Happy Thanks Giving!!

By | Uncategorized


Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to
recognize how good things really are. –
Marianne Williamson  

With great joy, Soul Shoppe is taking the time to count our blessings.

We are thankful for all our students who practice I Messages and Clean Ups.  Expressing our needs and telling someone we are sorry for something we did are some of the hardest conversations to have, and they do it boldly every day.

We are thankful for all our schools’ administrative staff and teachers who have brought Soul Shoppe into their classrooms through daily practice. We are thankful for all the adults who help our kids choose empathy over hate.

We are thankful for all our donors, who help us bring more communication and conflict resolution skills to schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and nationally. The time, money and effort they give to Soul Shoppe helps us serve thousands of kids.  With their support we are shaping the next generation of emotionally intelligent leaders.

We are thankful for our Soul Shoppe staff! These lovely humans have dedicated themselves to bringing more light into the world. Facilitators go out to schools, teaching tools and encouraging students and school staff to be their best selves. Our administrative staff cheerfully answers phones and questions, working tirelessly to advance the Soul Shoppe cause. These bright, engaging, fabulous people could be working anywhere, but they are here–working hard for schools, teachers, parents, kids and each other because they believe in the Soul Shoppe mission.

Honestly, our Soul Shoppe hearts are full with gratitude. Thank you ALL for the love and support, the willingness and commitment, the creativity and the compassion, and most of all for believing in a vision of a world that celebrates empathy over divisiveness and communication over aggression.


What’s Up at Soul Shoppe:
We are Building an APP


At Soul Shoppe, we are always working to deliver better programming to kids, school staff and parents. We want to find more ways to push communication over exclusion and conflict resolution over aggressive behavior. With that in mind, we have started to build the first app designed to help our kids become emotionally intelligent leaders of the next generation.  This app will help kids identify and regulate their emotions. In our school programming, this would support the lessons on “The Balloon” from the Check In workshop.

The Balloon is a metaphorical place inside of ourselves where we stuff down all the “not nice” emotions we don’t want to or we don’t know how to deal with: anger, sadness, loneliness, etc. But, like a real balloon, there is only so much room to push into before consequences are felt. With our metaphorical balloon, feelings may leak out in ways that look like mean comments, aggressive behavior, etc.  Bullying behaviors usually indicate that a person has a full balloon and hurt feelings that have not been addressed.

The Soul Shoppe Balloon app will give kids the opportunity to identify how they are feeling in the moment to stop and breath and then to choose an activity that will allow them to empty their balloon in a healthy way, i.e. drawing, singing, walking, exercise, etc.

The Tech: We have gathered and created artwork, designed a user interface (UI) and are prepared to start the actual building of the app.  All of these accomplishments are thanks to the help of Micah Russo and Amit Mukherjee who donated their time, talents and expertise to get us to the next level on this project.

The Need: We need a mobile app developer who can build an iOS and/or Android App. It is an interactive app for 6-12 year olds.   The scope of work is a small educational game. There is an existing art style and prototype click-through to use as a baseline, although, we welcome creative collaboration.

The Soul Shoppe program has been in use for 16 years with over 100,000 students internationally and we are interested in the long-term development of this app.   Please contact us if you have the time, interest, inclination or funding to make this hand-held version of Soul Shoppe available to kids around the world.

People Are Saying:
Soul Shoppe “…is ingrained in them.”


Sometimes Impact is seen immediately in the classroom and sometimes we hear about positive impact years later.  Both are rewarding.  This is the story of love reaching through a cellphone to say, “Thank You! You made a difference.” 

Letter From a Parent:

Hi there Randy,

We met today at Marylin Elementary during the Soul Shoppe assembly. I wanted to share a story with you about my daughter who is 13 years old and in the 7th grade. She had Soul Shoppe at her school when she was in 3rd, 4th and 5th, and I wanted to tell you it has stayed with her to this day.

She was upset with her friend last month and she was writing a text to her one evening. She spent quite some time on the text and rereading it before she hit send. I asked her if everything was OK and she said, “I want to make sure I am not blaming her and that I am only talking about my feelings.” I was impressed with the text and the way she had used the “I Message.” When her friend texted back I was just as impressed with her response. It was completely “The Clean Up.”

The fact that it is so ingrained in them and their dealings with one another is a total testament to the program, the teachings and you as a leader.

