to be. When things don’t go the way I had hoped for, I remind myself that “what’s meant for me, will be.” So when you ask if I would have done anything differently, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing!

Have you always been organized? Do you help people both personally and with their businesses?

Throughout my childhood into early adulthood, I was always able to stay pretty organized. Then I became a mom! When I had my first child, my husband and I were living in a very small 2-bedroom

apartment home. Not having a lot of space and accumulating all the big, bulky baby necessities made it feel like the walls were literally closing in on us. Moving wasn’t much of an option for us for at least a few years. Some days, I felt like I was suffocating in “stuff.” I remember the space just felt very heavy. But I didn’t let that feeling take over. Outgrowing our little home so soon quickly forced me to get creative with my organizing plans. If you can look around and find blank wall space, then you have an opportunity for additional storage! I began looking at spaces that were starting to overwhelm me, in a completely new light! Every home I’ve organized comes with its own set of challenges. When working with clients in small spaces, I often find myself utilizing the same techniques that I once used for my own situation.

I do offer organizing services to businesses as well! Aside from organizing an office or given workspace, I’ve also assisted business owners with bookkeeping, paper and electronic filing, day-to-day tasks, and scheduling.

What is the main area you find yourself organizing for your clients?

The top area that I find myself organizing for clients is the basement. As daunting as the task may seem, it is usually I who suggests getting started there! I’m seeing a very common trend with my clients. Many are moms, just like me, who moved to a new house during the pandemic while expecting a child and very close to their due date. The move is done quickly and boxes are moved in but not all of them are unpacked.

“Aside from organizing an office or given workspace, I’ve also assisted business owners with bookkeeping, paper and electronic filing, day-to-day tasks, and scheduling.“

At some point, the boxes make their way to the basement but are never revisited. I feel like the basement is crucial to a home’s organizational balance. If space is not utilized properly, you’ll see the effects throughout your home in crowded closet spaces, jam-packed cupboards, and random placement of items. Basements serve as the storage space for the entire house. If you can maximize the space down there, you’ll start to see a lot of other rooms in the house become more organized. For example, with more space free in the basement, you now have a place to store those kitchen appliances that you’re not using regularly. And before you know it, you just freed up an entire kitchen counter! (And who doesn’t love that!?)

Do you find that your passion for organizing really helps people declutter and feel better?

Absolutely. I see it firsthand with every one of my clients. There is such a lightness that comes with lifting the heavy burden of a disorderly space off your chest. I’ve been told by clients that for the first time in a long time, they are finally able to look at a room/space again. Some of these spaces become so overwhelming and cause so much anxiety that people are actually avoiding the room altogether. That hits home for me because that’s the main thing that fueled me to start this business. No one should feel like a prisoner in their home to the surrounding clutter and its negative impact. With Sort To Finish’s

home organizing services, I can help others reclaim control of their space, feel relaxed and truly enjoy their home!

What are your plans for the future for Sort to Finish?

We have some exciting new offerings coming down the pike! I can’t share the full details on it just yet but just know Sort To Finish plans to reach an even larger audience in the coming months. Stay tuned!

“Our mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy. The more you feed it with positivity and good thoughts, the more great things you attract into your life.”
SortToFinish@gmail com


What inspired you to start Let’s Get Rollin Painting and Cleaning Services?

I had always dreamed of owning my own Business and I was tired of making everyone else money with my brain and braun, so one day I decided it was time to take the leap and I quit my job as a Painter at a Property Management Company, and I went out on my own.


“My Dad actually came up with the name...we were just chatting about names one day and he suggested “Let’s Get Rollin” and it just kind of stuck.“

How did you get started in the painting and cleaning industry?

I had painted various flip houses over the years, but when I met my now husband/partner, he was working for a Property Management Company, and he got me a job with him. That’s where I learned the painting trade. As far as the cleaning side, I worked with my parents at their Cleaning Company while I was growing up, so I have years of experience in that field.

What is your specialty?

Interior painting is our specialty, but we have a slew of other services that we provide including Power Washing, Cabinet Painting, Exterior Painting,

Minor Drywall Repairs, Estate Cleanouts, 1x Deep Cleanings and Organizing Services.

How did you come up with the name “Let’s Get Rollin” for your business? My Dad actually came up with the name...we were just chatting about names one day and he suggested “Let’s Get Rollin” and it just kind of stuck. We get compliments on it all the time, so I’m thankful we went with it.

What made you decide to start your business during a pandemic?

We were rounding the pandemic corner when I opened in September 2021... things were starting to look up at that was a step of Faith to be honest...and still is every day!!

Have you faced any specific challenges as a woman entrepreneur in a maleoriented field? If so, how did you overcome them?

Yes for sure...I’ve been turned away at doors because I was a Woman...the stigma that women can’t do what men do is still there..but I hold my head high and keep moving.

What advice would you give to other females looking to start a business in this type of industry?

It is not for the faint of heart!! This is a very intense, tough business. You



have to be strong, not only physically, but emotionally and mentally. I started the company and worked alone for 7 months before my husband joined forces with me, and it was the most challenging 7 months I have ever been through. I made it through though, a lot of blood, sweat and tears (A LOT of tears :)) but I persevered and am rounding into my 3rd year this coming September!!

Did you have any mentors or role models who inspired you along your entrepreneurial journey? If so, who were they and how did they impact you?

My parents owned their own Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Company when I was growing up, and watching them be their own Boss gave me the courage to start my own business.

How do you balance your personal life and the demands of running a business?

Wow, that’s a tough one. I’m in the field working side by side with my husband on a daily basis. I run the majority of the calls, then make sure the estimates get back to Clients in a timely fashion, and I do all of the Admin/Marketing/Sales work. We also have 5 children...our youngest is 6, then a 13 year old, a 17 year old, a 24 year old, a 27 year old and a Granddaughter. Sometimes my head spins, but God and my gracious Husband remind me that Rome wasn’t built in a day and I am still only one person, and that helps

bring me back down to earth lol...

