Vicki Abadesco is the co-founder of Soul Shoppe, an organization that teaches empathy, anger management and peacemaking to school children and their adults. 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." Prior to co-founding Soul Shoppe in 2001, Vicki served as a a program supervisor for San Francisco Peer Resources, at SF Unified School District. She was a crisis intervention specialist (conflict resolution/violence prevention), teaching high school students to be peer advocates. Working with teens gave Vicki the desire to reach kids earlier - in elementary school - to help them develop the resilience and self esteem they need to thrive.
As for what inspires her to tackle bullying and empathy-building, vicki says: ~As a kid, i didn't have the emotional resources or tools to manage the conflicts and fighting that occurred in our home, so I often felt afraid, confused and hopeless. As I grew into young adulthood I realized these tools were essential to having the happy life I wanted. Right out of college I worked in my first school teaching life skills to a group of "at-risk" students and 30 years later I'm teaching those same skills in different and even more effective ways. I know these tools would have helped me and given me hope as a kid who really struggled at home. I have made it my life's work to bring these important skills to as many schools and kids possible.