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A Few Comments...

 

“Mrs. Neal, I pray for you every day. You have helped me get through being here.”
– (Juvenile Male)

“I like what you teach us in at (juvenile facility) and have practiced meditation every day. I got the cd when I left and play it for my baby, it helps her sleep too.”
– (Juvenile Male)

“Dear Mrs. Neal,
...Thank you for coming out to (juvenile facility) on your own time. I like when you come because meditation helps me sleep at night. I like when you come out because meditation helps me get my mind off of stuff.”
– (Juvenile Male)

“The kids enjoyed this class and didn’t even realize how much they were learning about themselves. Very powerful class, wonderful delivery from Nancy and Joe, and oh so very beneficial to these kids.”
- Youth Counselor, 2009

“You are the only person I know who makes God sound cool and made me want to know how to pray. Thanks for teaching me how easy it is.”
– (Juvenile Male)

“What a cool way to get a message across, and actually learn something I can use in lots of areas of my life. I really liked the games and ‘tests’ and felt really good after the exercise. I will remember to get my CD this time.”
– (Juvenile Male)

“She teaches teens positive techniques to cope with and respond to their negative feelings. Some of the boys practice her techniques outside of (her) class.”
– Jessica D., resident adviser, youth center

“The kids really enjoyed it and they still talk about it”
- Wilder Intermediate School, Spirit Day, 2008 and 2009

“Great Stuff!”
– Sean Dick, Edison Peace Officer Academy Student, 2009

“You never gave up on me, but everyone else did. This (program) has helped me deal with a lot of stuff in my life.”
– (Juvenile Male)

“I thought this was going to be so lame. Then I got out of (incarceration facility) and realized how much I could use what you taught me.”
– (Juvenile Female)

“I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with Nancy’s session of relaxation and meditation. At first I was pretty skeptical and suspicious about the idea because I have never experienced anything like it before. But I must admit that it felt great to clear my mind and feel the stress relief, her voice is both soothing and comforting. I literally felt my mind & thoughts become vividly clear as I sank into her amazing meditation technique. I also felt the muscles in my body relax and I felt a sort of lightness to me like weights were taken off my shoulders. Nancy has great purpose and energy which is contagious.”
– Crystal Karnehm, Edison Peace Officer Academy Student, 2008

 “There’s nothing out there like it. (We) like the idea that it’s helping kids.”
– Scott & Kimberly Oglesbee
SK Music Productions

RISE! Radio Program

Comments from guest appearance
on radio program:

“You reached a lot of people when you were on my show, and I’m sure they all appreciate it as much as I do.”
Burnette Clingman, President/CEO;  Burnette Clingman Enterprises, Dayton, OH;  RISE! Radio Program
 

“Nancy Neal’s perspective on using meditation as a power tool to reduce stress gave me the right perspective!”
“I hope that she does another show on RISE!, her information was fascinating.”
“Just listening to Nancy made me feel more relaxed. Great guest!”
– from emails received by RISE! following Nancy’s appearance on the show

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Comments and News


Please take a moment to read this Student's Story,

Participant Comments, and these news articles ...


A Student's Story...

 

From one of the first students to participate in the meditation class:


“In 1995, I was only seventeen years old and filled with all of the usual teenage stress. I wasn’t exactly sure where I fit in, I didn’t know what I wanted to wear, and I had not yet figured out what I was going to do with myself when I grew up. I was attending the Upper Valley JVS enrolled in the Graphic Arts program. I dreamed of becoming an art teacher after high school. Of course I was filled with the excitement of my dreams, along with the anxiety of being a teenage girl that hadn’t quite figured herself out yet. I suffered from extreme anxiety wondering where and how I fit in, and wondering if I even needed to anyways.
 

Then one day we had a substitute teacher in our lab. Her name was Mrs. Nancy Neal. She was the coolest adult I had ever met. She actually looked at me when she was speaking to me and she really cared about what I was interested in and why. She taught us guided meditation one day in class, and I went home and practiced on my own that very same day. I continued to do this on a regular basis. I even did it in the classroom or anywhere that I was and needed to relax. This relaxation I learned from Mrs. Neal was one of the first steps to my realization of what I wanted to spend my life doing.

I learned from her the importance of caring for and respecting myself no matter what everyone else was saying or doing in my life. She touched the life of myself and so many of my friends when no other adults wanted anything to do with us. My friends and I weren’t put on this earth to be like everyone else and she recognized and encouraged that. I owe her many thanks for helping me develop into an independent thinker and not be afraid to follow what sounds correct for me to live by, even if it made no sense to anyone else. 

