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Vicki Abadesco is the co-founder of Soul Shoppe, an organization that teaches empathy, anger management and peacemaking to school children and their adults with programs across the US, Canada, and Holland. Vicki is a fellow for the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT. She authored “Free to Be,” “Leadership: Truth or Dare” and “Mentor Magic” Activity cards, and co-authored “Cool Tools for Schools” an interactive curricula guide for teachers. Prior to co-founding Soul Shoppe in 2001, Vicki served as Program Supervisor for San Francisco Peer Resources, at SF Unified School District where she developed curricula still in use for core communication and conflict resolution.
Vicki has received numerous awards and accolades for her work including distinction from the ACLU, the San Francisco Board of Education, and San Francisco board of supervisors. Vicki has also worked with SuperCamp, an international educational summer camp program which introduces students to accelerated learning academic skills and life skills, and served on the Board of Directors for international bullying prevention organization Challenge Day. Vicki’s early work with teen violence prevention gave here the desire to reach kids earlier – in elementary school – to help them develop the resilience and self esteem they need to thrive.
Joseph Savage is the co-founder of Soul Shoppe where he has created and presented award-winning curricula for hundreds of thousands of students, teachers and parents. As a presenter, Joseph is known for his mastery facilitating safe and fun learning environments where students gain self-esteem, accelerate their learning processes, and where a culture of empathy becomes the norm. He co-authored “Cool Tools For Schools,” an interactive character education curriculum for teachers, and is currently writing and illustrating a series of children’s books on building character.
Prior to founding Soul Shoppe, Joseph was an elementary school teacher in San Francisco where he perceived the need to teach elementary school students empathy and peace-making skills. Joseph has received numerous accolades including awards from the ACLU, the San Francisco Board of supervisors, and the City of Dublin for his innovative work. In addition to his educational experience he has written, performed, and directed acclaimed theater productions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
If you really knew Joseph you would know…
What Joseph likes about himself is…
Melanie Hopson has enjoyed a variety of positions in nonprofit organizations, ecumenical settings, school districts, and city government. As a consultant to United Way of the Bay Area she is the project manager for a collective impact initiative that aims to cut poverty in half in the Bay Area by 2020. For 5 years she worked with San Francisco’s Department of Children, Youth, and their Families supporting city-wide child care, afterschool programming networks, family support programs, and professional development that trained youth workers in how to develop summer programs that would help prevent summer learning loss for students.
Melanie collaborated with the Children’s Aid Society to plan and deliver the first west coast conference of resources for the Community School movement. She has created and hosted many conferences, convenings, and resource fairs that put learning resources directly into the hands of parents and youth workers so they will benefit students.
Shawna Jones comes to Soul Shoppe with years of experience in office management, bookkeeping, and administrative roles. Her eagerness to take on new challenges with a smile is just one of the many positive contributions she brings to our office. Shawna excels most in positions that encourage creative input, teamwork and open communication.
She is thrilled to be working alongside others who feel as passionately as she does about helping to make the world a better place for everyone in it. In her free time, Shawna enjoys live music, cooking, the ocean, traveling, photography and being crafty.
Daniel Bruno was enjoying a successful sales career in 1999 when the tragedy in Columbine, CO happened. As the horrific event unfolded, news of the bullying that had taken place there started a national dialogue. It was then that Daniel had an epiphany. “All the feelings that I had repressed around my own experiences of being bullied in school came back to me and I realized for the first time in years how much bullying had affected me. It was right then that I knew something had to be done and I felt I had no choice but to get involved,” recalls Daniel.
Daniel immediately left his sales job and started working with elementary school students through an after school program called, Piedmont Performing Arts School. Drawing from his experiences as a young actor, Daniel taught performance skills and directed children’s plays. “Working with PPAS affirmed I was on the right track. I was able to help young people express their feelings in a positive way and the part-time work allowed me time to take classes on child psychology,” says Daniel. Two years later, Daniel met Joseph and Vicki, the founders of Soul Shoppe, through a mutual friend.
In 2004, Daniel joined Soul Shoppe as a program facilitator. Since then, he has shared his experiences as a survivor of bullying with well over 100,000 young people. Daniel says, “What gets me out of bed each and every day is the vision we share at Soul Shoppe of a bully-free world where everyone feels free to simply be themselves.” Daniel lives in Oakland (Go A’s!) with his wife and son and their dog, Ziggy Stardust.
