Yoga 4 Caregivers

with Melissa Smith-Wilkinson &
Ellen MacKay & Jennifer Henius
Join us as we chat today with Ellen MacKay and Jennifer Henius, social workers, and yoga teachers who are striving for getting wellness tools out to Caregivers of all types. Our conversations dip into their free offerings, a sample 2 minute practice, and a valuable discussion on the role social workers play in the care of others.

Yoga4Caregivers Accessible Yoga Blog: Visit Here

Yoga4Caregivers Facebook Page: Visit Here

Caregiver Wellness Collective Facebook Page: Visit Here

Social Work Yogis Facebook Page: Visit Here

Melissa Smith

All right, so welcome, everyone, for joining us today. I have Yoga 4 Caregivers and they also have Caregiver Wellness Collective as well as is it Social Work Yogi's Community? Yeah. I am so happy to be chatting with Jennifer today because she is probably one of the most proactive go-getter networking, but also genuine folks I have met in my process of working with, you know, organizing caregiver events. And it's really just been a delight to work with you, Jennifer. So I'm really excited to have you both here today. So Jennifer is with the Yoga 4 Caregivers and all the other entities I mentioned as well. And we have Ellen McKay here with us, too, who is the program director for Yoga 4 Caregivers and has been helping her story and organize all of the different modalities, not just yoga, but breathing and meditation and tapping all of the other different types of things that they've been offering specifically on their Facebook group page. And we will be posting again, I've posted those links, but we'll be posting more in the comments as well, where you can join the group and also their YouTube page to see more with what they offer. But I have had the pleasure and honor of working with Jennifer on our last retreat that we did so the Caregiver Wellness Retreat live from Santa Fe and Jennifer was behind the scenes on a very full two 1/2 days, was really like a full day of presenting material for various speakers. And I really could not have done that experience without you. I really appreciate your time and your energy of helping us kind of, you know, try out all these new processes. And this is why another reason why I'm really excited about having you all, because I feel like there are so many different ways to reach caregivers. And everyone that you and I keep connecting with has a tremendous role to play. And I feel like you guys are doing an incredible job of filling this consistent wellness piece where, you know, I'm just once a year or just on, you know, online as an experience. You guys really cultivate a sense of relationship, pulling that in for short sequences in terms of tools and things that they can access. And I just think it's incredibly powerful, so to speak, to that. I would love for you, Ellen, to just kind of lead us into we've arrived. Simple exercise. If you're if you're willing.

 

Ellen MacKay

Of course. Of course I'd love to. So let's just wherever you are, if you're seated, lying down, whatever, get comfy. So make sure you feel actually somewhat relaxed. We'll take the shoulders up to the ears, give them a good little squeeze and then let them drop. Yeah, let's do that two more times, give it up and squeeze and then let it drop. Good. One more time up and drop it. Lovely. If you want to close your eyes, you can or just find someplace to look, something that's not going to distract you, make you think of something else. So just bring your awareness to the breath. So let the breath come in through the nose, out through the nose, maybe into the nose, out of the mouth, if that feels better. And as you feel that breath come in, maybe you feel some expansion through the chest or the rib cage or the belly. And then an exhale, see if you can soften just a little. Anywhere. Inhale again, feel that expansion. And space. And exhale, soften. Good, let's do that a few more times and how to expand and create some space. And exhale to let it go. One more breath, just like that, inhale, expand. And exhale soft. Great. Thank you so much for having us here. We're so grateful to have this opportunity to talk to you and just share our story.


Melissa Smith

Well, before we get into your stories, how are you both like how are you really? Yeah.

 

Ellen MacKay

Jen, you want to go first?

 

Melissa Smith

Just bring that back to you.