Thank you for caring so much about the youth of today and doing the work that is required to set good examples for children!!!


TOGETHER. A Space to Come Together.


Bill Baren, long-time supporter of Soul Shoppe, offers heart-centered entrepreneurs a new co-working space to allow ease of collaboration and cross-promotion. Now, instead of working alone at home or side-by-side with strangers at the nearest Starbucks, solo-practitioners can work out of the new Bill Baren co-work space, Together.

The space at 3601 San Pablo Avenue, Emeryville, CA is not only beautiful, but is compassion and generosity in action. Bill has offered to donate a portion of revenue generated by the new space to Soul Shoppe, to further our mission of creating an empathy-driven, bully free world.

For more information contact Bill Baren’s offices directly at 415-362-8502 (9am – 5pm PST, Monday through Friday) or via email at wecare@billbaren.com.

We are so grateful for Bill Baren Coaching and Together team management and staff. There is no better time to come Together.



5 Everyday Strategies for Practicing Gratitude

St Valentine's day greeting card with candle and hearts

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received.
Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling.
Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.
Henry Van Dyke

1. Start with Gratitude. In the morning before you get out of bed, remind yourself of three  things that bring joy to your life.

2. Pay It Forward. Tell someone why they are a wonderful addition to your life.  Reflect on someone who really helped you level up as a person.

3. Appreciate the Silver Linings. Life gets tough. Take a moment to look at the messy bits and journal, (a) what’s the problem, (b) what did you learn through the tribulations, (c) what is the take away of hard-earned knowledge that you will use in the future?

4. Thank the Invisibles. In our society some people do the hard-work behind the scenes. Today, say thank you to the barista, the person cleaning the office/school, and even the IT guy in the back keeping your servers up and running. Everyone likes to be seen.

5. Be Thankful for the Mundane. Whether doing the dishes or walking the dog, everyday chores are an opportunity to create mindful moments. Make your next repetitious, mundane task into an opportunity to express gratitude.

Admin Needed for Heart-Centered Office

By | Uncategorized

Administrative Assistant Job Description

Soul Shoppe supports school communities by providing social-emotional learning
programs and tools that teach students powerful learning & life skills. In addition to
working with students, we also support staff by creating and facilitating dynamic
staff development trainings that give teachers the necessary tools to implement
academic and personal growth.

The Soul Shoppe office is a fast-moving, friendly, communicative environment. With a staff
of 20-25 people, Soul Shoppe requires an Administrative & Marketing 
Assistant to support
the Office Manager in meeting needs of our staff, facilitators and schools.

Key Roles of the Administrative Assistant:

 Counting & bundling program supplies once received from printer.
 Packing supplies for each school 1x/month for ALL facilitators.
 Maintaining inventory of supplies, anticipating and communicating supply needs to
Office Manager in a timely fashion so they can be ordered.
 Maintain office cleanliness- trash & recycling removal, vacuuming, watering
plants, dishes, general upkeep.
 Logistics and planning- assist Office Manager with SS events.
 Data entry- updating various spreadsheets and Salesforce as needed.
 Website and online software maintenance (1shoppingcart, Vertical
 Package and ship out online product orders.
 Order or pick up office supplies as needed.
 Google maintenance- setup/troubleshoot employee email accounts, and maintain calendar backup.
 Post office runs and other misc. errands as assigned.
 Simple graphic design of documents, flyers, PowerPoint presentations.
 Post content on social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest).


o Impeccable attention to detail
o Proficient with Google calendar, Gmail, Google Docs, etc.
o Ability to use Microsoft (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
o Experience with Photo Shop, In Design or other graphic software knowledge
o Consistent, dependable, and punctual.
o An attitude that enjoys and sees the value in supporting other staff members.
o Friendly and willing to communicate questions and needs.
Compensation and Hours:

30 hours a week, $16.00 per hour

Please send your resume as a Word or PDF attachment to: shawna@soulshoppe.com
Please be sure to write “Soul Shoppe Administrative Assistant” in the subject
*In your email, please let us know why you think you’d be a good fit for this position,
and when you’re available for an in-person interview. We are looking to fill this
position as soon as possible. Thank you for your interest, have a beautiful day!

Big-Hearted Revolution Starts Today!!! VOTE.

By | Bullying, Prevention, Uncategorized

 VOTE TODAY to join the Big-Hearted Revolution!