What has been the most rewarding aspect of owning and operating Let’s Get Rollin? Knowing that it was created for our family’s destiny. We make the decision everyday to wake up and move forward with this company in hopes to create something unique

days when it’s so late, I’m completely exhausted, and I have hours of work in front of me that cannot wait or it may mean losing a potential client.

How do you ensure the quality of your services is maintained consistently? I am a stickler when it comes to attention to detail. We will not walk away from a job unless we know our client is 100% satisfied.

Are there any unique strategies or approaches you use to differentiate your business from competitors? We are an Owner Operated Company. We do not subcontract out any of our work. Our clients find comfort in the fact that they see the same faces from beginning to end.

How do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in the painting and cleaning industry?

We are constantly taking classes or watching videos or reading up on the latest and greatest trends within our field. We are always learning.

and special for our children and our grandchildren.

What do you find is the most challenging aspect of running a painting and cleaning services business? Balancing my time...I wish there were more hours in a day. There are

Have you had any memorable or interesting experiences while working on a project?

Oh boy lol...We have worked in rags to riches. One week we may be in amazing, luxurious homes, then on to cockroaches and pet feces the next. We do not discriminate which side of town we will work in. I have God and my 6’ tall husband that

“My parents owned their own carpet and upholstery cleaning company when I was growing up, and watching them be their own Boss gave me the courage to start my own business.“

watch over me, so I’m not scared to take it all on!!

How do you handle customer feedback or complaints, and what steps do you take to ensure customer satisfaction?

We always ensure 100% Client satisfaction. If something comes up and we need to pop back to a Client’s house for something, we take care of it immediately. Our reputation means everything to us and for the

future of this Company.

How do you promote your business and attract new clients?

We get our walking shoes on and go door knocking, we make fun baskets full of goodies and promotional items and drop them off to Property Management Companies, we utilize social media, and we get a ton of referrals.

Looking back on your journey as an entrepreneur, what is one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?

Never stop learning. Once you think you “nailed” something, think again, because there’s something more to learn around the corner.

“I’ve been turned away at doors because I was a Woman...the stigma that women can’t do what men do is still there..but I hold my head high and keep moving.”
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Please tell our audience a little bit about yourself and your background. I’m Colleen. I’m an active mother of three (Ages 20, 14, and 4!) and a full-time clinical pharmacist and nature enthusiast. I’m also a yoga teacher, meditation teacher, and Reiki practitioner. I have a multi-style 200H Yoga Teacher Certification, as well as additional training in Kundalini Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Chair Yoga, Plus-Size Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Kids Yoga, and more.

Tell us a little about your business

Calm With Clarke. At Calm with Clarke, I offer authentic and accessible yoga classes. My goal is to bring yoga and meditation to anyone that wants to develop a practice through donation-based, modified, and traditional yoga classes both online and in-person. I also offer Nature walks, meditations, and distance Reiki treatments with flexible pricing.

What is the mission behind your business?

The mission behind my business is to bring yoga and meditation to anyone that needs it, breaking down physical, financial, and logistical barriers.

What makes you hustle?

When someone approaches me with a request for a class or an unmet need that I’m qualified to help with, that makes me hustle. I’m driven by a desire to not only help but provide the tools to help people help themselves.

How do you empower yourself and the women around you?

Building people up is one of my FAVORITE things. I love celebrating, encouraging, and participating. Stepping out of my comfort zone is probably my biggest source of empowerment. I’ve lacked confidence, and learning new skills is a great way to build confidence.

communicator, so there isn’t much left to the imagination with me. I think sometimes people forget that if they ask me a question I WILL answer, regardless of the question.

What makes you a strong woman? What fulfills you?

I’m not afraid to ask. I’m not afraid to learn. These characteristics make me very strong. I come from a long line of stubborn, brilliant women, raised with a strong sense of service to others and the community. I find giving back to my community and building up others around me to be absurdly fulfilling.

What is one piece of advice you have been given that you have never forgotten?

Breathe into the sensation. I heard this in a yoga class once, when feeling an intense stretch, and it applies to so many areas of life. Sensations of pain, discouragement, excitement, anxiety....all of these are easier to feel with a little thoughtful breathing.

What’s the most important risk you have ever taken? Would you do it again?

Encouraging other women to strive for their goals, and providing whatever support I can is a privilege.

What is one thing people don’t know about you?

I’m a fairly open and direct

Well. That’s a tough one. I’d probably have to go with leaving a very stable full-time job as a retail pharmacist just before COVID hit. I did not have a new full-time job lined up and was burdened with financial responsibilities (student loans, mortgage, divorce) but my soul was tired, and I felt as though I was spinning my wheels, without the ability to change



my situation by staying on. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I was offered a regular part-time job the following week, and my current position opened up within a few months which has been a much better fit for me professionally and for my family.

What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself and why?

Three words I would use to describe myself are compassionate, enthusiastic, and creative. I pick these because these are themes that seem to occur in all areas of my life in abundance, and I

think they sum up my personality in a nutshell.

Tell us a little about what motivated you to open your own business, and how did you come up with the name Calm With Clarke?

I opened my own business because I wanted to be able to share yoga with people that need it, that don’t otherwise have access. Over the years yoga has helped me physically, mentally, and emotionally, and there have been times when I couldn’t access yoga because of physical and financial barriers. So

I became a registered yoga teacher to bring yoga to EVERYBODY that wants to develop a practice.

The name of my business, Calm with Clarke, made sense for so many reasons. In addition to yoga, I offer meditation and Reiki, my focus is on calming the body and mind. My last name is Clarke, and Clarke is also the first name of my son, who passed away at 20 weeks. Yoga and meditation have been essential to my recovery from loss in every way, and I thought this was a way I could honor my roots, my son,

“When I’m discouraged and overwhelmed I return to simple things that put me back on track, good music, some time in nature, or simply time to rest and recharge when needed.“


and my goals every time I hand out a business card.

How do you balance your personal and professional responsibilities?

