Today I talk to my friend and colleague of almost 20 years, Vicki Abadesco. As the Co-Founder of of an amazing organization called Soul Shoppe, Vicki brings 30 years as an educator teaching life skills and conflict resolution tools to both young people and adults. She’s also a fellow for the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and author of the book Free to Be. Vicki talks with us today about what it takes to create a truly safe environment, the growth and impact of Soul Shoppe, and what she has seen shift over the years in the areas of social and emotional learning. She also discusses how we can feel a part of something rather than apart from it and what she and her team are doing to help schools, teams, and people feel more empathy for one another and a true sense of belonging.
[4:40] So much of our success is related to our relationships. When we establish deep roots with another person, the connection helps us both grow.
[8:40] You never know who in your network will be able to help you get where you want to go.
[10:20] Soul Shoppe has been around for over 20 years, and their mission is to create safe learning environments that bring forth a culture of compassion, connection, and curiosity. Through this, we can eliminate bullying at the roots. They mainly focus on elementary schools but also do workshops and assemblies with middle schoolers as well.
[12:10] Vicki was a long time educator and always worked with young people, teachers, and those in admin positions to create safety, resolve conflict, and really show up and make a difference in the lives of one another.
[12:53] When we feel nurtured and supported we have more energy and want to thrive. From a productivity standpoint, there is nothing better than a team that feels valued and appreciated.
[14:14] Ask yourself: how can we bring more success to others?
[16:56] Vicki sees the trend in education, moving more towards socio-emotional learning. Instead of imparting wisdom as a one-way street, it’s now important for people to have respect and understanding.
[19:37] While social media and online can connect us to a wider audience faster and easier than ever, depression and anxiety are up. We must be aware of our own mental health and the mental health of others, and also strive to take time out to pay attention to our own emotions and truly connect with those around us.
[30:44] It is so common for people to feel “a part” of something but then also feel “apart” from others. This causes loneliness, isolation, and a greater feeling that we don’t belong. Soul Shoppe gives children a way to just catch their break and get a break from their busy schedule. Here they can share their feelings in a safe environment and learn we are all going through similar challenges.
[43:38] The bully on the playground may be really hurting and just in need of someone to listen and feel empathy. Be curious about others, and they may feel safe to be vulnerable.