 

Jennifer Henius

There's a lot going on, right? I mean, there's a lot going on in the world. There's a lot going on with family. And I'm just trying to stay grounded even for ourselves can be a real challenge. And, you know, we're feeling like we're pulled in a lot of different directions. At the same time, you want to be sure that we're delivering something of value and of quality to our caregivers that are joining us. We've just been doing a lot of capacity building, but we also need to step back and make sure that we are taking care of ourselves, taking care of our collective, all of our volunteers who are supporting us, too. And it's a challenge. But we also want to be sure that we're practicing what we preach to self care is really important for all of us right now. And so we have had to slow down and put a pause and some of the things we have planned just to sort of take a breather, you know.

 

Melissa Smith

I'm actually really happy to hear you say that. I watch you almost it feels like a dizzying pace. You're so active on social media. And like I said, one of your gifts in the world is connecting people. And that is such a powerful thing. And so to give folks a background a little bit on you and then we'll have you share just a little bit on. Jennifer was the senior specialist for the VA on a national level. And it seems like right at the transition, I'm not sure exactly when you left in the period time period between covid, but it wasn't very much shortly after that the pandemic hit. So, and you pivoted really quickly. And I love that you reached out to me and we're like, how can we work together? I'm like, oh, wow, somebody wants to help, but you can do whatever you want.

 

Jennifer Henius

Yeah. I mean, I've been watching you, Melissa, over the past couple of years. And, you know, when you're in government, it's really hard. There are a lot of barricades. You can't just reach out to people and say, how can we help? But yeah, I mean, I've seen your interviews and podcast with the service council and I had awareness of what you were doing. And I just have so much appreciation and respect for the community that you've created. And I feel like you've really been an innovator in the space. I mean, the shift to an online demand wellness retreat, I mean, that's pretty amazing. And, you know, you have your podcasts and your brain and all these amazing speakers and collaborations. I mean, I think you're just envisioning things in a way that people have not. So it's really an amazing opportunity for us to have any opportunity to partner and collaborate with you.

 

Melissa Smith

Well, thank you for that. You know what comes to mind in hearing you earlie you just said kind of like. We've got to remember to take care of ourselves and the Terra Brock quote. No, we have no time to rush keeps coming to mind. It's like we want to provide all of these things for caregivers and we want to be the kind of, we almost want to be professional about it and make sure that everyone feels nurtured and taken care of. And our volunteers feel important. And it's just like, oh, my gosh. And so what I've done is, is slow down in terms of like needed breaks from doing a podcast and what's, you know, at the speed of less at the speed of less of that again. So I can do something a little better. It's hard, isn't.

 

Jennifer Henius

It, is the hardest lesson. And I mean, it really is. I mean, coming from someplace where I was used to working sixty, sixty five hours a week as a routine. I mean, when you're in that health care executive environment, that's the norm. And I think my nervous system really got used to it. I mean, just that adrenaline, I really feel like it's almost an addiction because once you get that adrenaline and you're used to the buzz and being in the center and having to work so hard and you just keep turning and turning and turning when you get off, you don't know what to do. And it's very depressing, actually. I was depressed really to sort of step back and it was a difficult transition. And then to have covid land on top of that, it was a really difficult time for me.

 

Melissa Smith

You know, I bet many people, everyone listening can relate. But I was thinking specifically about caregivers, because when you're suddenly like, you know, whatever the transition is, whether you don't even notice it, that you're becoming a caregiver and helping a parent or helping a spouse, and then suddenly you realize you are you know, it's very similar to what all of us are experiencing in this sort of collective sense of grief and loss. So, Ellen, I would love to hear from you. We chatted a little bit. I know you've been a caregiver to your mother who passed away in twenty eighteen of lung cancer. And you're also a caregiver to your dad who recently passed. Yes, so you originally asked how I was doing, and, you know, that hasn't always been such a weighted question, but it's definitely been a very challenging time.