I schedule my time. I try to leave work at work and keep enough time open for unexpected tasks. I delegate when I can, and keep expectations realistic. I write things down, so I can have a visual aid when I prioritize (we still use a wall calendar at home for all of our appointments and events) and find that making notes and lists help with the “mental clutter” of having so many responsibilities.

What do you feel are some of the things that make you a strong and independent woman, and how do you share that with the younger generation?

I don’t know if there have been studies on the genetics of strong and independent women, but I think my family would make an excellent case study. I was raised to ask questions, follow my heart, be kind, and follow through. I’m probably also too stubborn to NOT be a strong independent woman, honestly. I am raising two strong independent women. They impress me every day. We have a huge emphasis on clear communication in our house and also encourage advocacy, kindness, and problem-solving. It’s not easy, but I think it’s worth the effort. I also enjoy working with kids and teens to promote mindfulness, kindness, and awareness through yoga and meditation classes.

How do you handle stress and pressure in such a demanding world?

Yoga and meditation have been essential here. I take breaks and try to remember

to be realistic with my expectations and my needs. Reminding myself of my goals, limits, and needs is also a key part. Learning to set worry aside for situations I cannot control, and when to just take a step back and change course has also helped me cope.

How do you balance your short-term and long-term goals?

I resort to lists. I like the idea of a 5-year plan, and building the skills

]What services do you feel you provide your clients that sets you apart from others?

It is so important to me that everyone that wants to develop a yoga or meditation practice has the tools they need. I take the time to learn about my clients and their needs so that I can give them the support they need to reach their goals. I offer a very personalized experience: a variety of class styles, flexible scheduling, a virtual studio with recordings, and donation-based and free community classes- all with a focus first on developing and then deepening personal practice.

I am also always open to suggestions and requests for classes and content, so I can offer something for everyone at the end of the day. When you come to my classes, I want to know what brings you in, and how I can help you get the most out of your experience.

What is your favorite service to provide and why?

and connections that will help me get there. I try to hold the big picture in mind, prioritize my individual and short-term goals, and theoretically, if everything is aligned my long-term goals will also be met.

How do you stay motivated and inspired?

When I’m discouraged and overwhelmed I return to simple things that put me back on track, good music, some time in nature, or simply time to rest and recharge when needed.

My favorite service is probably group chair yoga classes because in these classes I seem to meet the most people that have never given the benefits of yoga and meditation a thought. It’s super rewarding.

Where will we see you next?

I’ll be at the Influential Woman Health and Wellness Expo on June 17th in Rochester! Come join me for a mini chair yoga session while you are visiting the expo. You can pre-register for the Expo Chair Yoga class and catch me online several times a week in the virtual studio: calmwithclarke

“I’m not afraid to ask. I’m not afraid to learn. These characteristics make me very strong. I come from a long line of stubborn, brilliant women, raised with a strong sense of service to others and the community.“


I have written about the many highs and lows of being a single parent. The lowest came for me in the final weeks before my daughter left for college. The fights became harsher and harder to hear.

There is a reason it takes nine months to have a baby. You need to adjust to your changing body, and the realization you will no longer be singular in your thinking - ever. The sheer responsibility, along with the kicking keeps you up at night.

It takes another 18 years to prepare for the unimaginable idea that she would leave our home and start life, without me.

My funny, loving, old soul of a daughter became angry, anxious, and annoyed with everything about me and her life.

Her outbursts and tears about how much she hated being home hurt me. I waved a white flag and counted the days until we packed the car and hit the road.

Friends warned me that teenage girls created this unappealing escape plan, unconsciously. They know they need to leave so they make it as miserable as possible, on the way out the door so it hurts them less..

Feeling like parental roadkill, I was dreading her politeness and shallow conversation for the five-hour trip to Pennsylvania.

Then something familiar broke the ice. Taylor Swift erased our rift.

Swift’s songs have been in my daughter’s life since she was seven years old. Taylor played on her little flower CD player, on her first iPod, she collected her vinyl records, and she was always on in my car.

As we approached the ‘Welcome to Pennsylvania’ sign, she broke the small

dance around the living room singing and laughing.

My little girl was no longer a tween, she was now 18, and I may have missed the obvious. As Taylor matured, so did her music, and so did my daughter. Now as a young adult she was asking me on a tension-filled drive to share what she loved.

I was unaware until that moment that our mother-daughter-Swiftiebond had developed in small but significant ways over the years. Instead of fighting over music in the car, we listened together. First love, crushes, family, heartbreak, rejection, mean people and how hard it is to grow up sparked and inspired talks on morning drives to school and rides back from practice.

Swift’s honest and often ridiculed lyrics were therapy to my daughter. These songs were the soundtrack of her life, and she leaned on them when she did not want to lean on me.

talk and started to chat away about Swift’s upcoming “Eras” Tour. I was shocked when she said wanted to go to the concert - with me.

I enjoyed some of the music early on but was not a big country fan back then. Candidly I never paid attention until her release of “1989” came out. Taylor transitioned to pop music just as my daughter moved on to middle school. We would “Shake It Up” and

Growing up is hard. Embracing who you are, standing up, moving on and making peace with yourself.

All the stuff I would preach only left me with an exaggerated eyeroll. Discussions about body issues, sexual assault, and self-esteem were off limits. She would not listen to me, but she would listen to Taylor.

For the rest of our trip, we played her


music. The song “Betty,” provoked a memory about a boyfriend who cheated, “All Too Well” led to a conversation about being hurt by an older boy. And “Never Grow Up” is about a young woman reflecting on her family as she spends her first night alone in her apartment. Hmm.

Who needs snooping, stalking social media, or forced conversation at breakfast. Just play a Taylor Swift song and you will learn anything you want to know about what is going on in your daughter’s life. We arrived, unpacked all her boxes, and four hours later we left the dorm that would now be her new home. It was time to leave and head back to my empty house where it would just be me and the dog until Thanksgiving.

The good-bye scene could be inspiration for one of TS’s songs. Trying to navigate our emotions on a busy city street, with the car flashers on to buy a little more time. Long hugs, tears and looks that said I am sorry, were exchanged.

