Living Smart with Shani and Tim from The Painted Fish
Since completing a Living Smart course as participants in late 2007, and facilitating a special course for their street in early 2008, Tim and Shani have become the most experienced Living Smart facilitators in Australia. They have run over 12 courses in the last two years, with six more booked in for 2011. They have run courses in Fremantle, Canning, Rockingham, West Leederville, Melville, and at Fremantle Hospital.
Shani Graham has a sound background in education, having worked as a teacher and school principal for over 20 years. Her last teaching position was with newly graduated teachers in West Australian schools, and she is well capable of applying the principles of adult learning to the work she does. She is highly regarded as an expert presenter, facilitator, trainer and public speaker. Her recent training in Open Space technology has brought a new element to her facilitation work.
With degrees in both Fine Art and Recreation, Tim Darby has worked for most of his life as an outdoors instructor, stone mason and builder. The completion of several sustainable home renovations means he has the practical know how to advise on many aspects of sustainability, from good passive solar design and how to retrofit existing homes, to rainwater harvesting and Aquaponics. Tim is a passionate researcher with up to date knowledge about issues ranging from the science of climate change and peak oil to the latest on involving community for sustainable change. He has a very practical approach to his research.
After becoming increasing concerned about issues relating to climate change, peak oil and other environmental issues, and undertaking a great deal of informal study into various aspects of sustainability, Tim and Shani undertook a bit of a ‘sea change’ in 2005, establishing The Painted Fish, a local business providing a sustainable bed and breakfast type accommodation in South Fremantle, and offering educational opportunities for others interested in creating a more sustainable live style. Presenting Living Smart courses has become an important part of this work and their business.
Living Smart Courses
Together Shani and Tim provide a very interactive, hands on and practical Living Smart course that encourages sustainable lifestyle change. Each course begins with an evaluation of participant needs and expectations, and the course is designed around these, with a strong emphasis on behaviour change. Expertise within the group is also utilized to develop the course program.
Course components include cooperative learning opportunities, group activities, demonstrations, hands on activities, short talks, guest presentations, outings and appropriate movies. Courses generally run over 7 weeks, with weekly sessions running for two and a half hours. A special hands on gardening day, relevant outing and follow up celebration session mean each courses usually includes over 10 sessions. Weekly emails provide mid week motivation, extra ideas, and additional information.
Recognising that Living Smart is essentially a behaviour change program, participants are presented with theoretical and practical examples of good goal setting processes. Achievements are shared, recognised with small prizes and noted in a special “brag book” on a weekly basis.
Each course is carefully evaluated to measure participant satisfaction and changes made. All the courses run by Shani and Tim have been highly regarded by participants. Qualitative feedback about favourite aspects of the course include the enthusiasm and expertise of the presenters, the interactive nature of the sessions, the encouragement to make changes, and the sense of community that develops through meeting other like minded people. The most common negative comment about the course is that people did not want it to end.
At the end of the course participants are asked to make a brief comment on their experience. Below is a sample of comments from a recent course run at Fremantle’s Meeting Place.
This course:-has been a joyous renewal of my energy and enthusiasm for community;
-has reconnected me with me . . . with what drives me, where I want my energy to go (and come from) and given me hope that I can make a difference and make my life more of what I want it to be;
-is a delightful adventure into the world we’d hope to live in. It makes the adventure real and achievable and places us as the heroes and heroines;
-gives me a positive view on our world, makes me feel understood and give me lots of ideas and visions;
-has been refreshing, exciting, informative and in every way exceeded my expectations in my need to meet like minded people;
-gives you an inside view on what is going to happen if we don’t change our habits;
-is inspirational and motivational, supportive and connective;
-was fantastic and brilliantly informative;
-has been inspiring, with loads of great information that we can use to continue the journey,
very supportive and fun;
-has helped bring foggy thoughts into a concrete vision that I will now consciously set about creating, with the wisdom, knowledge and input from others in the Living Smart community;
-makes me happy and reminds me why I think what I think and do the job that I do;
-came and just the right time as I needed to “do something” and the course prompted
me to do several things;
-rocked my world! I loved the sense of community here and coming together every
week to share and inspire.
For more information about Living Smart and courses near you, go to www.livingsmart.org.au or contact Shani on email@example.com