My professional life has been greatly shaped and inspired by my daughter, Alexandra. 

 

Alexandra was born with a severe disability at a time when there were few services and little information for families. When Alexandra was two years old, I became part of a state-wide effort to create peer support organizations for families who had a child with a disability. To ensure Miami families would benefit, I founded the non-profit organization, Parent to Parent of Miami, Inc. In my role, there as Founder & President, I developed and facilitated numerous support, education, and parent empowerment programs. To be more effective, I attended Harvard University’s executive leadership education program. The Harvard faculty invited me to return the following year to provide peer support to their new participants. 

 

I have always been committed to excellence and involved in systems change. When Alexandra was young, I mobilized hundreds of families around Florida and together we were instrumental in passing early intervention legislation, bringing in millions of dollars for babies at risk of developmental delays.  Much later, I was a consultant to assist with the development of an early intervention accountability instrument to measure the degree to which states were involving families in their programs. That experience taught me the importance of rigorous program evaluation. It also gave me the opportunity to work side-by-side with one of the country’s leading experts in measurement, William Fisher, PhD and his colleague Donna Surges Tatum, PhD. They are now outside evaluators for my own workshops and services—measuring the degree to which my work reduces stress and anxiety and increases mindfulness and joyfulness

 

The death of my daughter in 1996 at the age of 12 was excruciatingly painful. It was an experience I am just now able to fully reflect upon which I describe in my upcoming book, News From Oz. It was in my state of shock and deep grief that I developed one of my most significant curriculums, Understanding A Family’s Perspective. For 10 years, I groomed hundreds of pediatric residents to work effectively with children with special health care needs and their families. The curriculum taught grief and loss, delivering diagnostic news, key legislation, systems of care, and resources for families.

 

In 2007, I disconnected from the world I knew. I journeyed into the spiritual world where I continued my own healing process by going inward. In my journey, I connected with the divine part of myself – a part of myself that I never knew. This has given me tremendous peace and personal freedom. I experience a level of joy that I never knew was possible. From this place of connectedness, my intuitive gifts evolved. I was fortunate to receive excellent training through the Four Winds Society and other organizations, becoming certified as a Light Body energy practitioner. My intuitive gifts and deep understanding of energy medicine guide and direct all my program offerings.

PAULA'S STORY

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​© 2019 Paula Petry PhD