Three months later I waited seven hours on my phone in the annoying Ticketmaster cue, to try and buy tickets to Swift’s concert. By late

afternoon, my turn was magically up. Like Charlie’s lucky chocolate bar, I got two golden tickets to the coveted June concert.

After screams of disbelief on the phone I asked, “Are you sure you wouldn’t

conversations centered around sparkly outfits and which Swift ‘era’ to dress in. Mine was from “Folklore,” hers from “Lover.”

A record crowd, mostly mothers and daughters on Father’s Day weekend filled Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, where our journey began ten months earlier.

It was the best concert I had ever seen.

I saw my little girl laugh, sing, and cry. Watching Swift perform she realized she had grown up too. Like the lyrics, she survived the breakups, hurts and disappointments - and was better off for it.

I stood for three hours, in three-inch white boots, not knowing all the songs, or the words, and it did not matter.

I know her better now. I do not need to lecture, demand, or ask so many questions. Just simply listen.

A concert for her - gave me the ultimate gift.

rather go with a friend?”

“No mom, I only want to go with you.” Weeks leading up to the concert, play lists and plans were made and our swift bond grew stronger. Daily

“I Had the Best Day with You.”

“Friends warned me that teenage girls created this unappealing escape plan, unconsciously. They know they need to leave so they make it as miserable as possible, on the way out the door so it hurts them less..”
“ Taylor transitioned to POP MUSIC just as my daughter moved on to middle school. We would “SHAKE IT UP” and dance around the living room singing and LAUGHING. ”


“Freedom is FUN. The freedom you gain from understanding your financials is enjoyable. The freedom to take time off when you need it is fun. The freedom to go on vacation, knowing that your business is stable and you can afford it, brings immense pleasure..”

There was a stark-naked man peeing in my flower bed at three in the afternoon. But there was no need to panic or involve the police. You see, we have been working on potty training him, and he was so thrilled to pee on his own that he couldn’t contain his excitement. I, on the other hand, was just relieved that I wouldn’t have to clean up another mess from the floors.

Interestingly enough, potty training has taught me a valuable lesson about financial matters. Just like the daunting task of potty training a toddler, thinking or talking about our finances can be equally unexciting and anxiety inducing. However, when we understand our numbers and have a plan to improve them, we feel on top of the world. If we’re doing it right, we’re jumping for joy and filled with excitement. Fortunately, there is support available for both potty training and financial management.

So, let’s explore the joy and value that financials can bring to your entrepreneurial journey! In this column, I’ll be your guide, revealing the magic behind the numbers and empowering you with practical insights and strategies to enhance your profitability. Let’s dive in and begin to discover the excitement and rewards that financials can offer on your entrepreneurial path!

To begin, let’s talk about Money Mindfulness. Achieving financial wellbeing isn’t just about knowing your numbers; it starts with cultivating a healthy mindset about money. Incorporate mindfulness practices into your financial routine to bring a sense of calm and joy to your entrepreneurial journey. Set aside dedicated time for reflection, gratitude, and visualization. Practice affirmations that align with your financial goals and engage in activities that inspire creativity and spark joy. By nurturing a positive relationship with money, you’ll find that

financial decisions become less stressful and more enjoyable. Embrace the power of mindfulness and witness your financial path unfold with a newfound sense of fun and fulfillment.

Imagine this: as you embrace money mindfulness within your business, your financial practices become playful and engaging. As you become aware of your business’s financial habits, you embark on an exhilarating quest to uncover patterns, optimize resources, and make informed decisions. Think of it as a treasure hunt where you discover hidden opportunities and pave the way for sustainable growth. This journey is fueled by gratitude as you appreciate the abundance your business generates, celebrating each revenue stream and partnership as a reason to rejoice. Additionally, by setting clear financial intentions, you direct your business’s financial path with purpose and passion, transforming financial decisions into strategic adventures that bring you closer to your vision.

Just like the unpredictable journey of potty training a toddler, you define your own path. It’s time to embrace mindfulness, creativity, take risks, and challenge the status quo while redefining success in your unique way.

Fortunately, although you are on your own journey, you don’t have to face it alone. If this seems overwhelming, surround yourself with people who have more knowledge than you do. It is okay not to know what you don’t know.

No one starts a business because they enjoy bookkeeping. We start businesses because we’re good at something and, hopefully, we love doing it. I didn’t even become a bookkeeper and profit strategist because I love numbers, although I do. I chose

this path because countless women like you didn’t know and understand their numbers and needed support. With over 25 years of experience, it just happens to be what I’m good at.

Let’s be honest, there’s no way to make numbers fun. But I can tell you what is fun. Freedom is FUN. The freedom you gain from understanding your financials is enjoyable. The freedom to take time off when you need it is fun. The freedom to go on vacation, knowing that your business is stable and you can afford it, brings immense pleasure.

The clarity, consistency, and peace of mind you gain from knowing your numbers are empowering. Being able to breathe and relax because you know where you stand and have a unique strategy for growth is fun. Intrigued to uncover more secrets and strategies for fun with financial success? Stay tuned for future columns as we delve deeper into the world of entrepreneurship and financial empowerment. We’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible. Get ready to unlock new insights, unleash your potential, and embark on a thrilling journey towards financial abundance. There’s so much more to come, so keep your eyes peeled and your entrepreneurial spirit ignited. The adventure continues, and I can’t wait to share the next chapter with you. Stay tuned for more empowering revelations that will revolutionize your approach to finances and propel your business to greater heights. Get ready to take the leap and soar towards financial success like never before. Exciting things await!

If you are ready for more now and don’t want to wait, you can reach me and book at call at https://fullerpath2profits.

