E Komo Mai! Welcome to my blog.

I'm delighted that you dropped in! E Komo Mai: WELCOME! This blog is basically an online visual journal is modeled after a concept I learned of in psychology 101... waaaaaaay back in college. That concept was somewhere in the chapter on The Significance of Dreams, where it mentioned someone's theory on dreaming about a house usually means that the house represents you. So I have used my actual house (Mauna Lea Manor) to structure my blog. In different rooms you will find different aspects of my life; different interests I like to blog about. This is a way to bring a little organization into my life and thoughts for myself... (dreams are in The Bedroom, Family updates are in The Living room, etc.)
This also, I would imagine, make reading this blog more convenient for you as well. If you are a grandparent interested in seeing photos and hearing stories about my boys, but maybe not so interested in my bellydancing obsession: you can just read what goes on in The Playground. But if you are an Art Collector more interested in my latest work and information on collecting, but not especially interested in my personal life: you'd enjoy The Office. Mauna Lea Manor is sort of the foyer to all the other rooms. If you would like to tour my online portfolio, please visit: www.stephaniebolton.com.
I hope you enjoy your time here ;) & continue to stop by!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Incense ...a SEEDs program

"Seeds is comparable to a full course meal. You have your appetizer, your entrée, and most of all you have your desserts. You appetizers come from the women introduced to you throughout the community. It gives you a start into the world ahead of what you see now. It gives you guidance and a place to start growing. Your entrée is the full art and beauty of belly dance. It is a unique opportunity and a great insight to something different, hopeful, beautiful and worthwhile. And finally, your desserts are the people around you sharing this one of a kind experience and they are the real relationships you build from this program. The Seeds program is sweet, satisfying and delicious, and by the end you are already ready for the next course."
~ Maria Heath, SEEDs graduate Class of 2009

bellydance class
... a SEEDs program (Self-esteem, Empowerment, & Education through Dance)

My name is Stephanie Bolton and I have recently been certified to teach a youth mentoring program for teens called SEEDs.  SEEDs is a unique after school offering that helps prepare young women to become contributing members to the fabric of their community by nurturing the skills they will need to be successful once independent.  

In very practical ways, the SEEDs program helps girls blossom into responsible, stable, resourceful young adults by teaching them to respect & appreciate their own bodies, by giving them awareness of their finances, and helping them to be successful at setting and achieving goals.  Of course beyond the good these skills can do for our community, the personal implications of empowering each individual girl by giving them a safe & compassionate place to grow is the largest contribution this program has to offer. 

This program changes lives.  Many teenagers from every cultural, racial, and economic class find themselves feeling very alone during these formative years.  Ask the teens around you what there is to do in West Hawaii and they are likely to complain that there just isn't much to do.  Whether or not this is true, it is a common sentiment and as a result, more and more teens turn to drugs, drinking, sex, and crime to occupy them after school. This program is something that I felt I could offer teens as an alternative that is just "coyote" (as my teacher would say, meaning "edge-y") enough to attract them and hold their interest.

Here is what the program involves:

Learning to Dance
dance class
Girls receive the support and encouragement essential to building a healthy body image by learning a dance that wears beautifully on any body type.
American Tribal Style Dance is the dance that is taught in this class.  In American Tribal Style (ATS) each girl learns the same vocabulary of movement that she is then able to thread together in her own improvisational dance, leading her friends in a visually seamless "choreography" that is not choreographed at all.  Each girl learns to lead and to follow, making this activity the perfect non-competitive physical and mental challenge.
Girls experience all of the same character-building richness of engaging in a team sport without the competitive or aggressive environment.
This dance form has been known to increase
-Self Esteem
-Decision Making Skills
-Positive Body Image
-Body Awareness
-Respectfulness towards self & others
-Positive Attitude
  The great thing about this dance is that it is accessible to even the least athletic person but requires a physical strength and endurance that demands that girls care properly for their bodies to achieve the most gratifying results.  It a fantastic physical activity improving 
-cardiovascular & 
-circulatory function 
in the most graceful and elegant way possible.
 As my own personal contribution to the format of this program, I provide each girl with a belt that they adorn with ornamentation as they succeed at learning each family of movements.  This builds a visual sense of accomplishment that they can feel proud of as they are literally dressed with their success, very similar to the concept of receiving a badge of achievement in Girl Scouts.

