Hammer & NER’s Education Grants Support Career Growth
KT Noon is a DSP at our Reserve apartment program in Eden Prairie. She is currently enrolled at St. Catherine University (St. Kate’s) pursuing her master’s degree in Holistic Health. As part of her studies, KT recently traveled to India to participate in an intensive two-week study abroad program. Hammer & NER’s education grants have supported KT as she pursues her educational goals. We asked her to tell us about her trip to India and how it is impacting her life and work.
This was an amazing experience! We visited the cities of Delhi, Haridwar, Rishikesh, and Agra as well as several small villages. In Delhi and Rishakesh we stayed at ashrams (Indian spiritual monasteries) and were invited to participate in morning rituals, yoga, and meditation and met with gurus (spiritual leaders in Hinduism) who spoke on the importance of taking care of our earth and humanity. In Haridwar, we stayed on campus at the University of Ayurvedic Medicine which, like St. Kate’s, is an all- women’s campus. We toured various departments in the hospital and watched as a doctor removed a skin growth using a copper-infused thread that had been soaked in a mixture of herbs. It was incredible to observe 2,000-year-old knowledge being practiced in new and innovative ways. Both the ashram in Delhi and the University had herbal gardens with thousands of plants, each labeled with their names and uses.
If you’re not familiar with ayurvedic medicine, it is a holistic, or all-body approach to health care that originated in India. It is very similar to traditional Chinese medicine in that the body is made up of elements and the concept of “health” is the equilibrium of the mind, body, and soul. They use a lot of herbs and oils to bring the body/mind/spirit back to equilibrium. I love the philosophy behind it because health isn’t just the body, we should be supporting the whole being.
I had an opportunity to learn more about the philosophies and practices of ayurvedic medicine through multiple lenses of culture, spirituality, and economic and social justice. As someone who manages multiple chronic illnesses, I am interested in natural and holistic ways to support my body and immune system rather than relying solely on prescription medications. I’m in the second level of energy healing and hope to become a master Reiki (a form of energy healing) and healing touch practitioner.
I brought back some teas and Indian snacks for the people I support to try. I think global experiences are something they don’t necessarily get to participate in, so I try to introduce them to new things. We watch NatGeo specials on Sunday nights when I’m usually single staffed. It’s a nice way for them to experience different cultures from the comfort of our apartment. We watched a docuseries on India after I got back.
I joined Hammer in August 2015 and have been a DSP, Assistant Program Manager (finance, medical, and activities at different times), and Case Manager and have completed the PMIT program (Program Manager in Training). I started at Arrive (then Eden Place) and have picked up shifts in more than a dozen homes over the years.
I see part of my role as a DSP to enrich the lives of those we support. I try to incorporate foods and activities that fit their independence level and that they are interested in. We’ve had a yoga night and have practiced meditation. I have done breathing exercises with the people we support who have anxiety and help them to come up with activities such as puzzles or coloring that help them focus their mind on other things. That’s what holistic support looks like for me: introducing new and sometimes challenging (but attainable) tasks and experiences. How are you supposed to know you love knitting if you never try?
Traveling and studying in India was an amazing opportunity. I’m hoping to go back in a few years for my practicum!
If you are interested in supporting Hammer & NER’s education grants please contact Ellen Timmerman-Borer at 952-277-2433 or firstname.lastname@example.org