By Melissa Wagoner
Jenifer Trivelli has always been interested in what makes people tick, especially kids.
“That led me to neuroscience,” Trivelli said. “And then, pairing that together with childhood development led me to counseling.”
Initially working as an elementary school counselor, Trivelli left that vocation when she became a mom.
“I wanted to start my own thing,” she recalled. And WiseMind Educational Services was born.
Working as a consultant for the past 12 years, Trivelli has taught parents, educators and professionals working with children how to help kids regulate their emotions. She has also authored two books – one a guidebook for children, the other a guide for teens – and become an expert in social emotional education.
“We offer evidence-based guidance for a new generation of parents and educators who sometimes feel lost on the journey of raising today’s kids,” Trivelli wrote on the WiseMind website. “These folks want specific, targeted information and tools to support their children’s growth into happy, healthy, responsible, and connected adults.”
And that’s what WiseMind continues to offer, albeit on a relatively small scale and largely to those who can afford the private consultation fees.
“But other people need services too,” Trivelli pointed out.
Which is why, three years ago, when she met Shea Watkins – a former K-12 educator turned mindfulness and movement guru and owner of Rooted Resilience – she jumped at the chance to try something new.
“Shea’s focus is bringing in nature elements and creative elements and my bridge is the neuroscience,” Trivelli said of the partnership. “It’s having that balance that everything doesn’t need to be data-driven and explained.”
Working together this past summer the duo provided a series of retreats for kids that taught skills like autonomy, using nature as a co-regulator and mindful awareness while at the same time allowing them to take part in art, games and journaling – often at no-cost to parents thanks to a series of grants.
“It [filled] a happy place in our hearts to offer that,” Trivelli said.
But the number of children the camps could serve was still relatively small. So, it was with an immense amount of joy that they created another program, one that will provide social-emotional education directly to students inside classrooms.
“We’re excited to be invited to that conversation and to be where the kids are,” Trivelli said.
Currently serving students of all ages across the entire Salem-Keizer School District as well as in the Community Roots School in Silverton, the eight-week series of classes will teach students about the connection between emotions and the body and offer them concrete methods of self-regulation.
“Our mission is [to provide] these tools for every kid who wants them,” Trivelli said.
And that’s not all, the pair also aims to work with parents – especially moms.
“We’re hoping to start impacting our community,” Trivelli explained. “And I can’t think of a more important way to impact the community than through the moms.”
Scheduled for Jan. 14 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Gratitude Yoga in Silverton, the next “Mini Retreat for Moms” will allow a group of around 14 participants to create connection through the sharing of stories and learn functional self-care practices through gentle movement.
“We appreciate the whole spectrum, from introvert to extrovert…” Trivelli said, describing their target audience as, “moms who need space to come home to themselves in community” and “who know they need to carve time for themselves but don’t know how to.”
It’s a retreat for moms but it will benefit the entire family – children included, Watkins predicted.
“I think of it like Russian nesting dolls, or these ever-widening circles,” Watkins described. “It’s healing to be together and then bring that back to your family.”
Because just as “you can’t have a stressed educator in a stressed system teaching self-regulation,” a stressed parent is less effective at teaching self-regulation as well.
“We each have a nervous system and our community creates a nervous system,” Trivelli explained. “We’re hoping to impact the collective nervous system and create space.”
WiseMind Educational Services
Retreats for Moms
Jan. 14, April 8, 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
209 West C St., Silverton
Retreat Weekend for Moms
May 20 and 21
Confluence Arts Center, Scotts Mills.
Summer 2023 Kids Retreats