CLASSES AND CONSULTING
Val speaks and teaches at a wide range of venues including:
Senior centers (Needham Council on Aging, MA)
Libraries (Newton Free Library, Camden Public Library)
Lifelong learning centers (Osher Lifelong Learning at UMass Boston and University of Rhode Island)
Community education centers (Arlington Community Education, Brookline Adult and Community Education, MA)
Medical centers such as Blum Resource Center at Dana Farber, and patient education programs such as Cancer Community Center (Dempsey Center) in South Portland, ME
Continuing education centers at universities (University of Southern Maine)
Nonprofit agencies (Thrive Support and Advocacy, MA)
Support groups for people with chronic illnesses, caregiver support groups, grief support groups
ONLINE CLASSES AND GROUPS
Staying Connected and Building Community
(Online 60-minute program, followed by 20-minute discussion)
Even before COVID-19, it took courage and initiative to break out of isolation and rebuild our support networks. We may have already been strapped in isolating situations such as illness, caregiving, living alone, divorce, relocation, or the death of a loved one.
Please join us as we explore ways to:
1) Stay close to others and deepen our bonds, despite social distancing.
2) Build our communities, expand our networks, and pave the way for our future social lives.
3) Understand how loneliness and isolation have affected other vulnerable groups in your community (such as people with disabilities, people in recovery, seniors who live alone) and learn how to advocate to help reduce social isolation.
Comforting Others: What to Say and Do
(Online 60-minute program including Q&A session)
When called to comfort others, we may feel empathy and care deeply, but sometimes what to say or do can elude us. We will explore how to put compassion into action with practical examples of what to say and do to provide comfort at work and at home. We will review recent research on empathy, grief, and social support, and examine best practices for how to be helpful. Finally, we will share our stories of comforting others, and learn from each other’s experiences.
(A series of 60-minute online classes of word games and word play, designed for seniors—available for senior centers and senior living communities)
Join Val for a fun and lively hour of word play and brain twisters—a logophile’s paradise. We learn new words as well as explore the history of old words and delve into the origins of words. We enjoy limericks, riddles, famous quotes, puns, and fascinating trivia about trendy words. We play guessing games with the dictionary and words-within-word games. Inspired by Shakespeare, Ogden Nash, or Edward Lear, we challenge our wits and might end up with a few laughs.
Poets Live Forever
(A series of 60-minute classes about poets and their lives, designed for seniors—available for senior centers and senior living communities.)
Presenting readings and life histories of poets from all ages, Val sparks conversation and reflection on what inspired their brilliant creations. Alongside their poems, we will explore in depth the challenges, passions, and callings of these great poets:
Maya Angelou, Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Oliver, Walt Whitman, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Emily Dickinson, Rumi, Robert Frost, Edna St. Vincent Millay.
Each one-hour online class is devoted to one particular poet as we learn about the life and works of that individual.
Consulting for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Val can help your organization develop curriculums for training your staff, volunteers, and the individuals you serve on the following topics:
Human Rights and Advocacy for People with Intellectual Disabilities: Val consults with agencies to develop a human rights curriculum for staff training. She is certified as a Human Rights Advocate by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services.
Self-Advocacy Skills for People with Disabilities: Val teaches self-advocacy, social skills, and work readiness skills to young adults and teens with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She specializes in using teambuilding exercises, expressive arts, and theater games to enhance engagement and build a sense of community.
Grief Support Groups: Val facilitates support groups for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have recently experienced a major loss. She encourages acceptance, compassion, and empathic listening for participants to acknowledge the grief of one another.