I am currently the owner of The Earth’s Center in downtown Tipp City. I am a Holistic Health Practitioner and Holistic Life Coach. I help people learn how to relax and focus on what is important in their lives and how they can get where they want to be. At my office we offer reflexology, reiki, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, massage, yoga, pilates, zumba, belly dancing, meditation classes, and tai chi classes. 

Of course we cannot forget that we also offer Mrs. Neal’s not-so-conventional meditation class for teens.
I do not know how many lives Mrs. Neal has reached the way she has reached mine. I do know that my fourteen year old nephew loves her and she is one of few that can reach in and bring him out. 

Thank you Mrs. Neal for spending your life blessing the lives of others. What you are doing is making a difference.” 

Nicole Mikel
Owner, The Earth’s Center

Tipp City, Ohio
2005

 


Excerpt* from an email:

 

"... I would like to take the time to give a sincere thank you. 

I was on the internet looking for some tools and resources to enhance my brother’s experience at the West Central Juvenile Rehab Center in Troy. My thought was that if I could educate myself on what the juveniles go through, that perhaps I could be a positive role model for my brother, not just someone that he could receive letters and the occasional less-than-an-hour visit from once a week. 

I wanted to do some research on things that I could write him about to help him through this time in his life. I came across a newspaper article about meditation that you offer to the juveniles. 

I just wanted to say thanks for all that you do, and all that you put into the juveniles. It really does mean a lot and I’m sure to them its a blessing ... maybe in disguise to some of them, but I believe it’s truly a blessing. 

I really believe that you’re making an impact and I will definitely be writing my brother about your meditation tactics and hopefully from them, he can manage to find a moment of peace while going through his journey. 

Again, I just wanted to say thank you ... please dont stop believing in today’s youth. I know first-hand how much they really need someone to just love and believe in them. I’m sure my brother and others alike would love to have you as a positive influence in their lives. 

Thanks again!
Becky Drill
*Reprinted with permission from Ms. Drill

 


And In The News...

 

This newspaper article appeared in:
Tipp City Herald, Tipp City, Ohio
Wednesday, 26 October 2005

Relieving stress through the art of meditation
By JOYELL NEVINS, Herald Staff Writer


There is a story about a man on the beach, surrounded by dozens of stranded starfish.

He picks one up, throws it into the sea. Another man walking by asks him why he bothers - with so many starfish, how can he make a difference?

The first man picks up another starfish and tosses it into the ocean, saying “I made a difference to that one.”
That is how Nancy Neal views what she’s doing: making a difference to one student at a time.

She teaches “not-so-conventional” meditation classes, showing teenagers how to take control of their own minds, at Upper Valley Joint Vocational School (JVS), West Central Juvenile Detention Center, the David L. Brown Youth Center, and most recently at Troy-Hayner Cultural Center.

Neal is by trade a graphic artist. She happened into a fill-in teaching position at JVS about 11 years ago. During her class, she showed students different ways to break through their artistic blocks.

One of these ways to release the creative process was through meditation.

Meditation simply means to think, or consider thoughtfully. It is an exercise of contemplation which can be used to train, calm, focus or empty the mind. Neal uses it as an intense form of prayer.

“When my students first walk in, I tell them we’re getting high. Then they find out I don’t employ any chemical substances,” laughs Neal.

The only object used aside from her own voice and the student’s mind is scented cotton balls which help to stimulate the brain through the olfactory nerves.

Neal’s point is that when one uses drugs and alcohol the user has lost control. They are simply along for, the ride.

Meditating can relax, calm you down, and help stimulate creativity, while being aware of your surroundings and in complete control. The only side effect is you might become so relaxed you fall asleep!

The students loved Neal and her meditation methods. She eventually taught a full meditation class at JVS, and from there it’s spread like wildfire.

“When I’m being directed to do something, I don’t question it; I just do it,” Neal explains.

Some JVS students mentioned they had been incarcerated at West Central and would have liked the meditation class while they were there.

So Neal contacted the proper authorities and now teaches one boys’ and one girls’ class every other week at the detention center.

The Youth Center classes came by way of students that had moved [from] West Central and still wanted to continue their instruction.

“I don’t know why they’re there and I don’t care,” emphasizes Neal.

She doesn’t have a problem with disrespect in her classroom, either. Rather, “they sit and listen and are curious and interested.”

