Archive for Christa Scalies

 

Katie O'Dell-Shreve and Christa Scalies at Day of Hope

Thanks to my friend and cancer warrior, Katie O’Dell-Shreve (pictured above), I was invited to give a keynote speech and lead a break-out session at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center for their annual Day of Hope event. My task was to deliver my own special laughter prescription to cancer patients and caregivers.

Katie has been an avid supporter of the Giggle On mission for many years. Her loyalty and support has helped boost me in my moments of doubt. Having Katie by my side to assist and cheer lead at the Day of Hope was truly a gift. Katie, thank you for being the conduit for this opportunity honor the memory of your friend Brian Ware, serve cancer patients, their families and caregivers from both the medical and non-medical setting. Furthermore, thank you for sharing your experience about the Day of Hope and offering lovely words of praise about my work.

Kazoo On, Marshmallow Launcher On, Battle On, and Giggle On! – Love, Christa

From Katie O’Dell-Shreve, President, Cancer *B* Ware

I’ve known Christa Scalies for years and I can honestly say that she truly comes alive when she is in “Giggle On” mode. Christa has made it her personal life mission to bring laughter and healing to others through her work with Giggle On.

Christa has invested thousands of dollars of her own money in providing hundreds of Laffy Laffalot toys, kazoos and laughter yoga to sick children & their families in hospitals throughout the Philadelphia area, especially A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware.

Christa believes she has a higher calling to help others, and truly practices what she preaches with Giggle On. Christa graciously donated her time & amazing talents to the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center. I had the privilege of assisting Christa in the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center Day of Hope on November 2, 2013. Cancer patients, caregivers, and center staff were on hand to listen to Christa’s key note speech on the benefits of laughter therapy. Just taking a moment of time and transforming the room into a kazoo and giggle filled ‘laughter-torium’ was a sight (and sound) to behold. Audience members, initially timid and unsure of what to do, began to relax, warm up, look around, smile at each other, loosen up, and most importantly, forget their problems for a moment.

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Christa’s breakout session for Stress Less, Laugh More brought a group of 30+ strangers together for an hour of incredible exercises and games, culminating in a Marshmallow Launcher contest. Throughout the session, it was amazing to see the audience members, especially a male breast cancer survivor, come together, be silly, greet each other, and be able to act like carefree children for the first time in a long time for most of them. One woman was particularly enthusiastic with the Marshmallow Launcher contest, where each person was given their own mini-marshmallow launcher. Christa donned a “target box” with ‘worries and stressors’ written on them. Participants were then to launch as many marshmallows at the stressors as they could in 3 minutes to win a prize.

I have not witnessed a group of people so unabashedly joyful and silly in a very long time. Everyone truly enjoyed the experience and were extremely thankful to Christa for providing such great ideas, tools, and ways to lighten their spirit.

I highly recommend Christa Scalies, Chief Laughter Officer, and the amazing work she is doing with Giggle On.

Katie O’Dell-Shreve

President, Cancer *B* Ware

www.cancerbware.org

www.facebook.com/cancerbware

 

   There’s still a lot of good in the world. Find it! ~ Brian Ware

 

 

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Message Strikes Unexpected Chord on College Campus

When Victoria Arthur, Vice President of Service for the Alpha Phi Omega University of Delaware chapter, asked me to conduct a laughter therapy session for UD students on November 3, 2013, during National Service Week, I jumped at the opportunity to help, especially since it involved a visit to a college campus, and it provided a way for me to say thanks to APO for their kindness!

THANK YOU APO at UD!

999306_10202423049481731_765737318_nAlpha Phi Omega, APO for short, is a national service organization founded on the principles of leadership, friendship and service. They provide opportunities for their members to volunteer on their campuses and in their communities.

APO at UD kindly and generously offered to assist me with my laughter warm-up session at the 11th Annual E-Racing the Blues 5K/10K Walk/Run hosted by the Mental Health Association in Delaware on Sunday, October 27, 2013.

APO UD

APO UD members posing with a portion of Team Giggle On

APO was a huge help at the E-Racing the Blues event!!! I could not have asked for a more helpful, energetic or positive group of Giggle On Ambassadors.

I know APO stands for Alpha Phi Omega, but as far as I’m concerned, it should also stand for ‘Amazing Persons Organization‘.  Thank you for coming out so early in the morning to help me promote mental wellness, suicide prevention and the benefits of laughter!