Journaling & 
Talking Circle
talking circle
Girls learn to hear their own voice through journaling.  Then they learn to articulate their opinions and ideas in our talking circles that close each class.  
In this respectful environment, they know that they can feel safe to share their genuine hopes and fears.  It is here that the girls are able to realize that they are not alone, even if they disagree, they learn how to appreciate one another's opinions.  
Not only the facilitator but more importantly the girls themselves hold one another accountable to "live above the line" (a term developed early on when they decide what behaviors are "above the line": good & desirable in a person as opposed to "below the line": undesirable or negative behaviors.  Having the girls set the boundaries for acceptable & unacceptable behavior gives them more of an invested ownership in living according to those boundaries).
We discuss issues such as body image, what is art, what is community, how much does it cost to live independently, etc. 
We also discuss difficult issues like sex and drugs, things they may be afraid to ask their parents.  Here they can know their questions can be anonymous and receive a serious answer from experts on nutrition and health that are brought in to talk to the girls.
(if parents wish their daughters to not take part in these types of discussions, they can leave the room on these days)
"I wish someone had sat me down and went through all of these things with me before I left home."  The issues discussed are a reality check but the world doesn't have to be a big scary place; in a loving, helpful, kind way we show girls the challenges that exist and help them to consider how they are going to navigate through those challenges.  We don't want to hand them the answers- but provide a space for them to work through their options and come to intelligent conclusions, because if they can learn this skill, when they are out in the world on their own they will be equipped to succeed. 
"Give a man a fish and he eats for a day;
TEACH him to fish and he eats for the rest of his life."
-Indian Proverb

This program brings in several experts and professionals from our very own community to talk to the girls on several topics of interest, teaching girls how to resource the information they need to make intelligent decisions regarding their futures.

At the beginning of the program each girl is asked to select a personal goal she would like achieve and list any vocations of interest to her.
Throughout the course of the program, we bring in successful woman in our community who work in those fields of interest to come in and talk to the girls about what it is like to do this kind of work for a living.  They discuss the  requirements involved.  Some guest speakers even take special interest in helping to support individual girls interested in entering their line of work after graduation, so it is a great connection for the girls to make.
We also meet regularly with each girl individually concerning her personal goal and help her overcome the obstacles involved in seeing that goal through to fruition.
Goals can be anything that concerns the girls.  Some want to get an A in a difficult subject in school, others want to get a job, some want to finish a project like their first painting or book, or learn to sew their own clothes.  Each goal is very unique and helps each girl focus on her personal aspirations.
Each human being is so different from the next and it is really fantastic to be able to honor the individual by giving one-on-one special attention to each girl... she understands that is part of a group but also that we understand she is unique and want to see her develop and excel at her own unique talents- after all, we each have our own dance & if we don't dance it; no one else will.

"Comparing the SEEDs program to any physical possesion is an incredibly difficult task.  Its value exceeds all the stocks Google has to offer or the profits from every i pod ever sold.  Stocks can't give a scared little girl confidence or turn her into a beautiful young woman, and ipod profits are hardly capable of making friend for life relationships.  The closest I can come to a material possession that is on the same plane as SEEDs would have to be some exquisite, antique quilt, probably from the orient, with beautiful patterns hand embroidered into it in gold and silver thread. This quilt would be an heirloom, priceless and one of a kind, but one that you and your mother and father curled up in on those nights when the electricity went out and the rain was pounding outside and the only light was those of the dusty candles that your parents had lit.  It is impossibly warm for its light weight, and its touch and smell bring calmness and joy to even the most turbulent corners of your soul.  Your grandmother had it appraised thirty years ago, and the appraiser said that its extraordinary condition, total uniqueness, and devastating beauty made it impossible to price. And that was thirty years ago. 

The beauty of SEEDs is that it is not physical, but it has all of the qualities of the aforementioned fictional quilt, including the astronomical value.  It is an extraordinary program capable of changing lives and improving the world." 
~ Casey Casias, SEEDs graduate Class of 2005

CLICK on this photo to see a short video clip of an existing SEEDs program and hear first hand from girls & their parents about how life-changing SEEDs is for young women & their families.
What is so special about SEEDs?

Girls learn to be team players who can think critically on their feet, while creating music & breathtaking movement.  In this way, this program is very empowering. Their opinions are respected and they are encouraged to be the change that they want to see in the world.  