 

Ellen MacKay

You know, all things considered, covid all of it, is you know job. I'm a yoga teacher, so, you know, yoga studios got shut down and we were shut down for a long time and trying to manage to still reach out to my students and have that community, because I know I still need a community and I still needed support. So I knew they did, too, especially for all of my clients that were coming every week. And they've been coming every week for years. So making that transition while, like Jen said, trying to still create. My own self-care and then dealing with covid as a caregiver, so outside of my professional role was very challenging. My dad had COPD, so he was really at a very high risk. And at the time the that covid started, he was already end-stage COPD. And I have two small boys, so I needed to make sure I created some space between all of us. And we're a pretty close family. We live like two minutes down the street from each other. So that was a very challenging thing to be a caregiver, but also have to make sure that I separate myself to keep everybody safe. And that was a big challenging part of that transition. So with that, then my dad got even sicker and had to go to the hospital and deal with all these Covid things with the hospital, of course, and then losing him a couple of months ago. You know, then you deal with all these other things that are on top of covid isolation, separation. You know, there's no gatherings. There's no, I mean, there's not even a lot of hugging. So even if you are a caregiver or anyone that, receives comfort from connection, from physical connection, hugs, or being in person with people that can be really challenging to manage the anxiety, stress, depression that comes along with all these changes with covid, you know, it can be really, really hard, really, really hard. And I think. One of the few things that is really helping me kind of manage is remembering to number one understand that self-care is really important, even though I might not feel like I have time for it or I have so many other things to do. But even a few minutes, like a few minutes of breathing or just a few minutes of rest, like it doesn't even have to be anything productive, just like sitting down and not doing anything for a few minutes can really be a can really help refill and refuel you for the next whatever, whatever other things that you actually do have to do that day.

 

Melissa Smith

Yeah. And this really speaks to kind of yall's overall purpose that I. Have you ever listen to Priya Parker? She wrote the book, How We Gather. Absolutely a phenomenal like for me, understanding in the shift of teaching online and how do we actually connect with people when there's just this screen in front of us and we can't touch like you were talking about? It's just it's such a different way to communicate. But I feel like what you both do speaks at the heart of what her message is and how to powerfully gather and how to create a sense of purpose. And she says she asks, what is it I know how to do and where is the need? And then how can I help? I feel like you guys are both like the definition of, the definition of that, in terms of, you know, how do we figure out meaningful, purposeful gathering with caregivers? Both of you have this incredible skill set and there is a huge need. And I'd love for you to share just a little bit more about kind of how Yoga 4 Caregivers works. And I know I'm super excited about you starting a nonprofit like your biggest cheerleader. Like, go do it. It's not hard. You can do it. It totally is, but it's fine.

 

Jennifer Henius

Yeah, yeah. I got to say, like, I think exactly what you just said, it was really the impetus for starting this community, because when you're in covid or you have some sort of crisis, there are definitely people out there who are really altruistic by nature and they want to give back and they're trying to find ways to give back in a meaningful way and to be a purpose when there's a crisis. Know. And so that was really the impetus of creating Yoga 4 Caregivers, especially as a new yoga teacher. I wasn't teaching. I really didn't have the experience. And I was trying to cultivate that that skill, a new skill for me and also just trying to find a way to give back. And this just seems like the perfect opportunity. And along the way, you know, over the months, research was starting to come up like in time research was starting to come out that was showing how caregivers were disproportionately impacted by covid, that they had worsening mental health outcomes and that they had elevated suicidal ideation.

 

Jennifer Henius

So I feel like we were on the right track at that very early onset in terms of just trying to teach caregivers some tools that they could use in real-time to try to help cope. And we really I mean, I was targeting caregivers who have never been exposed or had any experience with yoga. And that's and so Ellen and I sort of met through this community and we just sort of hit it off and became sort of joined at the hip. And it was been a real blessing to have somebody like Ellen, who has a lot of years of experience in teaching. She has a real family caregiving experience and she has a lot of passion. And she's a social worker. I'm a social worker. And we just seem to have a lot in common. And it just I can't explain it. I did not know Ellen prior to the you know, the door is just open and we have to be brave enough to walk through them. And that's what we're kind of doing together.