“So, let’s explore the joy and value that financials can bring to your entrepreneurial journey! “





On May 4th, 2023, the first-ever National Black Author’s Day commenced, an auspicious occasion for its founder, CaTyra Polland, a Rochester native, published author, editor, speaker, entrepreneur, and CEO in her efforts to give Black writers across the world their due time in the sun and shine a light on the publishing industry’s long history of systematic racism.

n a turbulent world such as ours, where racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, etc. continuously rear their ugly heads, community becomes increasingly important. Thankfully, people like Polland seek to make big strides to provide exactly that. Polland already has much experience under her belt with being an advocate and consultant for Black writers. A nine-time published author, she released her first book in 2017, entitled Professionalism What’s That, which addresses topics like informational interviews, professional development, and code- switching. Since then, she has been featured in several anthologies and podcasts and published a journal called What Black Women Think About and a compilation of poetry entitled Dear August, Love August.

Then Polland’s career saw a major milestone when she became CEO of her very own business, Love for Words, an editing company for writers and authors to help them take their first step in the daunting world of self-publishing. The company fosters a caring, compassionate environment where interns are inspired to engage with clients with empathy, letting them know their stories can be heard in an industry that favors White

authors. “I’m really excited to help Black writers become published,” said Polland. “I work with Black authors and some of them are scarred from working with White editors who don’t understand the culture or don’t respect or value it. That’s why it’s so important for Black authors to connect with Black editors, such as myself who are a part of the culture. I recently edited a book of poetry called Recovery from Unusual Attitudes by Sarah Collins. The book is a revelation of mental health, so the poems talk about the ups and downs of anxiety or when you’re going through depression. I really appreciate the vulnerability of her story because, in the Black community, seeing a counselor or therapist is taboo. She opens up about her experience and the triggers in her life ”

“With the advancement in technology, we control our own narrative which includes the publishing and writing industry. We have to wait to be commemorated by the white industry professionals. We are the change we want to see. We are enough,” said Polland.

However, in the recent dystopian age of book banning in states like Florida and Texas, hostility against authors, in general, has been worse than it has been in decades. But writers of color, in particular, have much to fear.

“According to Pen America, ‘Banned in the USA.,’ 41 percent of banned books in 2022 include protagonists or prominent secondary characters who are people of color; 22 percent of the titles directly address issues of race and racism,” stated Polland. “During the first

six months of 2022, 30% of banned books were written by Black authors. These statistics are a clear indicator that we are still censored. By looking at literacy statistics we can see that Black children are still behind the reading curve. The school system is failing our students.”

But Polland is already seeking to ensure the next generation of Black authors will thrive, as she is already a board member of the Rochester Black Authors Association, an organization in Rochester devoted to promoting literacy, reading, and writing in the Black community with resources and events in Rochester. Each year, the organization holds an annual expo that features local, national, and international Black authors, allowing them to convene and celebrate their skills. It has even made bigger strides in creating a space for Black authors to commune. In December 2022, the organization hosted its first “Books and Bubbles” event where children were able to speak with a local child author. Annually, the association holds a Maria Jones Youth Writing Contest where Rochester middle- and high-schoolers submit written pieces for a chance to win a cash prize.

But there was still one gap in the exposure of Black authors that still needed to be filled: A national holiday devoted to celebrating Black literacy. Upon discovering that no such day existed, with some help from National Day Archives, Polland made it her mission to register the first-ever National Black Authors Day, which will fill that void on May 4th, 2023, and be the culmination of her career as an activist for authors who

“We are the change we want to see. We are enough.“


have been voiceless in the industry for too long.

National Black Authors Day can be celebrated by reading or donating a book by a Black author, planning an event, or sharing a quote by a Black author. Polland will be using her experience with RBAA to host an authors’ panel at 25 State Street in Rochester, New York from 5:30 pm-7:30 pm. The event already has media sponsors like WXXI and CITY News and board members of the Black Authors Association as moderators for the authors’ panel.

Thanks to the connections she made in her journey for representation and elevating Black writers, Polland has already amassed a team of authors with much to show for their work for the panel. All of these writers have their own experiences, but they are united by a single goal: to inspire, entertain, and motivate those around them with their talents.

Other writers who will be in attendance as speakers and vendors include: Darrick Elijah Dunham, an accomplished writer at the age of fourteen who is dedicated to sharing his faith with others, Akilah Roberts, who has her own business that provides services similar to Love for Words.

Calvin Eaton, disabled scholar, author on the topics of African American history & culture, anti- Blackness, gluten-free lifestyle/cooking. He is also the founder of the blog, Theglutenfreechef and the non-profit education platform, 540WMain, Inc. Ebony Stubbs, a life coach, and certified Parent Leader in the Community. Tysharda Thomas, the author of The First-Time Homebuyers Handbook: From Credit to Closing and Beyond, a culmination of her success as a stockbroker. Erik A Mythril, a radio personality devoted to spreading benzodiazepine awareness with his book Boogeyman in the Orange Bottle: A Love Story as Told by (TEAMS).

Kristen R Walker, the founder of the

Noire Reading Room, a bookstore devoted to elevating and providing a safe space for Black LGBTQ+ writers. Renée Boykins-Addison, a registered nurse who seeks to inspire people to make healthier choices with her writing. Willie A. Price (Speaks), a self-published author of more than eighteen publications and creator of several youth and family development workshops meant to help with leadership, personal, and financial development, for which he has received many community awards and recognition in schools and media outlets.

Participants from Literacy New York, Inc., SUNY Brockport, and The Center for K-12 Black History and Racial Literacy Education have offered to be involved in the event as well. CaTyra Polland’s drive as a consultant and activist is about to pay off in an extraordinary way on May 4th, and if the fire in her eyes is anything to go by, there will only be bigger things to come in the future for her and the many Black authors that she seeks to elevate.

“But there was still one gap in the exposure of Black authors that still needed to be filled: A national holiday devoted to celebrating Black literacy.“


Most everyone has experienced some type of pain in their life. Pain is the number one medical complaint of older Americans. We often consider pain as something negative, but pain can be a good thing. Pain is the body’s way of telling us that something is wrong. Pain is typically categorized in 2 different ways, acute and chronic. Acute pain comes on suddenly and is associated with an injury. If you have stubbed your toe on the vacuum, you have felt acute pain.

