by Adrienne Barker, member of the SkillCorps DR Oct. 2016 team

Mindfulness has been a big word floating in my head not only in the last year, but most recently the last few days while going on my trip with Skill Corps.  Sometimes I can have the tendency to be a procrastinator, but I feel that I am really able to use that to my advantage.  I use it to be able to take a step back frequently and absorb my surroundings and hypothesize different circumstances much more before I am able to make a decision and act on it.  I have had so many different ideas, including many that were similar to the team.  It comes into perspective when our collaborative team has been able to initially observe the staff at Aprendo in the Dominican Republic, and come together with ideas and plans for directions to go into, whereas the clinical staff may have other ideas.

Mindfulness also came up within our conversation at dinner this evening, primarily in regards to listening and speaking with more intention.  We have been unintentionally practicing at times already, but the idea came into play about being more mindful during large group conversations and discussing only one topic at a time over dinner and seeing where it would take us.  When dinner arrived, certain smaller conversations began and I immediately noticed I was engaging in one as well.  I didn’t want to be rude and cut the other speaker off, but we were mostly aware that within a two minute window we had all digressed.

I think that taking the same idea when going into group conversations with the staff at Aprendo is incredibly important as well.  When there are so many different ideas at the table, being respectful of one idea at a time working towards a goal can be incredibly more productive than several scattered all around that can make less progress.

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I came across SkillCorps initially back in March when I had many things going on in my life that I could not settle on.  I decided to put forth my effort into one that I knew I could be passionate about and I am so happy with my decision.  Having the focus and attention here to work together towards common goals has been amazing, especially knowing what an amazing experience it is for not only the team but the staff and children we have been able to interact with.  It has only been two days in the center, and I cannot wait to see how the rest of the trip is going to work out.

Side note…. We lost power for part of the day today.  To be honest, I only noticed after the fact because the room started getting too hot with no working air conditioning.  My priorities were focused on the interactions between staff and student within the room and not the environment and how it may have been affecting myself.  Could have been worse, but I am okay with it not turning out that way.  It is always part of the adventure.

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