 

Melissa Smith

So you guys offer the way that I see that it's designed is and maybe Ellen you can speak to that. You've got a Facebook group that any caregiver, it doesn't matter what type of caregiver they aren't at all. Any group is welcome to join the group and that's where you host the classes. And then I think you have a YouTube channel as well.

 

Ellen MacKay

Right, so we have in our Facebook group that you can join through the Facebook page, any caregiver can join new or maybe they've been caregiving for a really long time. You don't need any experience with yoga if you do, great. But we realize that as a caregiver, your time is limited. So you don't have, you know, a typical yoga class can be 90 minutes. And the idea for the majority of caregivers to have 90 minutes of free time, is not realistic. So we offer really short videos anywhere between five minutes to 30 minutes, and we've recently started posting the schedule, the weekly schedule online. So we've got some great, great teachers that are teaching either every week or every other week so our caregivers can see, OK, this is going to be the time that this is available. Maybe I can carve out five minutes, maybe I can carve out 30 minutes. But even if they can't come at that time, our videos are always available. So even if it's some random, it's Sunday at 7:05 and they need a little something. All they need to do is go on and find any video and they're all marked. We make sure it's really easy because that's another thing. If you need some self-care and you only have a few minutes, you don't have time to search through all these things and figure out what's right for you. So when we post our videos, we really try to say, like, this is five minutes. That's like the first thing we talk about how much time you need to have in order to do this. So. With it's all really done with the caregiver in mind, we want it to be as easy and as accessible, we have a lot of our classes are very accessible. So we have a chair yoga class. Most of the classes that I teach, I don't do in a chair. But I give options for chairs because we know that we have a wide variety of people, a wide variety of ages, a wide variety of physical abilities, what they want to do. So we're really just trying to narrow it down specifically to what a caregiver might need.

 

Melissa Smith

Perfect, and then are those same classes posted on YouTube or are they different?

 

Ellen MacKay

We don't have, as all of our classes are, mostly on our Facebook group. We have some on YouTube. But the weekly schedule is just in our group. And then we have just some extras on YouTube.

 

Melissa Smith

OK, great.

 

Jennifer Henius

Yes. So we get video content like we have. I mean, we're based in Tampa Bay, but we're serving everywhere. But we have these teachers who are generously giving us copies of their classes and their video content. And so that's what we're hoping to try to post on our YouTube just to let people know that we're out there. I mean, it's really generous of these teachers to share their tools like that with us. So that's our plan. And we put some of those videos there on our new YouTube channel.

 

Melissa Smith

And now tell me so you'll go for caregivers, it's going to be a subsidiary of the Wellness Collective or how is that working?

 

Ellen MacKay

Well, you know, when we realized we wanted to form a nonprofit, we knew that we wanted to do more than yoga and we really wanted to focus on a broader wellness umbrella. So what we're doing is we're making Yoga 4 Caregivers like a signature program that we're going to be offering under a larger wellness umbrella. And that Caregiver Wellness Collective is really going to be focused on creating an alliance between governments and businesses and organizations to really focus on raising awareness about caregiver health, mental health and their wellness needs. Because we really know that caregivers are in crisis and caregiver health and wellness and well-being is really in need of a public health intervention that we need to address more broadly. And so the Rosalynn Carter Institute has recently published a seminal white paper on caregivers in crisis, where they've really put forward a call to action and to think about interventions in a very different way. And so that's sort of where we're hoping to step up into that space and sort of work with these other NGOs and sort of offer these programming. That's a little bit different because a lot of the support for caregivers is based on traditional models like peer-to-peer support, counseling, psycho-educational groups. And we really need to shift that, I feel like, into some of these alternative modalities and some of the mind-body wellness things that we want to offer.

 

Melissa Smith

I'm really excited to say that not only is that where your gifts align in terms of being able to bring a lot of resources together, but it's powerful because this isn't just, I think, so much. We often times it becomes a medical model or no wellness at all. Right. There's no prevention encouraged. And I think that's really, really powerful.