Spread the message of empathy and understanding! We can create a Big-Hearted Revolution by voting for Vicki Abadesco to speak at Wisdom 2.0. It is more than a talk. It is an EXPERIENCE!

Vicki is one of the Founders of Soul Shoppe, a non-profit focused on teaching social-emotional learning and conflict resolution in elementary and middle schools. Through Wisdom 2.0, Vicki will give leaders and changemakers the Soul Shoppe interactive, immersive experience.

Give Wisdom 2.0 conference goers the EXPERIENCE of EMPATHY. Understand what is blocking us from treating each other with kindness and compassion every day.





October is National Bullying Prevention Month

By: Kelly Rafferty, Ph.D, Soul Shoppe Curriculum Writer

moviebullies(Movie Meanies: Biff of Back to the Future (left), Regina George, Mean Girls (center), Francis, PeeWee’s Big Adventure)

Did you have a favorite movie bully when you were a kid?  Mine was Francis from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985).  I also loved to root against Biff from Back to the Future (1985) and Mean Girls’  Regina George (2004).  I could watch Pee-wee and Michael J. Fox and Lindsay Lohan outwit their tormentors day after day.  The real-life bullying at my school was less theatrical but more effective.  By the time middle school rolled around, kids were transferring to other schools to escape the social isolation exacted on them by people who were their best friends only months before.  The teachers and staff knew it was happening, but they couldn’t stop it.

The ubiquity of bullying on-screen and off can invite us adults to minimize the behavior.  We may be tempted to characterize it as one of those unavoidable parts of childhood, to simply tell a hurting student, “It gets better.”  Or, like my middle school teachers, we may recognize the severity of the problem and still not know what to do about it.

In the face of this seemingly intractable problem, PACER, an organization dedicated to supporting the parents and families of children with disabilities, designated October National Bullying Prevention Month back in 2006.  For 10 years, schools and communities across the country have been rallying their support, awareness, and resources around preventing bullying and making schools safer for all kids.  Soul Shoppe is proud to be part of this nationwide movement and we’re here to offer three strategies we’ve found to be most effective in our 16 years of working with schools to end bullying.

  1. Understand what bullying is and how it hurts students. At Soul Shoppe we focus on bullying as a behavior instead of using the term “bully” to describe a person.  Bullying is typically repeated, intentional, aggressive behavior.  It can be physical, verbal, or relational and can take place inside school, online, or at home.  Because the students doing the bullying often have more social or physical power, their targets are more likely to be members of socially marginalized groups such as racial and religious minorities, LGBTQIA+ students, and students with disabilities.  Bullying can have serious and long-lasting effects including lower educational performance, decreased self-esteem and self-worth, and impaired mental health.
  1. Practice empathy and allyship.
    In our allyship workshop, I’ve Got Your Back, we practice noticing what it feels like to be in someone else’s shoes.  How does your classmate feel when someone makes a joke about their walk day after day?  How does it feel to have your name purposefully mispronounced just because it’s unusual to someone else?  We also ask, “What can you do to help?” and give students the tools to stand up for their classmates and insist that we don’t bully at our school.  Every student learns that they have the power to make a difference in their community and they can ask for allies when they need help.
  1. Look for the unmet need. In I’ve Got Your Back and our Peacemaker Training Program (where we empower dedicated students to create a more peaceful school) we teach students that everybody deserves our support.  As we learned from The Breakfast Club’s (1985) John Bender, the kid doing the bullying has a story, too.  They deserve empathy and they need our help.  We encourage teachers and peers to look deeper and see the need being expressed.

The student doing the bullying may need:

  • positive attention
  • acceptance and inclusion
  • friendship
  • protection from someone who is hurting them
  • recognition and appreciation

While it’s important that we identify the bullying behavior and not minimize its effects, we also need to look underneath the behavior to see and address the unmet need.  It’s a crucial step if we’re going to truly prevent bullying.

I wish I could go back to 1985 and sit down with Francis from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. Maybe we could talk about how it felt to get yelled at by his dad or be alone in that big mansion. I could remind him that he didn’t need someone else’s fancy bike in order to have friends and respect.