This program gives parents the support they so desperately need during this challenging time in a teenager's life.  This program gives girls a place to channel and release all of their excess energy and angst into flexibility, endurance, strength, and grace (both in a physical & emotional sense).  

And the best part is that girls LOVE it because they get to engage in something truly unique and special that is fun and motivating with other girls their own age.  They get to experience acceptance and know they belong in this intimate tribe of fellow dancers.  They know they are valuable, appreciated, and have the potential to be a very important contributor to the fabric of our community.  

Won't you be so generous & consider to help this program happen in our community?

... to be able to offer INCENSE: a SEEDs program 
on the Big Island 
for the 2011-2012 school year.

To begin offering INCENSE: a SEEDs program, we are looking for:

A Fiscal Sponsor
We are in need of a non-profit organization who would like to act as our fiscal sponsor so that if supporters would like to make a donation to the program or sponsor a girl, those contributers can receive a tax write-off for their generosity.  We would be appreciative for this service and understand that a fee may be required to maintain this relationship.  Your non-profit organization would be able to list our SEEDs program as one of your special projects for creating social change in the community.  If your non-profit organization would be interested in becoming a fiscal sponsor for this program or you would like to suggest an organization for us to contact, please emailmauna.lea.studios@gmail.com

A Program Location
In order to run this program, we will need a location to hold classes.  This location must be large enough for 25 students and 2-4 adults.  It must be available Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from either 3:30pm - 5:30pm or 4:00pm - 6:00pm throughout the months of September 2011 - May 2012.  If you have a location that can supply these needs or would like to suggest one that may, please email mauna.lea.studios@gmail.com

Donations of any amount are appreciated as we would like to see any girl who desires to be involved to be able to attend regardless of her personal ability to pay the fees required to run the program.  We would like to offer as many scholarships as possible to ensure that finances would not detour any girl from benefitting from this program.  It costs $2,212.00 per year for each girl to be a part of this program.  If you would like to sponsor one girl through this program, you can donate this amount.  Other donations that can be helpful are donations of products that we might be able to sell as a fundraising effort.  If you would like to hold an event or donate a percentage of sales from a specific service that you offer the community, these are other options.  Please inquire before making a donation of this nature to be certain that your donation can be applied to meet the criteria of our needs.  If you would like to make a donation or simply receive more information, please email mauna.lea.studios@gmail.com.

Teenage Girls (ages 15 - 18)
Obviously, this program is an outreach to the teen girls in our community.  So if you have a daughter, niece, friend, or student that you believe would benefit from this program, please contact us about your interest mauna.lea.studios@gmail.com.
The co-pay for one girl to complete the program is $200 per month.  This price includes her education, costume, and finger cymbals.  The program runs for 9 months (Sept - May) for 2 hours after school Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays (with the exception of school holidays & breaks).
This co-pay only covers a portion of the costs required to run this program but is greatly appreciated.
If you are able and would like to help make this program possible for other girls who cannotaffordthis co-pay, you can increase your monthly paymentfor anyamount to receive a tax-deductible receipt for the difference from our fiscal sponsor*

*we are still in need of a fiscal sponsor in order to make this possible
zillerzanbakabelly dance class

Stephanie Bolton - Incense facilitator 
I grew up in Kona graduating from Makua Lani Christian School in 1998 at the age of 16.  
I attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA & Istituto San Lodovico in Orvieto, Italy and
Stephanie Bolton with son, Journey
have received my BA in Fine Art.  I was a TA at Santa Barbara High School and Laguna Blanca High School.  
I work as a professional visual artist, art broker, and contributing writer for 'Fuse' magazine.
For 12 years I have practiced and studied a variety of ethnic dance and I have been teaching adult mixed level dance 
classes in West Hawaii for the last 2 years.
I have been happily married for 10 years and I am the mother of three young boys.  

In June of 2011, I traveled to Santa Fe, NM to attend SEEDs teacher training with program creator Myra Krien.  I received my certification to start & run my satellite SEEDs program: Incense.  

"Stephanie is a lovely, soulful dancer, phenomenal painter and a woman deeply committed to her family and the young women of her community" 
- Myra Krien, creator of SEEDs Program

You can reach

Stephanie Bolton
By phone: 808-854-1270
By fax: 808-329-5765

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