 

Jennifer Henius

The other thing that we started to do under this umbrella is offer support to medical professionals and human service workers. Right. And so we started doing some corporate employee wellness programming whereas a non-profit in that space, it's a pretty unique offering. And so we can turn around and use those funds to sort of support the family caregivers and the interventions that we want to provide. So it ends up being a really good marriage, I think, to try to find a good sustainability model for us, too, right?

 

Melissa Smith

Yeah, you have to have that to learn the hard way. You really do. But and I will say what I really appreciate. And because this is a very special community in terms of you offering your services to them for free and asking those corporations and those that can pay, they help supplement and bring that forward. And I think that's it's a unique model and powerful because it has a very specific intention. And so I really appreciate that. And I know caregivers do as well.So reducing that barrier to even being able to participate. So it's good. It's good. Tell me more about what they are. Say that again.

 

Jennifer Henius

I was just going to say that that's the whole thing with well-being is that it gets packaged to be this luxurious, expensive, inaccessible thing that you can't afford to do. And that's really not what wellness and well-being or self care is all about. So we have to try to find a way to overcome some of those beliefs in the media. You know how the media portrays wellness and well-being?

 

Melissa Smith

Yeah, well, I really appreciate it. I listen to one of Ellen's sessions and it was like three minutes long on ahimsa, not humming. And then and essentially what you did was formulate a positive affirmation of what we would call probably a mantra. And I just thought, how beautiful because how simple, you know, and it and it didn't feel who we really felt from your heart. And in terms of reframing a perspective. And for those listening, I don't know if you remember it, but I can read it. If you don't remember what you said.

 

Jennifer Henius

I think I can remember it. Let's see. I'm not perfect. I can't imagine, though, right, even though I'm not perfect. I. Deserve love. I knew it was something like that, but it's, yes, love and acceptance. And this week I in my regular yoga teaching, I usually do some kind of countdown to the end of the year. But because this year was so different and I had my own stuff going on, I just was not that was not in my wheelhouse this year, but it kind of came to me last week to just talk about the Yoma, so this coming Monday on the group, we're going to talk about Brahmacharya and Sasha, so balanced and truth and how that all plays into the caregiver role and I really feel like it can be those ideas of balance and truth, like they seem so simple. But as a caregiver, it's and for anybody else, really balance and truth can be big, huge things that you might take a while to think about. So I wanted to go through the Yamas over the next few weeks and give them some mantras that they can say whenever, wherever, you know, nothing needed, no mat, no blocks. Just repetition.

 

Melissa Smith

And something that just takes a few minutes to reframe, recenter, restart the nervous system, and I think that's really where it's at. And that's a powerful key.

 

Jennifer Henius

Well, we had received some feedback from our one of our caregivers who basically said that her husband had early onset of Alzheimer's disease and that she had been plugging into all these various groups on Facebook, but that there's just been very difficult story, like one horror story after horror story that I don't need to read. And she said, I've come to accept that. But what I'm finding is that this support group is offering something that I didn't realize I needed. 10 minutes of stretching some meditation suggestions. And my mantra is now, just for today, I can make it just for today. And that was amazing. I mean, Ellen and I. I mean, I cried when I got that response all over and it was really powerful. And it was you know, it's hard when you build a community because you want that engagement and you want the feedback and you don't know is what we're doing working? How do people, how are people really receiving it? And so when that feedback came to us, it was very motivational and inspiring to sort of keep going right these hours and the intention behind what we're doing keep doing it. And the other interesting thing about it was she referred to our group as a support group.

 

Melissa Smith

I'm just going to ask you about that. Is that what you would consider it? It's a different format. I guess support comes in.

 

Jennifer Henius

It's coming from a psychotherapy background. No, I would not consider that this. But the recipient did. And that's really powerful, too. So we are cultivating some sort of support in this community that caregivers are finding valuable. So we need to keep plugging away. We need to be more innovative and creative about how to bring these caregivers together and add some structure, which I'm hoping the nonprofit can help us do that. But I mean, it was just really motivating and inspiring to get that kind of feedback from caregivers in our group.