Once you remove the source, the pain usually subsides in a few days. Without these pain receptors, we would hurt ourselves. Imagine placing your hand on a hot stove and not knowing it was burning. Thank goodness our nervous system has this response. Chronic pain is a bit different. Chronic pain is a pain that lasts more than three months. This pain happens even when the source has been removed. With chronic pain, sometimes there is no rhyme or reason for the pain. Chronic pain is typically associated with other ailments, including depression, anxiety, and lack of sleep. Unfortunately, depression, anxiety, and lack of sleep can increase your pain levels or make your pain less tolerable. This can create a vicious cycle. So where does chronic pain come from? Chronic pain can be associated with post-surgery, scar tissue, arthritis, neurogenic pain, inflammation, auto-immune disorders, aging, bone degeneration, fibromyalgia, chronic stress, and more.

Being female is a major risk factor in experiencing chronic pain. Due

to hormonal changes, women have a greater risk of bone degeneration, fractures, and vertebral changes. Pelvic and abdominal pain is also a risk for females. Women are more likely to have a diagnosis of fibromyalgia and chronic migraines. Studies also find that the more testosterone someone has, the less pain they feel.

A second risk factor for chronic pain is your age. The older you are, the less tolerable you are to pain. As we age, we are more likely to have had surgery, arthritis, chronic disease, or medication side effects. Sleep cycles are often disrupted as we age. As we mentioned before, decreased sleep can increase your pain levels and decrease your tolerance to pain.

Chronic stress is another risk factor for chronic pain. Chronic stress can lead to muscle tension in the neck, shoulders, and back. It also causes the release of hormones like cortisol. When cortisol levels are high and chronic, it can increase your inflammation and increase your blood sugar levels. This prevents the ability of the immune system to heal the body.

So what is the best way to manage your chronic pain? The goal of treating chronic pain is finding ways to make you more functional and improve your daily life. Treating chronic pain is very personal. Each individual will require different approaches. There is no cookie-cutter approach to chronic pain treatment. The first step is to evaluate your pain. Your medical professional will ask questions about

a pain level on a scale of 1-10, Where the pain is located, and how your pain is affecting your daily activities? Treatment plans will use a variety of approaches, including medications, lifestyle changes, and therapies.


Multiple types of medications are helpful in treating chronic pain. While medications can significantly affect your pain levels, they do not come without side effects and should be used cautiously. Medications include corticosteroids, Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opioids, antidepressants, and muscle relaxors.

Lifestyle Changes


First and foremost, get enough sleep. Your sleeping patterns can significantly impact your pain levels or your tolerance to your pain levels and your ability to heal. There are many ways that you can naturally improve your sleep quality. A regularly scheduled bedtime is a great start.

Getting morning sunlight, dropping the temperature of your room, and turning off your devices an hour before bed can improve your sleep. Start a bedtime routine. We can combine many of our tips into your nightly regimen. Turn off your computer or TV an hour before bed, do gentle yoga, take a nice soak in the tub, and finish the night with a 5-10 minute guided meditation. You will be sleeping in no time!



“We often consider pain as something negative, but pain can be a good thing. Pain is the body’s way of telling us that something is wrong.”

There is overwhelming information on how to eat to beat inflammation. Particular foods can stimulate more inflammation than others. These include sugar, dairy, gluten, and red meats.

Most foods are good in moderation. Eat real food, not processed food. The best way to tell how foods react in your body is to take them out of your diet for a few weeks, then reintroduce them into your diet.


Movement is medicine when appropriately prescribed. Exercise is a great way to move the joints, improve your range of motion, decrease arthritic

pain, and strengthen your joints.

Exercise also releases your feel-good endorphins giving you a feeling of happiness and promoting better sleep!

If you are suffering from chronic pain, A great place to start an exercise program is with physical therapy. Your physical therapy appointment will include a complete evaluation taking your medications, previous injury, and your health and wellness goals. Your physical therapist can guide you in building a strong foundation to improve your strength and flexibility to manage your chronic pain. Wellness 360 is a great place to start. At Wellness 360, our Physical Therapists specialize in building individualized programs

based on a client’s needs and goals. We provide one-on-one appointments where you are the only focus of the treatment.

If you would like to learn more about Wellness 360 and the services provided, check us out at

{ WELLNESS 360 }
CBD AlL Access .com wellness, done well. / allaccesscbd Follow us: WE WILL SHIP TO YOU!! WEBSTER | 585.347.6568 1991 Empire Blvd • Webster, NY 14580 Our products are made on-site, in an ISO 6 medical grade lab.





With 36 million people practicing yoga in the United States, if you aren’t familiar with the jargon, it can be hard to sift through what yoga might be helpful for you or where to get started. Due to the rise of social media and pop culture, many people think of yoga and think they may not be able to participate because they can’t touch their foot to the back of their head or do a headstand. If you share those hesitancies to step into a group yoga class, therapeutic group yoga is probably for you!

The NIH defines therapeutic yoga as: the application of yoga postures and practice to the treatment of health conditions and involves instruction in yogic practices and teachings to prevent reduce or alleviate structural, physiological, emotional and spiritual pain, suffering or limitations.

Therapeutic Yoga Classes are taught by certified yoga therapists or yoga instructors with specialized instruction. Unlike many yoga classes that aim to use yoga as a workout or to get you into a fancy posture, therapeutic yoga uses safe movement and self-inquiry so you can get to know yourself a bit better. Our lives are busy and it often pulls us out of the present moment. The aim of these classes is to get you to feel what’s happening now, not what we need to do later or reliving what we feel like we messed up three months ago. Class will generally look like gentle joint warmups, breath and movement, slower postures designed to help you feel what’s happening in the moment, rest, and meditation.

All postures are held around the concept of a therapeutic edge –somewhere you can feel sensation in your body without any pain. In a group class, everyone might be different! You might reach your arm over your head and feel it in your shoulder, your neighbor might feel it in her hand, someone on the other side of the room might not be able to lift his arm all the way overhead but he can certainly find a pain-free place to stay, breathe, and practice present moment awareness.

