Sami Aaron, Olathe, KS—retired software developer, meditation & yoga teacher, and master naturalist.
The vision of The Resilient Activist was first ignited in 2003 as Sami struggled to find some meaning in the suicide of her older son, Kevin. He had degrees in environmental studies and sociology and was working on a graduate program in urban and regional planning with a joint law degree when eco-anxiety (fear about the ecology of the planet) and solastalgia (grief over loss of a beloved place in nature) combined with his own inner demons and he took his own life.
According to studies from the American Psychological Association, people everywhere are experiencing severe emotional distress caused by climate change and environmental devastation. And what makes it even more unbearable for some is when family, friends, employers, and governments don’t understand and often don’t care.
For many people, the more they learn about the state of ecological devastation, the deeper is their grief.
In the newly emerging field of ecopsychology, there is an understanding of the interconnected relationship, both physically and emotionally, between humans and the health of the planet. You’ll find a powerful discussion on the various ways the term ecopsychology is defined and evolving in “What is EcoPsychology?” by Robert Greenway.
Through Sami’s studies in meditation, yoga nidra (yoga sleep), yoga for trauma, nature-connected teachings, and the benefits of her own time spent in nature, along with her desire to guide others into a life rich in nature connection, she has been able to visualize The Resilient Activist program to build a community that will nurture, uplift, and support those who strive to live in conscious harmony with Earth.
You'll find more information on Sami's site Being Onto Something.
Mary Howe, Lawrence, KS
Secretary and Chair of Technology Committee
I’ve been a web developer and troubleshooter since the late nineties, but starting in 2008 I decided only to work for nonprofits. I am happy to be able to develop the Resilient Activist website and to provide support for other Resilient Activist technical needs.
I try to be compassionate, kind, and lighthearted in my relationship to the world. I also believe that these are the qualities we humans need toward the planet we live on.
I am fortunate to live on eighty acres of Kansas fields and woodlands. We try to be careful stewards of the land, and so have returned acreage to native prairie grasses and cleaned the woods of human junk (old washing machines, sheet metal, bathtubs, and much more).
Beth Sarver, Shawnee KS
Vice-Chair and Chair of the Program Committee
Artist and Trauma-Informed Resilience Educator—My approach to resilience skill building is centered in play, mindfulness, social emotional learning, creative problem solving and brain education. I feel the gravity of our environmental situation and the awareness of human suffering. As a mother, I am committed to breathe deeply and co-create a different story with our children-- one about wisdom, wellness and resilience. The Resilient Activist inspires the fierce mama bear within to dance, open-hearted in the ongoing journey of learning and adapting in community.
Darlene Arnett, Raymore, MO
Retired Risk Manager and who gardens at home and at our property at the lake. I have been a Master Gardener since 2012 and have obtained the Advanced Master Gardener certification. I love veggie gardens and native plants of all kinds. I want to continue to educate myself and others about the intricate and interesting interactions of humans and the environment. I love passing on my knowledge and experience to others - even my mistakes! I have known Sami a long time and am looking forward to getting involved with a great group of people.
His focus is on regenerative enterprise and community development. He explores the intersection between permaculture and our economic and social systems.
Pam Geer, Overland Park, KS
Retired nonprofit healthcare executive and currently a very active Johnson County Master Gardener. I wanted to become a part of The Resilient Activist because I love all things nature and I wholeheartedly support my good friend, Sami Aaron.
Mary Honeyman, Council Grove, KS
Landscape architect, steward of the land. I wanted to become a part of The Resilient Activist because I believe in doing all we can to save our planet and that Sami Aaron, Olathe, KS, not-so-retired software developer and meditation teacher, has a vision that will provide the education and dedication to make a real difference!
My awareness in changing the treatment of our environment began as a teenager. My father and I observed raw sewage coming from a large pipe running into a creek we were fishing in. Yes, you read this correctly! Our town didn't treat their sewage. And yes, this was legal in the early 1970's. As an environmental engineer with the EPA I worked with facilities who were seeking to treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste.
I have found throughout the years that people do not recognize nor understand the impact they have daily on our environment. Education is critical to ensure that the beauty of our planet is not further harmed and to ensure that those ecosystems that have been damaged are revitalized. Much controversy also exists when this assurance runs against opposing values. This is why I'm a part of the Resilient Activist- to ensure all have information to select better environmental choices and to support those that desire to make positive impact.
Kwanza Humphrey, Shawnee, KS
Artist, designer, creative thinker. Sami’s story really touched me. I want to leave a better world for my son. I believe we are all in this together: humans, animals, sea, and earth. We don’t have dominion over but are partners with taking care of this home.
Dena Klein, Kansas City, MO
My goal is to help nurture our Earth for future generations in any way I can, remembering no step taken is too small.
Kathy Miller, Leawood, KS
I am a retired social worker. I've been involved in a number of start-up nonprofits. Why not one more? And ... Sami is the dearest of friends and I believe in her!
Shaina Noll, Port Townsend, Washington
I was introduced to Sami through her Courageous Conversations interview. Deeply moved and inspired by her story, and the intent of The Resilient Activist, I contacted her to see if I might have something to offer in support of her work. I am a singer/songwriter and spiritual coach; it is my experience that a spiritual perspective on our lives as humans can deeply support resilience as we tend to the larger issues we are facing on our beautiful planet. It is my privilege to be a bearer of this spiritual perspective in ongoing conversations with Sami.
Mona Raglow, Overland Park, KS
As a productivity coach, I teach that it's not about getting more done. It's about getting the right things done at the right time. I chose to become part of the Resilient Activist because no act is too small when we are working together to better our world. We can all do something, but we don't all have to do everything.
Roberta Vogel-Leutung, Kansas City, MO
Roberta grew up with nature in Chicagoland, and continues to cultivate her relationship with it via hiking, native landscaping, and nature retreats. She is interested in how to make environmental decision making accessible to people across world views, and how nature practice can support simplicity, resilience, and spiritual development. She hopes to lend these passions to the development of TRA.