Neal points out that she won’t talk down to her students. The way to get their attention, she stresses, is to “challenge their brains and not to condescend.”

She is received very well by her classes, and says she feels it’s because “I don’t bs them; I’m very straightforward.”

The newest class at the Cultural Center is making meditation and creative expression available to all teens in the Miami Valley area, regardless of school or age. While attending, students will learn a little about themselves. The mind-body connection and proper physical care, relaxation techniques, and the power of positive thinking.

“Every day when you wake up, tell yourself that you have value, that you will have a fabulous day,” Neal exhorts her students. “Celebrate your differences, and replace all that negative thinking.”

Neal’s upcoming project via the West Coast is a CD* of guided meditations, a combination of her voice and specific soothing music, again caused by students’ requests.

“I never break a promise to a student, “ she says. To Neal, her teenagers and classes are more than a job, they’re her passion.

“This is the group I am I drawn to, this is the gift God has given me,” she summarizes.


*Note: The CD was eventually produced in Ohio.

 


 

This newspaper article appeared in:
The Miami Valley Sunday News, Troy, Ohio
Sunday, 19 February 2006

Instructor uses meditation to help teens
Pair put sessions on CD

BY SUSAN SILVER

Nancy Neal’s passion is working with teens. Using meditation, she helps them to de-stress, and to live a life free of alcohol and drugs.

The Troy resident educates teens about how their brains work, and how important nutrition is to their overall good health.

“I explain why they feel the way they do, and how to deal with society,” she said. “Society in general does not give them the best tools to de-stress.”

Neal volunteers at several youth facilities in the area. She also teaches classes at Earth’s Center every other Sunday, and conducts twice-monthly sessions at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center.

“Meditate does not mean they are cross-legged and chanting,” she said. “There is lot of misconception about what it is. It is to get these kids to focus their thoughts, to turn them toward what God has given them and away from drugs and alcohol. I give them other tools.”

According to Neal, teenagers experience a high amount of stress due to peer pressure, family issues, school, best friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, parent’s divorce, stepparents and curfews.

“If a student is different, he can be made fun of,” she said. “I teach them to be true to themselves.”

Her students tell her she helps them.

“A teen who used to be at West Central came up to me and said, ‘I wish I would have had your class when I was in there, it would have helped,’” she said.

This need has propelled Neal to record her sessions on CD to give to those who want to continue with her after they leave a facility or class.

Neal’s soothing voice gently instructs students about ways to relax, ways to deal with peer pressure and ways to get a better night’s sleep. Her voice is accompanied by music; music she says has been requested by those in her classes.

She is collaborating with Scott Oglesbee – a well-known musician in the Piqua area – of SK music productions.
“He understands what I am doing,” she said. “He is donating his.time and talent.”

Oglesbee said Neal has been a friend of his family’s for years, and he was excited about working with her on this project.

“She is helping teens; it is great,” he said. “We need more people doing it. I am helping her out and it is a creative project for me.”

Neal said she is creating the CD because she has had many requests from teens, especially from those who are in facilities.

“Some of them cannot remember how to do it when they get home,” she said. “They wanted a CD to take with them. I wanted to put it into the hands of my kids.”

While Oglesbee composes the music, Neal will be recording the guided meditation part of the CD.

“It is one little tool they can take with them to remember what God has placed within them and to trust themselves,” she said.

 

This newspaper article appeared in:
Miami Valley Sunday News, Troy, Ohio
Sunday, 14 May 2006

Visualizing a safe place
Meditation guide helps youth relax

BY DANA RASMUSSEN

Imagine being away from home, lying on a cot in a cell. You can’t open your door, you can’t turn on the TV for some company or go out to the kitchen for a snack. You’re incarcerated, you’re alone and you’re just a teen.
That’s the reality for many teens at West Central Juvenile Detention facility and at David L. Brown Youth Center. On top of that, many have the feeling that they are bad and that nobody cares about them, according to meditation guide, Nancy Neal. But Neal cares about them.

Neal goes to the detention facilities and leads the inmates – who she calls students – in meditation. She goes to West Central every other Thursday and goes to David L. Brown every other Tuesday. She does it for free and because she feels she has a gift for working with young people.

“One boy in a facility told me he felt like everyone had given up on him except for me,” Neal said. “Hearing things like that motivates me to keep going. It touches my heart.”

Neal began meditating when she was just a child. She said she would go out into the forest near her home and sit with her back against a tree. She said she could feel the ground beneath her and the bark against her back and it made her feel relaxed. Neal never fell asleep in the forest, but she was able to clear her mind and free herself from stress. That state is what she tries to get the teens in lock up to achieve.

