Sound Bites - Issue #21 - May 2015
Community Education's Premiere Online Magazine
In This Issue:
- New Career Training Programs in High-Demand Fields!
- What's New: Effervescent ESL Student to Teach Samba
- Photo Contest: 62 Images Submitted!
- Basic Mindfulness & Goosebumps
New Career Training Programs in High-Demand Fields!
Career & Contract Ed.
We at Community Education are proud of the many life enrichment classes we offer, but we're equally excited about our new programs for individuals seeking career training in high-demand fields. Many of these programs are short-term, meaning you can jump into well-paid professions without a huge time commitment.
In the past, we've talked about our new Paralegal Certification program, which begins June 1 – and enrollment is still open. But we have many short-term training programs, including Phlebotomy Certification, Online Marketing Certification, and On-Air Promotions Writer/Producer/Editor (college credit/certificate program).
And what is particularly exciting is that students may be eligible for state funds for these career-training programs.
For more information visit our site at www.updateurskills.com.
Director of Career & Contract Education
What's New: Effervescent ESL Student to Teach Samba
Community & Contract Education
I have seen him around long enough, and he is by no means subtle. Wiry, bouncy and colorful, he makes quite an impression that would not be soon forgotten. But it is quite a while later that I learned his name: Slleyk (very aptly pronounced slick), and his equally colorful career as a choreographer of Afro-Brazilian dance, having shared the stage with some of the best in the business, including the King of Pop, the late Michael Jackson. And yet it is later still that we started talking, about his desire to share his gift of dance with Community Education.
beginning July 11
Slleyk has a warm and effervescent personality that matches his outstanding appearance: colorful braids (and I mean COLORFUL) and a dazzling smile – you feel endless energy bouncing off him whenever he is around. No doubt, it is because of all that Samba Raggae for which he's known.
Having just moved to the United States not long ago from his native Brazil, Slleyk came to our attention first as a non-credit ESL student, taking advantage of the program and trying to master the English language. Ultimately, though, Slleyk is a master of the language of dance, and he uses it to communicate his zest for life with those he teaches, building communities along the way and sharing his particular brand of Brazilian sunshine with Southern California.
As community-building also plays a key part of our program, we found ourselves in the company of yet another comrade-in-arm, ready to help us expand our cultural reach within our own community. For the upcoming summer session Slleyk has designed a six-week dance class, July 11-Aug. 15, that will teach participants his unique style of Samba Raggae, bringing fitness and party together in a 1 ½-hour session each week, where music, dance, and friendship reign supreme – now, who can say no to that?
I encourage you to register early to take advantage of our 10% Early Bird Discount, which is offered for the entire month of May on all Health & Fitness classes. Save your spot and consider bringing your friends and families to the magic of Slleyk's Brazil.
Slleyk can be spotted regularly around Bundy campus, but you won't catch him dancing unless it is in our classroom. Come #jointhemovement and be part of all the love, laughter and endless blessings that is Slleyk.
Photo Contest: 62 Images Submitted!
SMC Community Education is excited that it has received 62 images from 13 contestants – all former or current students – for its first-ever Photo Contest.
"I'm so impressed with the submissions we have received," said Alice Meyering, Program Coordinator of Community & Contract Education. "The quality of these photos demonstrates vividly how talented our students are."
The winning image will be the cover of the Fall 2015 Schedule of Classes, and the photographer will be featured in Community Ed's monthly newsletter, Sound Bites.
Judging will take place at three levels, with the first panel selecting, on a "blind" basis, the semi-finalists, followed by a second panel choosing the top three images. After that, the public will select the winning photo through an online voting system, probably in early June.
"We received so much positive feedback from our Fall 2014 cover, shot by our student Gloria Novi, that we decided a photo contest is the perfect way to display our students' incredible skills," Meyering said.
Basic Mindfulness & Goosebumps
By Betzi Richardson
(The following is an excerpt from an essay by Betzi Richardson, who will be teaching a "Basic Mindfulness" class at SMC Community Ed June 24-July 29. Here, she speaks about the approach of her own Mindfulness primary teacher, Shinzen Young, with whom she has studied since 1995.)
Shinzen has named his approach "Basic Mindfulness," which I like because he not only teaches ways to improve concentration, but his meditation skillset also includes the building of improved sense clarity and equanimity.
Now, every meditation practice will improve your concentration, sense clarity and equanimity, but the beauty of Shinzen's approach is that he is doing it consciously, with specific exercises that develop and hone those skills.
For my money, equanimity is the unappreciated "crown jewel" of meditation. It is deep acceptance – the ability to not interfere with your internal experiences: thoughts, emotions, feelings, and body sensations; the ability to allow your internal life to arise, flower, and morph without having to push or pull on it, without having to suppress or repress anything.
The ability to bring equanimity to experience is invaluable, especially with physical pain that cannot be modified with conventional means, such as over-the-counter analgesics, prescription medication, massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, surgery, etc. Mindfulness is the best, and for many people, the only way to cope with chronic pain issues.
At the end of his retreats, Shinzen helps people make the transition from the silence and the concentration of the retreat environment by a modification of a Native American custom, the Talking Circle. The room is reconfigured in a circle and anyone who wishes to speak gets the floor. It is not required that anyone speak; it is purely up to each person, if they feel so inspired. It is quite interesting and often quite touching to listen to people, many of whom you are meeting for the first time, share their experiences of the retreat.
On one occasion there was a woman who had spent the retreat in a lounge chair toward the back of the room; this is appropriate whenever people are ill and/or have pain issues. But she didn't seem very sick; I speculated that she had a sprained ankle or something. So much for idle speculation.
The woman, named Dara, spoke in the Talking Circle, and she was radiant with Equanimity. To my amazement, she told us she had cancer, which had been in remission, but had returned. She was from Delaware, and the retreat was a gift she had chosen to give herself while she had time. Dara was facing her imminent death directly, and yet she was completely at ease, even happy.
I was dumbfounded, and I get goosebumps as I write this and every time I recall her. I have forgotten exactly what she said, but her state of being was unmistakable. She was the real deal – she was manifesting something, I don't know if "enlightenment" is the right word for it – but it was clear to me that I would practice Mindfulness for the rest of my life. I have no way of knowing if I might ever "attain" her state of being, and it doesn't really matter. I know I will be following her example, and keeping her memory in my heart.