Classes are fully trauma informed, and since you don’t need to conform to the rest of the class, you can back off if anything feels overwhelming. Take a gentler version of the posture or sit on your mat and breathe with some water until you feel like you are more present and in control again. According to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, 70% of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event. “Extreme stress overwhelms the person’s capacity to cope. There is a direct correlation between trauma and physical health conditions such as diabetes, COPD, heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure.” Therapeutic yoga offers a safe place for an hour to practice some of those coping tools on your yoga mat. Experience yourself under a slight amount of stress, notice your breath in an uncomfortable situation, learn meditation techniques you can take with you when you feel overwhelmed.

Why yoga for body image and eating

disorders? Our bodies give us a lot of information every day, but our culture is usually so fast paced and so focused on thinking, we rarely slow down to feel it. After experiencing trauma or abuse it is common for the brain to feel disconnected from your own body. By listening to inquiry cues during a therapeutic yoga class, a participant may start to reconnect to their body and create a more neutral relationship with it. For example, instead of the narrative of “I hate my arms” they may simply move toward the direct experience “I didn’t realize how tired my arms feel today.” Therapeutic yoga can be a chance to learn to move intuitively instead of from a place of forced exertion or overexercise. What would it feel like to apply gentleness to yourself?


What if I’m injured? Get clearance from doctor for movement, and then attend anyway. If there is a posture or breath technique that’s not been deemed safe for you to do, find somewhere else your body wants to be until the class moves on. Modifications are offered for all postures. If you sit quietly, breathe and pay attention to yourself, you will get a benefit from class.

It hurts to get on the floor. You are more than welcome to stay in a chair for the entire class.

If I’m new to yoga, will I know what to do? The beauty of these classes is that there is no right or wrong. Most participants practice with their eyes

“Unlike many yoga classes that aim to use yoga as a workout or to get you into a fancy posture, therapeutic yoga uses safe movement and self-inquiry so you can get to know yourself a bit better.”

“Our bodies give us a lot of information every day, but our culture is usually so fast paced and so focused on thinking, we rarely slow down to feel it.”

closed, so the whole class might be doing something different.

I have tried meditating and my brain runs wild, what if I can’t do it? That is totally normal! Admitting you have a busy brain is the first step toward building your meditation practice. The physical postures of class are

designed to make meditation easier. If you are only able to stay focused for 10 seconds the first class, it might be 30 the next class, and before you know it you are meditating for 5 or 10 minutes with more ease.

How do I sign up for a class? Email or call

me at (585) 200-7209 to join our next evening session. Do you need a different time slot or want the therapeutic yoga brought to your office? Reach out!



How to Release Attachments Creatively

Attachment to things like outcomes, expectations, relationships, and societal expectations is a normal but damaging human behavior. Letting go of those attachments by releasing them allows each of us the peace and abundance we all seek, and so greatly deserve.

Take a moment to think about the ideals you had for your life. How does that make your heart feel? Do you hold tightly to what it was you hoped for? Or can you leave it and accept what is? I visually see those attachments as tethers that hold me down and control me, restricting my ability to grow in light and love.

When I picture that image, I must ask myself, “Does this feel healthy and loving to me?” The answer is always “no.” The next step, which can be daunting and scary is believing and acknowledging we need to let go of that which longer serves us. Whether it be codependent relationship, our beliefs around money, or where we would be career-wise, etc. in our present and future existence, it pulls us back from what it is we truly want for our spiritual lives.

Taking that next step to let go of the familiar can feel scary, as it can be unknown territory to believe that we are worthy enough to allow abundance, love and caring into our lives. When we control what it is, we wanted, we actually push it away and create blocks to our true desires. The Universe responds to fear by strengthening the attachments because you aren’t ready for the abundance. What we put energy into is what we

create more of. Having an energy of noticing and becoming curious of the “why” is what leads us towards healing.

Letting go entails the ability to trust. I always think of the trust fall exercises, knowing I’d have potential of being lousy at them. Control is one of my biggest attachments because I don’t enjoy letting anyone doing things I incorrectly believe I should be capable of doing myself. Think “chronic overachiever” mixed with “deer in headlights due to the overwhelm I create for myself” kind of person. I need to nudge myself to remember that the second part of that exercise is to trade places and I know that person wouldn’t want me to drop them either. We need to be in trusting partnership with one another to succeed.

The Universe waits on you every day and every moment to open your heart, your mind, and your soul to be in a place of receiving. To do this, we must look at the unhealthy attachments that exist in our lives. We all have them, and there should be no shame around that. Only the willingness to untether ourselves so that we may blossom and be the light that we were meant to be.

In my Intuitive Painting classes, I ask my students to trust my guidance. Most seem nervous or unsure in the beginning, but once we all begin to talk about what it is we hope to heal through this process, and what we need to clear out, we realize we aren’t any different in the bigger scheme of things. That each of us has our own trauma, pain and learned behaviors because of past experiences. Gabby Bernstein calls them “Big T” and “Little T” trauma in her book, “Happy Days.” “Big T” being

things like loss of loved ones or abuse. “Little T” being workplace incidents that undermine our work or something someone said that caused us pain. I like to use meditation that addresses those fears is the first step towards that release before everyone begins painting. Taking the time to lean in quietly as I lead them starts to open their closed off selves in a safe and loving space. (It’s always so beautiful to hear how they feel post meditation.)

One of my favorite meditations was taught to me by a past meditation teacher, Patti Cook. She explained to us how we each have our own sacred space down inside the middle of the Earth. It is where Mother Earth cradles and supports us as she transmutes any negative energy and attachments that do not serve our life‘s purpose. She holds us just as a mother would, unconditionally and tenderly until we feel her love surround and support us, buoying us with a new resilience. We also have a sacred place in the Universe that we can also plug into. This is where Divinity can speak to us, lead us, comfort us and celebrate our joy and victories with us. It can also reassure us when are on shaky ground. Once we realize that we are worthy of the gifts that await us, we can then move forward and accept them with grace and gratitude.