 

Melissa Smith

Mm. I think that's super powerful because Facebook is different in terms that, you know, you aren't able to other than chat live and actually see and get that sort of co-regulation, you really dependent upon them to kind of drop everything and begin to pay attention to what's happening on the screen. And that takes a captivating presentation. And I felt like that's what I got when I listen to you, Ellen. So I really I really appreciated that. It was great. So good.

 

Ellen MacKay

Thank you.

 

Melissa Smith

So I'm so glad. Yeah. Yeah. So I want to circle back to the Social Work Yogi's community and how. Tell me a little bit more. I know you started that at the beginning of the year or maybe it was longer than that. I'm not sure. Yeah, yeah.

 

Jennifer Henius

It really be for Yoga 4 Caregivers. And really, it was because when I started getting into yoga practice and I started realizing some of the research that was getting done with veterans of post-traumatic stress and yoga therapy, I had never even heard of yoga therapy before. So this was all new, something like an explosive amount of growth for me, sort of going through my yoga teacher training. And at the end of it, being working at the VA, who has recently adopted a lot of yoga practice into the health care system. I started to meet with a lot of social workers who are also registered yoga teachers. And then I started to learn about some of the social workers who were doing research related to yoga, mindfulness and dementia patients, right. So there are a lot of social work researchers. Then I started to meet social workers who left their practice and started yoga studios. So it was just became like this little community that I started to network with. And I thought to myself, we really need a space to get our like-minded individuals together, to share resources, to network, to meet each other, to build upon what it is we're doing. And then people started coming and saying, hey, are you going to teach yoga to social workers? And I thought, well, that wasn't really what I was trying. I'm like, we need a new community for that. You know, like I hadn't really thought about that. But I think with this nonprofit, something I'm hoping will be able to do is offer maybe some yoga to social workers because social workers and caregivers have a lot in common. They're both burnt out, they're overwhelmed. They have a lot of stress. They have compassion fatigue. So there's a lot of similarities there. So I hope it's something that we can build under this umbrella.

 

Melissa Smith

Well, not only that, but so so we have a volunteer in Houston who is a social worker, and she works specifically with transitioning and helping families with Alzheimer's and dementia. And she works all through those networks there. And it's a powerful role. And speaking as someone I'm actually in grad school right now for clinical mental health and yeah, I am shocked at the lack of understanding of what yoga is or there's no knowledge of yoga therapy, no knowledge of what the nervous system is and the role that nervous system plays in therapy. I mean, it's just blown my mind so far. And these are tenured professors and it's really people I admire and respect. And I just I can't wait to see more of a merging and an understanding. And I feel like it's going to empower. And it speaks to actually an article that you posted. I think it was an abstract general that Joe Massina. I think you have. Yeah. The question that they asked was what impact do embodied practices like yoga have on your own, speaking to social workers and your clients experiences?And I just think that it brings this almost full circle to our very beginning of our conversation together and how really yoga has pulled you through, Ellen, in terms of your recent loss. And, you know, and and and, Jennifer, your own experience in terms of why you even started it and the crisis that we've had, I don't know if either of you want to speak to that from a social work perspective or.

 

Ellen MacKay

I mean, I remember when I was in school, my teacher told me that you need to find a place on your way home, that this is going to be the place where you leave your work behind. And that has stuck with me for a really long time and. As a caregiver of any kind, if you're a family caregiver, an unpaid family caregiver, or if you're in the role of a caregiver like social worker or, you know, nurse, a doctor, whatever, whatever your role is, and you're taking care of others. When you move into that role, normally we tend to be givers anyways. That's kind of like maybe more of our natural thing. So. We might naturally not put our needs anywhere on our list like that, and even if we do, there's guilt, there might be guilt associated with that. So I think what my teacher was trying to tell me is you have to start making a routine to take care of yourself, because if you don't, you're not going to be able to take care of anyone else. And if you're in this if you're in school right now to do this very thing, you need to find a way to be able to sustain it. And if you don't figure that thing out, you're just not going to be able to sustain it. So as far as social workers, trying to help others, trying to connect people with resources that might be even limited, even more limited now because of covid, all you want to do is help and maybe you can't help in the way you want. You maybe can, you know, bring all these things together that you want for your clients. And that's really hard thing to deal with. So there is a necessity for social workers and caregivers of all kinds to really like. Understand that it's important to make time for yourself. It's important to take a moment, take a break, create that. Point on your drive home to set aside whatever you got going on and create a little space for yourself.

