Kindness, Vulnerability, and Integrity
Values are part of your soul, your innate being. The parts of you that will never change, throughout years of aging, learning, hurting, and growing. My core values are kindness, vulnerability, and integrity. Kindness towards others and myself. Integrity in all aspects: relationships, internal thoughts, and commitments. Vulnerability in every moment of everyday as a sign of strength, courage, and leadership.
There's a lot to know about me and I have many stories to share, but I narrowed it down to the essentials so you can get to know me a little more. I'm Nicole and I'm 22 years old. I'm a student at my local community college earning some credits as I apply to four year universities as a non-traditional student and pursue my undergraduate degree.
Throughout high school I struggled immensely with my mental health. I was in and out of treatment centers during for years and just before graduating in 2018, I entered a wilderness therapy program. Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness completely changed my life and I will forever be grateful for the staff and members of G2 that helped me grow during those 11 weeks. Mental health is a lifelong journey; I've grown a tremendous amount in the past 7 years and I know I have mountains of growth ahead of me as well.
My best friend Alivia Rae Juliana lost her battle with mental heath on May 15th, 2019. Liv was a shining light for everyone who got the privilege of talking to her. To know Liv was to love Liv. In her honor, I created "Rae of Sunshine", a mental health advocacy account on Instagram and now Facebook. Rae of Sunshine has given me an outlet to share what I've found helpful in my own mental health journey and to honor Liv's last words, which read "Be gentle with yourself. Please help other kids with mental illness so no on else will have to lose this battle." Liv, I love you always.
Yoga became an important part of my life after leaving wilderness therapy and needing to find a healthy outlet for my mental health. I completed my 200hr teaching certification in March of 2020. I'm general manager at Zia Yoga & Wellness in Exton, PA and teach two group in-studio classes per week. I've expanded my teachings to include private yoga as well, specializing in alignment focused yoga for individuals interested in practicing yoga safely for their unique body.
I love to travel and adventure- I'm a big fan of seasonal work. Over the summer of 2019, I worked at a summer camp right outside of Baxter State Park in central Maine called Camp Natarswi. A rugged, outdoorsy camp, I co-led groups of young women on adventures like canoeing and backpacking. In October of 2020, I decided to adventure out west and moved to Silverthorne, Colorado. Working at the Starbucks in town, I got an apartment with some other seasonal travelers and I skied Copper Mountain in my free time. The following April, I was ready to leave Colorado but didn't want to turn to Pennsylvania yet, so I loaded up my car again and drove to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. I worked at Signal Mountain Lodge for the summer season as a front desk agent, and got to hike the Tetons in my free time. In October 2021, I was ready to head home to Malvern and start community college. The travel bug will get me again someday, but right now I'm content in Pennsylvania.
I began collecting donations and organizing volunteering in May of 2022 to help individuals struggling with homelessness in Kensington, a neighborhood of north Philadelphia with an extreme opioid crisis. The root of these issues in Kensington and many other cities are bigger than me and resolutions lie within legislation and levels of government. I know I do not have the solution, but all of these individuals are worthy of kindness and compassion.
I love being in nature. I feel most at home in the humid blue ridge mountains and plan to thru hike the Appalachian Trail in 2025, nobo starting in February. Backpacking became an essential part of my being while in wilderness therapy. Connecting with nature has been and will always be extremely healing and renewing for me. I'm so excited to spend five-ish months walking from Georgia to Maine and can't wait for all the stories and experiences I'll gain along the way.
You can read more about my life stories and adventures in much more detail under the "Writings" tab above. I tend to be an open book and often overshare, so if you find yourself with questions, please ask! I'd love to chat.