Vira Salzburn is the Program Director for Safety and Resilience programs at Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council, Inc. She is a Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) Trained Teacher, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) Master Trainer, SafeTALK Trainer, Certified Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness (TSM) and Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TSY) Instructor, and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and Community Resiliency Model (CRM)® Facilitator. Vira earned a Master of Science degree in Management, Organizational Behavior and Leadership from Troy University and a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in Humanities from Auburn University at
Montgomery. Vira is a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® with Project Management Institute (PMI). She is also a certified Group Fitness Trainer and Group Yoga Instructor with Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).
Vira is the developer of the upstream suicide prevention approach that uses Mindful-Self Compassion programming for building resilience and enhancing emotional wellbeing.
Vira is a public speaker on suicide prevention, mindfulness and self-compassion, and has presented at multiple local, state and national conferences and symposia.
As a Ukrainian-American and a world traveler, Vira recognizes the importance of overcoming cultural barriers and connecting with others for making a meaningful difference on personal, organizational, and community levels. Since moving to the U.S. in 2007, Vira has had the honor of volunteering as an interpreter and a liaison between Ukrainian orphaned children and American adoptive families, which has greatly impacted her perception of compassion and servanthood and helped her better understand the true meaning behind the idea of “changing the world one life at a time”.
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Amanda Meyer is the Yoga and Mindful Self-Compassion instructor at Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council, Inc. She is an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) helper. Amanda is a Master of Clinical Social Work candidate from Boston University, graduating in May 2022. She received her Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Outdoor Education and Recreation from the University of Minnesota Duluth. She has experience working in wilderness therapy.
Amanda is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) specializing in trauma-informed yoga with adults and children. She is a Certified Trauma Informed Yoga for Youth Teacher, Certified Childlight Children’s Yoga Teacher, and Mindful Awareness Practitioner with UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.
Amanda is currently the Mindfulness and Yoga teacher with Loop it Up Savannah, serving Juliette Low Elementary School. Amanda teaches yoga, mindfulness and self-compassion with the desire to give people the tools to enhance their ability to empower themselves and change their story for the better.
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Jess Matthewson is the Youth to Adult Program Manager for Gateway Community Service Board and represents Gateway as a Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) Trained Teacher. Jess holds a Masters in Criminal Justice from Boston University, is a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Professional, and received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Daniel Webster College. As the Youth to Adult Program Manager, Jess is able to work with youth and families throughout Chatham and Effingham Counties to assist in accessing mental health resources and supports as well as creating and implementing programming to address gaps and barriers for these individuals.
Jess is passionate about addressing the needs of our community by addressing and preventing trauma for its most vulnerable population, our youth. Through MSC, Jess is able to introduce techniques and tools for youth and youth serving adults that are trauma responsive and healing in a manner many have not been able to try before. It is her hope that through this work we may heal the children we serve, heal the child within us all, and prevent future traumas for generations of children to come.
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Fausta Luchini became a Whole Person Certified Coach in December, 2018, bringing over 20 years experience as a therapist to this new adventure. As a therapist, she worked primarily with people who experienced lots of trauma in childhood, or ACEs, Adverse Childhood Experiences. She learned ways to help her clients work through the lingering impact of trauma on their lives and her clients helped her understand their pathways to healing. She is deeply grateful for the people who shared their experiences with her, and awed at the strength and resilience of her clients. She brings a trauma sensitive lens to her work as a consultant and coach. You may learn more about Fausta’s private practice at faustasplacetoponder.com.
She began practicing mindfulness and teaching the practice to her clients in 2007, but really fell in love with Mindful Self-Compassion taking a class with Vira Salzburn in 2019. She continues to use this practice with her coaching clients, and is in the last stage of becoming a trained teacher.
Fausta moved to Savannah, Georgia in 2017, following her dream to live near the ocean. She lives in a multi-generational home with her life partner, Dennis, her daughter, two grandchildren, and a cat.
Hannah Neal served as an Americorps VISTA at Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council, Inc. from 2019 to 2020. After completing her VISTA service at the Planning Council, Hannah has continued to provide training and workshops in suicide prevention, mindfulness, and self-compassion in Savannah and Chatham County. She is a Mindful Self-Compassion Instructor, Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Instructor, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) helper, and Crisis Counselor through Crisis Text Line. Hannah received her Master’s of Social Work degree from the University of Houston. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University. Hannah has a wealth of experience working with survivors of interpersonal violence and providing individual counseling to clients at Savannah Counseling Services. She encourages individuals to discover their full potential through mindfulness and self-compassion practices.
Hannah presented at the 2019 Southeastern Behavioral Health Schools Conference, 2019 Georgia Suicide Prevention Conference, and 2020 Savannah-Chatham County Public School System Violence Prevention Conference. Her focus is on preventing suicide through both educational and resiliency-building trainings.
“A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day.
A string of such moments can change the course of your life.”