APO at UD getting their Giggle On at E-Racing the Blues

Simple Message Strikes Unexpected Chord

Since APO witnessed firsthand how I motivated, energized and inspired people at E-Racing the Blues, Victoria recognized that a Giggle On educational and stress relief session would not only uphold the mission of Alpha Phi Omega – it would provide needed advice to University of Delaware students.

Using the theme “Respect Yourself,” I devised a short custom program that offered students advice on self-development, mental health and suicide prevention and included several laughter-based exercises that helped students reduce stress and focus on positivity. Despite the session lasting only 30 minutes, the impact on the students, per Victoria, was big.

“Everyone’s mood improved noticeably,” Victoria said about my session. “[The participants] were all in a better mood and more alert at our meeting that followed, as well.”

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Session at University of Delaware for APO

When asked how the sessions made her feel, Victoria said she felt “proud, impressed, invigorated,” and said she would recommend similar sessions to school administrators and human resources personnel “without hesitation.” “I think colleges need someone like you,” she said. “Your message was so simple that I think it really struck an unexpected chord. People are still talking about it in a positive light.

APO at UD stress reduction mental health and laughter session by Giggle On

Victoria also said that students provided “amazing” feedback, and many are asking when I will return to present again.

Like my father, the professional actor says, always leave your audience wanting more.

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P.S. One of the highlights of this session was the #laughterselfie ‘s we created.  A #laughterselfie is a photo of you, taken by you, laughing. Go to Twitter and search the hashtag #laughterselfie, or visit us on Facebook for photos. Official rules are below. Love to have you play along!

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Giggle On® Featured in News Journal/Delaware Online

Word is getting out! Giggle On® has been featured in an article in the News Journal and on DelawareOnline.com

DelawareOnlineArticle101613

Scalies will be bringing her program to the Riverfront on Oct. 27 as she leads a pre-race warm-up/laughter session for E-Racing the Blues 5K run/walk at 9 a.m. Participation is not limited solely to those running or walking. Scalies recognizes the seriousness of the 5K/10K event and its focus on erasing the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Click here to read the full article.

PDF version here.

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IMG_6224_with_crossWilmington, DE (PRWEB) October 08, 2013

Christa Scalies, well-known suicide prevention and mental health advocate and founder of Giggle On®, will lead a first-of-its-kind pre-race warm-up laughter session of 5K participants in the 11th Annual E-Racing the Blues 5K/10K Walk/Run hosted by the Mental Health Association in Delaware on Sunday, October 27, 2013.

Leveraging her expertise as a motivational speaker, laughter coach, fitness instructor and mental health advocate, Scalies will conduct a 10-minute laughter warm-up session that will prepare 5K participants’ bodies and minds for the race while teaching them how to laugh unconditionally in order to improve their mental, physical and emotional health. Using various laughter-based, lung-strengthening and muscle-stretching exercises that she developed, Scalies will motivate and invigorate the walk/run participants by helping them reduce stress, boost endorphins, stimulate deep breathing, and boost their immune systems.

“Runners have been using the same warm-up techniques for years,” said Scalies. “It’s not only time to inject some fun into our warm-up sessions, it’s also time to adopt a scientific, holistic approach to warming-up,” she continued. Scalies intends to use six structured, energetic and interactive exercises that incorporate laughter with controlled diaphragmatic deep breathing, clapping and stretching. She will also employ a free and fun giveaway that is sure to get participants buzzing.

Recognizing the seriousness of the 5K/10K run/walk event and its focus on erasing the stigma surrounding mental illness, Scalies points out that sometimes laughter is the best medicine. “I lost two friends to suicide, so I know all too well the depression and the feelings of guilt that surviving family and friends experience,” Scalies said. “I’ve found that the best way to get back in the groove of everyday life is to move on, live more, exercise more and laugh more. In fact, my personal mantra, ‘Don’t Give Up, Giggle On®’, was born from my efforts to cope with friends’ suicides.”

Scalies is available by appointment for news media interviews prior to the 11th Annual E-Racing the Blues 5K/10K Walk/Run. She will be available after 9:30 am on Sunday, October 27, 2013 for on-site interviews.

Join Christa’s team, Team Giggle OnRegister here. First 30 registrants receive a special edition Giggle On t-shirt.

