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 Jamie Pettit
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From: Friday, December 8, 2017 9:35 AM -0500
Subject:Healthy Minds at Egremont
On Wednesday, November 29, 2017, Egremont Community School in Holstein hosted a "Healthy Minds" parent engagement event. The evening began with keynote speaker, Josh Yandt, who spoke to a packed gymnasium about his experiences with bullying and how he was able to change his life through one simple act.  Following Josh’s talk, parents were taken back to their children’s classrooms to engage in activities prepared by the students and their teachers.  These included literacy activities, compliment circles, shared reading, soup making (and eating) math games, and even a math problem solving escape room!  The resonating message of the evening was that a healthy mind comes from engagement in many things, such as good nutrition, self-regulation, physical activity, shared learning, challenging the brain, and most of all, a positive outlook.  

Image of Josh Yandt speaking to a crowd in the Egremont Community School gymnasium Josh Yandt Biography (submission)

Josh Yandt was bullied for years. After his father passed away, he became even more depressed and anxious.  He lost all hope.  Feeling invisible and unwanted, Josh’s family moved and he started at a new high school. Going to a new high school he wanted things to be different.  On his first day at this new school, he mustered all of his courage and decided to make a change in his life by finding one gesture of kindness he could do over and over again. He decided to hold doors for classmates.  Day after day, he held doors open in the morning, at lunch, and after school.

At first, his classmates thought he was strange, but he stuck with it.  Eventually, the other students grew to love Josh and his gesture of opening doors for others.  Josh was a genuinely kind person and it showed.  For the first time in his life, classmates were nice to him and he was treated with respect.  He wasn’t invisible any more.  Opening doors made the bullying stop.  His gesture of kindness, as simple as it was, changed him and it started to change others too!  He found purpose, meaning, and a sense of belonging.  Josh wants to help you find your gesture of kindness too.