“Sometimes they have a hard time sleeping and sometimes they’re just stressed,” Neal said. “Especially ones who are incarcerated. It’s obviously a stressful environment and the beds aren’t particularly comfortable, so they use the relaxation techniques to help them sleep and to reduce their stress.”

Before each meditation session, Neal creates a lesson plan that she hopes will benefit the teens. On May 4, Neal led a meditation class at West Central. She had two statements for her students to think about. The first was “it’s my life and it doesn’t matter what I do because it only affects me;” the other, “everything I do impacts everybody else.” She had her students think about those statements and decide which one they ascribed to. All of them chose the latter.

“You impact me daily,” Neal told them. “I pray for you daily. I think of you daily. Think of the impact you have on other people’s lives. Your butterfly wings could be causing a tornado someplace else.”

Her students said she impacted them as well. One girl shared what she’d learned from Neal’s lessons.
“I’ve learned not to be so judgmental,” the girl said. “Being in (West Central) has an impact on everyone else in here.”

After the lesson, Neal began the meditation. She had everyone sit on the floor and breathe deeply. They inhaled through their noses and exhaled through their mouth. She had them concentrate solely on their breathing so they could clear their minds. Then she had them visualize a place where they could find peace.

“The subconscious doesn’t know what’s real and what isn’t,” Neal said. “You decide where your place is. You decide where you want to be.”

She told the students to think about what sounds they could hear in their places and to continue to visualize it.
“You control this place,” she said. “It’s where you find peace. It’s a place where no one and nothing can get to you.”

The students continued to relax. Neal had them pay attention to the muscles in their bodies and relax them. She told them to allow any tension or tightness to drain into their feet then into the floor and out into the earth where the tension could drain away. After she led them through their muscle relaxation she had them think again about their safe place, but this time she had them think about the things they say and do.

“Think about any habits you want to change and goals you want to achieve,” Neal said.

To finish there was one minute of silence. When Neal brought her students out of their meditative state they all remained calm. Some kept their eyes closed, many stretched and yawned and others began to talk about the safe places they had visualized.

“My happy place is being inside my house in the middle of winter when it snows,” one girl said.

When Neal left that day the students were all smiling and asking her when they’d get to see her again. Neal also left smiling and glad that she’s able to come in to help the children.

“I look at them and what I see are the little children in them looking out,” Neal said.

Neal never asks any of her students what they are in the facilities for – she’s not allowed to by the administration and she doesn’t want to know. To her, the students are all children who just need someone to love them, she said.

“I just look in their eyes and see that sweet child inside,” she said.

 

This newspaper article appeared in:
Miami Valley Sunday News, Troy, Ohio
Sunday, 4 December 2006


Neal gets teens high on life
CD offers meditation techniques for coping

BY DANA RASMUSSEN

Nancy Neal’s been getting teens hooked on a natural high for years.

Her meditation classes and CD made her popular with teens throughout Miami County; especially with the youth in West Central and the David L. Brown Youth Center, and now she’s making it possible for those teens to hear her message of relaxation whenever they want.

“She teaches teens positive techniques to cope with and respond to their negative feelings,” said resident adviser for DLBYC Jessica Drake. “Some of the boys practice her techniques outside of class.”

Together with local music producer and pianist Scott Oglesbee, Neal has made a commercial version of the meditation CD called “InnerTeen,” which she donates to the county’s juvenile facilities.

“There’s nothing out there like it,” said musician and Oglesbee’s wife Kimberly.

(Neal) said she hopes proceeds from the commercial venture will afford her the ability to continue providing teens with “InnerTeen” free of charge. Currently, Neal pays for all of the supplies it takes to package the CD’s out of her pocket. Oglesbee donates his production services and piano playing.

“I like the idea that it’s helping kids and teens,” Oglesbee said.

Neal said her guided meditations appeal to teens in the juvenile facilities because she tells them she’s going to get them high without using any mind-altering substances.

She also leads teens through lessons that teach them about the importance of being responsible for their actions and choices.

“She sees teens as people; unique individuals who are an important part in the evolution of our society because they are responsible for changing social mores for the better ,” Drake said. “She reminds them to not just sit back, but to be proactive.

Adults are happy to go with the status quo, while teens are needed to blaze a trail in the places where adults may have forgotten due to their mundane, daily responsibilities.”

 

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