I want you to think about your own personal space and how it feels to you in this moment. Does it feel as if there is energy there that does not honor you or what it is you want to manifest in your life? If so, this is usually an indication that you are struggling with having loving boundaries for yourself and those around you. Although they


“Since I began this journey for myself, I see not only how this has opened my heart up to new possibilities for healing and expansion.”

can be difficult to institute it first, they are actually one of the most beautiful and empowering things you can do for yourself and those around you. I like to think of my personal space as one that resembles the Klingon transporters in Star Trek. I feel into what color the energy in that tube looks like to me. Is the energy in your sacred space sticky and frantic or does it feel clean, crisp, and that it honors me? When it honors me, I see it as a tube of iridescent light that sparkles and sends that light out to the rest of the Universe.

Many of us have a lot more of those sticky feelings throughout the day than we have that joyful sparkle. Especially post-Covid. So many have forgotten how to interact and communicate kindly with one another because of the trauma we each endured. When we claim ownership to our space and set the intention to clean up our side of the street, it sets in motion an ability to

let go of those attachments to pain and trauma that cling to. Old stories are set free to let in more light and joy in our hearts and our personal space. We can rewrite our story to one of thriving and a new kind of leadership that others will want to be a part of.

Since I began this journey for myself, I see not only how this has opened my heart up to new possibilities for healing and expansion. It has also given those around me, especially my family, permission to do this work for their own well-being and the result is awe-inspiring. We have become closer and more forgiving of ourselves and one another. We are also becoming the safe space for each of us to fall apart and be held or have the best time celebrating each of our victories we’ve achieved through our newfound bravery.

Please do yourself the greatest favor you can today; begin letting go of that

which no longer serves you. Find an outlet like yoga, meditation, painting, singing, dancing, building something beautiful just for you or anything you’ve always wanted to try. This allows us a transmuting of those old attachments so that you can breathe again with peace and a heart-honoring practice. New, self-loving habits become your better attachments because they will not only serve you but also serve those around you and the entire world. You will become powerful and draw in people who seek the same. You unconsciously allow those who don’t match your newly cultivated good energy to fade away as we release them with loving hearts and thank them for showing us what we needed to know. It is all a loving gift being presented to and for you so that you will feel a deep sense of pride, compassion, and confidence you have been craving. You are worthy of that work and can make it your reality. I wish you well and believe in you!!



How do you define success? It’s a very important question, for so many different types of reasons.

Success has been defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. It has also been defined as the good or bad outcome of an undertaking. I’ve decided to analyze the outcome of a recent event in order to discuss the concept of success.

Yesterday, I took part in a local vendor event. I decided to sell the polymer clay jewelry and accessories that I’ve been designing for the past several years. I After all, recently have spent a considerable amount of time, as well as money, preparing for this event. I also invested my time in advertising my involvement in this show.

I nervously anticipated this new venue, hoping for a good turnout. I arrived early at the site, carefully arranging my table display with appropriate colors for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend.

The 10 a.m. start time of the show soon approached. I wished each of my fellow vendors success throughout the day with their sales. We each waited for customers to trickle in. The air outside was thick and heavy. It was a hot and humid day, with intermittent rain forecasted.

As vendors, we waited, but very few customers arrived. A few showed up, here and there. I greeted each new potential customer who passed my table with a smile, saying hello, and asking how they were doing. I informed them that I had created everything on my table from polymer clay. Most everyone shared that I had designed very beautiful jewelry.

I mentioned to the vendor set up next to

me that this event was supposed to have a food truck, as well as a lemonade stand, as additional attractions for attendees. Neither of these ever materialized. As the day unfolded, I began to feel increasingly discouraged.

I actually decided to give up seeing some of my regular clients the last couple of days before this vendor event, so as to finish preparing for this event. What was I thinking? I was starting to feel so very foolish at this point.

At this point, I was beginning to feel very familiar emotions creep in: depression, malaise, disappointment, and discouragement. Thankfully, my training as a clinical psychologist quickly “kicked in.” I began to think that I don’t need to feel this way.

After all, I train clients in cognitivebehavioral therapy, a modality that allows individuals to learn how to alter maladaptive thought patterns, in order to replace them with healthier ones. In so doing, distressing emotions, such as anxiety and depression, can successfully be treated.

I started first by reminding myself that today’s event is but one event of many such events. There will be other events. There can’t possibly be many sales if the event itself is poorly attended, obviously. This is not a reflection on the quality of the merchandise that I have produced. (Thankfully, this hasn’t been a dominant thought in my mind anyway).

Next, I thought of alternatives to taking part in vendor events themselves. Vendor events always involve participation fees, plus the number of hours spent traveling to and from the sites where the events are held, setting up and tearing down

your display, and vending during the event itself.

I could always work on redesigning my Etsy site, I started to think. I could take updated photos, with better backgrounds. I could revise my product descriptions, pricing structure, shipping costs, etc. Of course, this will initially involve a lot of up-front work. Once complete, it offers the potential of a passive income stream.

In addition to revising my Etsy site, I began thinking more about promoting my jewelry to local hair salons. This could potentially be another possibility for passive income over time. I might bring up the idea to my own hairdresser during my next hair appointment, which is next week.

After thinking about all of these options for earning money, I thought about another definition of what truly defines success. I think that it actually means feeling content with the relationships with the ones you truly love in your life. Yesterday, my daughter reminded me that it was a year ago that we had seen the movie Elvis, plus went to the Buffalo Zoo for ZooMagination. This was a magical milestone, in so many ways.

My daughter has Stage IIIc melanoma. Last December, I wasn’t so sure she would even be alive at the beginning of this year. She was experiencing severe side effects of Keytruda, the immunotherapy used to treat her skin cancer. Yesterday, she joined me at the vendor event. We had lunch together. I gave her a pair of earrings that she especially liked. So yes, the event was very much a true success.



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