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Katie Nickelson and Dena Giglio VettaThrough the instruction of Katie Nickelson and Dena Giglio Vetta, District staff and scholars are experiencing the many benefits of yoga.

Katie, a counselor at Dutch Clark Digital at Paragon, and Dena, Instructional Coach and Interventionist at Freed, became certified to lead yoga sessions through a program called Breathe for Change, which offers transformational trainings that empower educators with science-backed skills to enhance collective well-being, foster connection, and improve educational outcomes.

One of those tools is yoga: an ancient practice that connects the body, breath, and mind through physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to improve overall health.

“The goal is to help educators de-stress, as well as improve student wellbeing through mindfulness practices,” Katie said. “Some benefits of yoga practice include reduced anxiety, more connectedness to the present, breath awareness, strength and flexibility.”

On Tuesday, Katie and Dena led a session for members of the Highland Park Elementary STEM Magnet School after-school club.

“We have worked with student-athlete groups including Central football, Centennial boys soccer and girls basketball, as well as staff at Columbian and Haaff and for a District professional development,” Katie said.

School staff and student groups who would like to experience the program are welcome to reach out to Katie at