Tell us what you’re doing to mark National Bullying Prevention Month!  What strategies have you developed to support students at your school?  What’s working for your community?  Share your thoughts on our Facebook page or by responding to this email.


fnf_newss-peacepathWhat’s Up At Soul Shoppe:
Our Peace Path Goes National

What if every school in the United States could have a Peace Path? What if Soul Shoppe’s conflict resolution tool could be used to reduce bullying across the country? Well, now it can!

There are already Peace Paths as far away as the Netherlands and Whitehouse, Ohio. But now there is the opportunity for more! Fit & Fun Playscapes, a national playground stencil company based in New York now sells Soul Shoppe Peace Path stencils for any school that wishes to include a Peace Path on their school playground. Stencils are roll-out easy to lay down and paint! And look how beautiful! Through Fit & Fun Playscapes, Soul Shoppe’s Peace Path has been introduced to schools in Arkansas, Michigan, Oregon, Southern California, Washington, Indiana,  Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland and South Carolina.

Though bullying cannot be solved with a Peace Path alone, it is a great tool for helping kids to resolve difficult issues before resentment and retaliation are accepted strategies. Conflict resolution teaches kids how to stand up for themselves with an understanding that conflicts can be resolved peacefully. This changes how students deal with power struggle situations, like bullying. If you believe conflicts are meant to be resolved, how different would you react to being bullied?

In a 2-year research study, 673 elementary students were given conflict resolution training, as well as effective vocabulary and social emotional literacy skills. Overall, the training decreased bullying and increased a sense of safety. This is what the Peace Path offers schools across the country‑ an effective tool to talk through conflicts, increasing self-esteem and self-reliance.

Is your school ready for a DIY Soul Shoppe Peace Path? Easy to paint and amazing to watch kids not only use Peace Path to solve problems, but to use the tools of the Peace Path in other areas of their lives. Contact Fit & Fun Playscapes at (800) 681-0684 or…

If your school is ready for a 3-day Intensive conflict resolution program that trains your students (3rd-5th/6th) how to resolve conflicts for their peers, contact Soul Shoppe at (510) 338-3231. Two Peace Paths will be painted on your playground as part of your Peacemaker Program package.



People Are Saying:
A Story Shared by Christina Bowman, El Monte Elementary School Principal, (From a Parent’s Facebook Post About Her Children)

So Bailee is in the shower and Zachary is sitting in the room talking to her…

Z: Bailee do you have a bully?
B: No.
Z: I thought you said you had a bully?
B: Well, I did have a bully, but not anymore.
Z: What happened to your bully?
B: I went to the Peacemaker.
Z: (Repeats “Peacemaker” quietly a few times trying to recall if he knew what one was) What’s a Peacemaker?
B:When you have a problem with someone at school, you go to a Peacemaker.
Z: Oh, so did they get rid of your bully?
B: Not really. I just went to the Peacemaker and they talked to both of us and then he wasn’t a bully anymore.
Z: Oh, well that’s good.

I am not only impressed with my kids and Bailee for using her resources, but their school for providing a “Peacemaker” that is making an impact. What a great idea and what a comfort that it is there when they need it.
* * * * *
From the desk at Soul Shoppe:

P.S.-If your school has a Soul Shoppe Peacemaker Program and needs any assistance, the Soul Shoppe Peacemaker Liaison (to each school’s Peacemaker Liaison) is Dara Ackerman. She can be contacted at dara@soulshoppe.com.

P.P.S – If you want Soul Shoppe’s Peacemaker Program at your school, contact us at Soul Shoppe 510-338-3231 or support@soulshoppe.com



Social Impact Partner:
Sherwin Williams Supports Soul Shoppe Peace Paths 

Last year we discovered the black paint we used for Peace Paths was no longer available in gallon size. California passed a law that no oil-based paint could be sold in gallon sizes in California. Unless we wanted painters carrying 6-8 quarts of paint around (which is neither economically nor functionally effective), we needed another solution. Enter Sherwin Williams.

Sherwin Williams has, Pro-Park, a water-based paint that is long lasting and tough enough to use in traffic. Since it’s tough enough for cars, we thought it might be able to stand up to the foot-traffic on an elementary school playground. Well, not only does it work better and save us time with easy delivery, Sherwin Williams has decided to sell us all our paints at cost. That’s right, we experience savings with every can of paint thanks to the generosity of the Sherwin Williams paint brand.

Thank you Sherwin Williams for your support! You have helped elementary schools throughout California take another step towards peace.

Contact our Development Team
510-338-3231 or email