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From Melinda's Desk

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by Melinda Darer, Assistant to the Director

Please contact me at to volunteer with the Institute.

I feel blessed having the opportunity to participate in running The Focusing Institute on a daily basis. I can't believe that 5 years ago I met Mary Hendricks for the first time and had a most unusual interview. It was authentic! I have been fortunate to meet many of you on the phone and in person. I think it is right for you to get to know me.

I chose to work for the Focusing Institute out of my need to do meaningful work. My work expresses my personal philosophy and must contribute in some way to improve society, so my whole being can be involved, a view which was instilled in me as a child. I remember walking through Pittsburgh's ghetto in an early 1960's civil rights march, supporting the African American equality, singing 'We shall Overcome,' arms linked, watched by policemen with shotguns. I have a tremendous respect and sensitivity for cultural differences, enhanced by traveling in over 17 countries including Japan, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland, as well as living a year in Israel and six months in France. The Institute's international flavor appeals to me, challenges and all.

Before the Institute, I helped to found and run an international non-profit animal rights organization in Washington, DC. All over the world, I met our members and spoke about the issues. I managed the office as well as our public relations campaigns. During this period, I met my future husband in the former Yugoslavia speaking at an International Vegetarian Conference. Now I practice Focusing in my family. It's not easy to break habitual patterns of behavior, but it is so necessary for our future. I strive to do so and encourage my 8 and 11 year old boys to do so also.

Last Week at My Desk

"Workwise", I wake up to so much each day. My work is an intricate dance that weaves major responsibilities concerning our members, outreach, and networking. Here is a taste from my week:

-- A Korean psychology professor came to Chicago this summer to complete her Focusing training. She will be our first trainer in Korea and plans to teach Focusing to her students as well as start a counseling center. She needed help obtaining materials and her Certificate. She also wanted someone to discuss her plans with.

-- A woman from New Mexico called for help in organizing a Level 1 workshop. I coordinated the division of responsibilities date, instructor, display ad, workshop flier and sent her names of people in her area to contact.

-- I contacted the International Society for Traumatic Stress to introduce The Focusing Institute and described the workshop Shirley Turcotte will present on PTSD and Focusing. I arranged to get their mailing labels and have sent out a thousand piece mailing. They will place announcements in their newsletter, and will be linked to our website. I did a similar exchange with the Alexander Technique organization for Kevin McEvenue's Wholebody workshop.

-- I provided a visa letter for two trainers-in-training from Hungary, so they can participate in the weeklong.

The Scope of My Activities

Workshop coordination: Our instructors and participants come from all over the world and want to feel cared for, especially if it is their first time in the US. Some visit our offices and stay in my home. This gives me an even more personal opportunity to get to know our members. I prepare the workshop calendar for the year, help choose instructors, arrange location, design fliers, prepare packets and participant lists.

Inventory maintenance: place orders to publishers and print self published resources and fill customer orders.

Membership liaison: handle all membership needs and maintain data base, adding members and updating changes. Telephone inquiries: answer questions, make referrals to Focusing teachers and workshops.

Liaison with bookkeeper and accountant: invoicing, collecting dues payment and paying bills. Hopefully our budget will expand to include a full time assistant to handle routine tasks more efficiently and free me to do more outreach and grassroots organizing. I love introducing Focusing to individuals and organizations.


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This page was last modified on 11 November 2003