 

Melissa Smith

That's so perfectly said, I love what you're your teacher said, is you have to have a place between, you know, where you are now and home. Where is that place that feeds you? What's that sauce? And it speaks to her question that she was trying to ask. And this, you know, the survey that she did in social work communities is, you know. What are the impact of these embodied practices? So for us to write, I think, and I'm speaking for myself and our family in terms of caregiving, when my stepmom was alive, there's a disembodiment you kind of cut off who you were, what you even how you feel, because all you can do is take care of the other person. It's like it's so urgent that there is there is a disassociation or almost disembodiment. So that's power.

 

Jennifer Henius

And I think a lot of social workers are going through that. Right. A lot of medical front-line social workers who are out there right now and I think are going through the themselves. I mean, like I just said, the resources were limited before. So what is it like now? And like you had mentioned the grief. I mean, it's really hard for people who can't find the resources and you have these huge demand in caseloads and you just feel like, you know, speaking for myself, you feel like you let people down. I mean, you carry some of that on your shoulders. And now social work already has a really high rate of turnover and social workers are really burned out right now like we are also in a state of crisis. And I think a lot of social workers are going to give some thought to leaving the profession. And then what's going to happen because social workers nationally are the biggest provider of mental health care across the country, period, not just at the VA across the country. So what are we going to do when we start to lose these social workers? And how can we build these tools into the social work student curriculum? You know, I think that's where we.

 

Melissa Smith

Jennifer for president. Let's change our policy, changing all. I just love your ambition and vision. And it's so big and so broad and, you know, like no obstacles in your way. It's really inspiring. So thank you. I could pair you up with my producer son who has to do a project for school. They have to remake the government. I'm like, oh, wow, no small task. Were 15-year-old boys, like, you know, probably won't happen. And maybe so why?

 

Melissa Smith

I'm so, so honored that you guys have taken the time to chat with me today and also to share with the broader community. And I'm very, very excited for our caregivers to dive a little bit more into sharing that community experience with you all. Also, really excited to have you a part of our next online retreat, which is live from Houston. And so that's coming up at the end of January. So look forward to having you all share some practices with us as well. Anything else you'd like to share in closing?

 

Jennifer Henius

No, just thank you. Thank you again for the opportunity and thank you, Melissa, really for all of your support. I mean, you've really been amazing since I first encountered you. And I really appreciate you're just genuine support and heart, really. I mean.

 

Melissa Smith

It's where it's at. Right. You can't do this as alone or on your own. You have to have a team in the community. And, you know, everybody kind of lists each other up. You stand on each other's shoulders and that's the only way to get things like this done, period.

 

Jennifer Henius

And feedback, because I know it's hard, right. It's a competitive world and everyone's competing for funds. And so I'm open to collaborations, really. So it's it means a lot. You've opened the doors for us.

 

Melissa Smith

Thank you all. Good. And Ellen is so lovely to meet you and to get to share in your practices. And I'm looking forward to more of that. So thank you for sharing your heart.

 

Ellen MacKay

Yes. Thank you so much for having us and really just giving us an opportunity to share our stories and our passion. You know, the goal for Jen and I really is only about reaching as many caregivers as we can. So we are so grateful to have this opportunity and hopefully just reach one more year at least. And so thank you so much. Thank you.

 

Melissa Smith

Our pleasure. Thanks so much.

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