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the gift of nurturing

it was one year ago when we launched JUSTtouch at the Charles Porter Recreation Center for the Golden Gate District Community Holiday Party. soon after the world would face multiple crises. like everyone, out of these challenges we have had to evolve and build determination and wellness in virtually everything we do. deep down we can still remain calm in all this chaos, and support each other in solidarity and wellness. we call it medicinecrew.

we've been concerned about disturbing evidence of toxic stress for a long time. we were lucky to fit in a lecture by California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris right before the shut down. nurturing support is the solution for reducing chronic stress and the trauma and resulting disease from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). the facts are clear. we need to be nurtured and nurture to heal. not long after we joked at our new moniker: nurturenauts.

the healing industry needs to go beyond weathering this crisis by developing new strategies for stress reduction and care. it could take many forms, for example becoming penpals with veteran shut ins, or in senior apartments, or prisons. it could be creating a block by block phone tree for emergencies. it might be dropping off bags of groceries to neighbours in need. no longer can we simply say massage. we best serve each other in providing nurturants promptly and consistently and in more ways and why's.

as hosts in your community healing home, we happily report some of our COVID support programs and initiatives:

  • shared weekly streaming Facebook de-stress sessions livestreams

  • advised first responders and frontline workers how to manage stress and trauma

  • became a Resilient HUB with the NorCal Resilience Network

  • launched JUSTfood, organised community gardening day, distributed seedlings, and collaborated with Resilent Network partners to deliver fresh juices and food boxes to neighbours in need

  • expanded our medicinecrew, enlisting peer-based, PTSD, restorative justice, and other healing specialists, building critical “Inner Resilience” resources

  • we took Hard Conversations: Whiteness, Race, and Social Justice with Victor Lee Lewis and grappled together around dismantling white supremacy sharing articles, videos, films resources and real conversations

  • as soon as we were allowed, reinstated JUSTtouch-hosted community hours outside each Tuesday and served fifty patrons with Aunti Frances and Momii Palapaz of the Self Help Hunger Program and the TUEgetherness crew at Driver Plaza Memorial Orchard just a mile from tRx

  • joined the North Oakland Restorative Justice Council and Northwest Oakland Mutual Aid homeless encampment distribution efforts and raised funds, provided and sorted donations, packed supplies, hot meals and hygiene kits for 500 unhoused community members in North Oakland

while we can't practice massage outside at this time with the new county rulings, (we are allowed medical and therapeutical referrals and treatments inside) each week community groups and volunteers still provide fresh produce, bags of supplies, a hearty meal, fresh water, clean socks, live music and COVID safe social support with Self Help Hunger at Driver Plaza. special thanks to our former National Holistic Institute extern Marvin Ortiz, our colleague Michael Hui, trained at the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences, and Keneda Gibson, a recertifying practitioner and Resilient Hub friend; all volunteered to practice with us. a massage chair or two, mats and even therapeutic foot baths, sharing TUEgetherness, providing pointers on how to go about caring for each and folks at a distance, or at home. we look forward to returning as soon as we can.

Self Help Hunger Program and the North Oakland Restorative Justice Council (NORJC). are initiatives of Oakland Communities United for Equity and Justice (OCUEJ)--a collaboration of grass roots organizations dedicated to supporting the homeless and disenfranchised. we are helping to provide immediate shelter and other basic needs for unhoused single mothers, elders and other high risk indifviduals and families. Eugenia was delighted to be elected to the OCUEJ Board and serves as Treasurer.

as a social-venture enterprise, your patronage is critical to our mission. it not only sustains your well-being but it underwrites our community outreach. we ask our supporters and friends to stand with us and give the gift of nurturing:

until then, thank you, be well and happy holidays!

Eugenia Bowman, MS

Kampol Crews, CMT


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