The Short Version: Experiences are good for brains.
The Longer Version:
Brains can be helped, hurt or healed by experiences. Interactive fun that encourages us to think about sensitive social and emotional topics, teaches and helps our brains grow stronger.
Photos: 2011 adventure therapy in the Chicago suburbs
I was born & raised on the far east side of Indianapolis, on 42nd and Post Rd. I attended both IPS and Lawrence Township Schools. Upon graduating I moved to Terre Haute, Indiana to attend college.
How To Indy, With Love was Born:
While studying sociology (the study of society) and anthropology (the study of culture) at Indiana State University, I created recreation opportunities for high school and college students. The goal: Reduce drop out rates in the rural town. One day while canoeing in Turkey Run park, a mentee began unexpectedly sharing deeply personal things that led to an had an "aha!" moment.
I suddenly realized people share best, when they are having fun connecting with another human . Not when they are being asked to be vulnerable or learn. So I began working to help unique people in communities across North America connect socially and emotionally, with interactive activities, even in conflict and trauma.
Photos: 2014 adventure therapy on Lake Michigan in Chicago
I became a therapist to understand the neuroscience behind the experiences I was creating. I was curious about why our brains allow us to become more vulnerable during recreation.
I learned, fun thoughtful recreation, can re-wire traumatized and chronically stressed brains. When we are playing our brains tell us "I am safe,” so it is easier and more enjoyable for many people to learn new emotional skills and demonstrate social talents. Being happy and relaxed also can make people more open to work on the personal challenges that matter to them.
Photos: 2011 Hiking with Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood students
After earning a master's degree in social work from The University of Chicago I decided to keep focusing on adventure. With recreation in mind, I redesigned programs about violence, college admission, trauma therapy and female entrepreneurship by making them fun from the perspective of the participants as the experts.
Earning a clinical license to diagnose and treat mental health experiences allowed me to dig deeper into providing social and emotional health knowledge with recreation, laughter and self acceptance.
In 2016 To Indy, With Love was created with the belief that Indy people are socially and emotionally unique, connected and worth investment.
Places touched by To Indy, With Love’s Work in 2 Years:
Conor Prairie Interactive History Museum, WomIN’s Fest, Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis, Good Grief Now, Vanguard Collegiate Charter School, The Church Within, gRoE Inc., Heal Thy Self, Food Love Tog, The J2 Collection, Mayasa Design House, Photanical, Southeast Community Services, Good Earth Radio, Hot 96.3, Carmel Recreation Center, Rabble Coffee, Future Friends Gallery, Gluestick Zine Festival, Boys & Girls Club of Indiana (Youth of the Year), Flanner House, NCAA Hall of Champions.