Details About the 11th Annual E-Racing The Blues 5K/10K

Event: E-Racing the Blues
Benefitting: The Mental Health Association of Delaware
Date: October 27, 2013
Location: Dravo Plaza, Wilmington Riverfront, Wilmington, DE
Registration: 7:30 am
10K Run: 8:30 am
5K Laughter Warm-Up with Christa Scalies: 9:00 am
5K Run: 9:45 am
5K Competitive Walk: 9:50 am
5K Recreation Walk: 9:55 am
Web: http://www.eracingtheblues.org

PR Contact:
Steven Kendus
The Writer’s Block
302.562.8996
Skendus(at)WritersBlockServices(dot)com

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The Ultimate Laughter Training Summer Internship

Sara WoodwardLearning to get my Giggle On

by Sara Woodward, guest blogger, Laughter and Wellness Assistant at Giggle On

I had no idea what I was getting into when Christa Scalies, a family friend, offered me a paid summer internship at her start-up, Giggle On. I had visited her website and already liked the her concept of helping people “enjoy life, laugh and have fun,” but that was all I knew.

Coming into this position, I thought my job would mostly be running errands and doing clerical work – general boring stuff. Truthfully I was happy for a way to keep busy and earn some cash over the summer; so boring was fine. But I realized a few hours into the job that I was going to get paid to learn, laugh and have fun.

Can you say ‘dream paid college internship’?

It All Started with a Marshmallow Launcher Fight

A few days into my internship as a “Laughter and Wellness Assistant,” Christa tossed a marshmallow launcher and a bag of mini marshmallows onto my desk. Startled, I looked up to see my “mature” boss (twice my age) crouched behind her desk and hastily loading her own marshmallow launcher like a 7 year old boy on a combat mission at day camp. With a maniacal grin on her face, she started to load her ammo into the plastic tube. Quickly getting over my shock, I began ruthlessly bombarding her with mini marshmallows.  As I ducked behind my desk to reload and laugh, I realized I landed a pretty awesome gig. In case you’re wondering, I was victorious in the battle! Ha Haa!

Serious Business of Laughter

Though some of my job was general office work, it was so much more than that. I learned about the effects stress, depression and anxiety have on a person’s mental state and their body. When I started working for Christa, I didn’t fully understand the connection between laughter and depression. I also did not grasp the significance of Christa’s mission and what she was trying to accomplish.

Over the course of my time at “Giggle On Headquarters,” as Christa calls it, I assisted with three workshops: Stress Less, Laugh More for a staff meeting at a local nonprofit, Make a Joyful Noise for a group of homeless people and elderly, and a Laughter Yoga session for people with HIV/AIDS. Helping these stressed, hopeless, and depressed people to laugh and smile was a heartwarming experience. Christa truly has a gift helping people smile and laugh and I am inspired by her charitable works. These workshops, particularly the last one where I led an exercise, “When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Laughter Lemonade,” also helped me crack open my shy shell!

Suicide Sucks

Click image to enlarge

Getting Paid to Be Creative

Assisting with the workshops was great, but the creative work I did was most exciting. Though I concentrated in visual arts in high school, I have not taken any art classes in college.

So I was ecstatic about continuing my art and using it for a higher purpose – not to mention getting paid for it! I am most proud of the book art sculpture I created for the cover of the e-book, see image to the right.

Collaborating with a digital artist to turn my 3D piece into the cover art was quite exciting as well.

I also had a lot fun creating graphics for the website (never imagined I would Photoshop a saint holding kazoos!). I can’t wait to tell all my friends who went off to art schools that I’m already a commissioned artist! Scroll to the bottom of this post for a sample of my work.

The Serious Business of Laughter and Mental Health

Between all the fun and games of the artwork and marshmallow fights, I did some serious learning about:

  • Business Communication 
  • Market Research
  • Utilizing Social Media for Advocacy
  • Positive Psychology
  • Benefits of Laughter  
  • Team Building
  • Stress Reduction
  • Mental Health, specifically Suicide Prevention, Depression and Stress

I am so grateful for the new knowledge and skills I gained the last few months. The business skills and success tips will definitely help me in the future, but everything else will help me more immediately.

When I return to college, I will be a Resident Assistant. My responsibility is to make sure the 30  students on my dorm floor are handling college life well, meaning they are mentally and physically sound. Because of my work at Giggle On, I now have a much better grasp of the mental issues my residents will face, like stress, anxiety, and depression. Even better, I can now use laughter to improve their mental, physical, and emotional health.

From just two months working here, I’ve learned the importance and power of laughter. I have always been a pretty happy person, but now I know how to truly get my Giggle On®.

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