If you really knew Daniel you would know…
What Daniel likes about himself is…
Amy MacClain is the Director of Special Projects for Soul Shoppe, and a licensed facilitator who has presented to over 100,000 students, teachers and parents. Amy has a BA in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego, and has done extensive post-graduate training in Re-Evaluation Counseling, Developmental Neuro-Science, Somatic Experiencing, Meditation and Social Justice. She has worked with and supported global organizations like The Pachamama Alliance and Music In Schools Today, consulting on projects and curriculum development.
Amy was also trained by Hand in Hand Parenting to teach Parenting By Connection, and co-founded a child care co-operative based on conscious intentional parenting, providing a supportive environment for parents to explore how they were parented in an effort to create the most nurturing and educational space for the entire community. She is also a singer/songwriter with over 20 years performing experience and multiple songwriting awards including West Coast Songwriters Best Lyric of the Year. She has performed on stage with Joan Baez, Arrested Development and many other talented musicians, and released several acclaimed original albums.
If you really knew Amy you would know…
What Amy likes about herself is…
Adhamh Hoeltzel is an educator and performer whose sights are set on opening minds and hearts. With his roots in social justice facilitation with youth, Adhamh’s paradigm-transforming aspirations have lead him to his current work with young people, challenging the social and emotional barriers that keep communities from being safe and strong for everyone.
Adhamh is an experienced facilitator, musician, actor, puppeteer, songwriter, screenwriter and curriculum developer. Among many things, Adhamh loves to whistle, water his houseplants, ride his bicycle, and do handstands (ask him to do one for you).
If you really knew Adhamh you would know…
What Adhamh likes about himself is…
Jared Maloney is dedicated to building positive healthy communities and increasing emotional awareness. Jared’s road to Soul Shoppe has been long, starting in London where he lived for twelve years and gained a Masters in Psychology, to his current pursuit of an MFT license attending John F. Kennedy University.
Jared’s experience working with children started with his first job, he was a child minder/babysitter during group meetings for battered women’s organizations. He later worked as a youth leader in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in Texas and in Jonesboro Arkansas. In the United Kingdom he toured with a company that brought educational theatre productions to schools. Jared is excited to be a member of Soul Shoppe, assisting in the positive transformation of our schools.
Rhyan Ramirez has over 15 years of experience doing volunteer work with teens in his community in many capacities from peer leader, young adult leader to youth minister. He is also a youth motivational speaker helping teens understand the value of having healthy relationships in their lives. Based on Rhyan’s personal life experiences, his mission is to help kids with their relationships with their friends, their parents and relatives and with themselves. Rhyan takes a different approach and looks inward to see how the kids are doing inside, helping them understand their behavior, which is what really attracted him to the Soul Shoppe program.
Rhyan also comes with 10 years of experience as a Psychiatric Technician in the Mental Health field. Rhyan really enjoys traveling with his wife, spending time with his family and friends, taking his boxer puppy Roxie to the park, doing Crossfit and Olympic weightlifting.
Mark Zoidis has spent over 20 years working in financial services in many capacities including private equity, institutional bond sales, product development, most of the time as an advisor and broker in the area of “Socially Responsible Investing.” He was a financial advisor for Progressive Asset Management for over a decade where he co-founded the managed money division which accounted for the majority of the firm’s assets.
Since leaving Progressive, Mr. Zoidis has managed an independent advisory business and worked with private equity and strategic planning with socially progressive and ecologically oriented companies. Mark has a B.A. in Economics from Haverford College and has studied at the Wharton School and Harvard University.
Lakenda Wallace is a marketing professional with years of experience with graphic arts and copywriting. Her business approach was balanced with more than 15 years experience as a Reiki Master Teacher and Meditation Coach. She also co-wrote an online stress management program and facilitated live stress management trainings for businesses and government agencies. Soul Shoppe is the coming together of two worlds — healing and marketing. “My skills are aligned and purposed to support my beliefs and what feels like an urgent need to create more empathy and compassion in a world that glorifies the opposite.”