High Altitude Society: Literacy Project welcomes Amanda Enayati | VailDaily.com

High Altitude Society: Literacy Project welcomes Amanda Enayati

Betty Ann Woodland
High Altitude Society

On Thursday afternoon at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, the Literacy Project of Eagle County held its 14th annual luncheon and hosted guest speaker Amanda Enayati. Enayati shared ideas for reducing stress in one's life and ideas for increased health and happiness. She is a credible source of information regarding stress, as she has lived with it throughout her life. Enayati was a child refugee following the Iranian Revolution and had to move constantly over a handful of years. She moved to and grew up in Los Angeles, went to law school back East and became a big firm lawyer with an incredibly stressful career. She even compared the stress of being a refugee with the stress of being a lawyer.

Enayati stood and saw "a direct and horrifying view of the twin towers as they collapsed one after the other" on 9/11. This triggered post traumatic stress in her, which she eventually overcame. Years later she started a family and moved to San Francisco. Enayati then struggled with a harrowing cancer diagnosis.

"A stressor is a anything that knocks you out of balance … so, you see, in a sense, I was born to be a stress columnist," Enayati said.

Enayati, who looks at practical applications for dealing with stress, applauded the Literacy Project for its work in the community offering free assistance in acquiring the literacy and English skills needed to function more effectively in everyday life.

"As a stress researcher, I am interested in a practical application of loving kindness as a stress reducer. The Literacy Project is a powerful example of practical love, kindness and service and shares the power of story and voice. Life can be stressful. What is the lifeline? The lifeline is the narrative. The lifeline is literacy," Enayati said.

A heartfelt tribute by the Literacy Project's Sloan Munter to Scherazada Milfeld, who was her first student 20 years ago, was not lost on this crowd. Milfeld is now a GED teacher at Colorado Mountain College and the editor of Vail en Espanol magazine.

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"Scherazada has so many accomplishments and is so driven and passionate. She has gotten herself to where she is today'" Munter said.

'VALLEYS OF RELAXATION'

When asked to provide feedback regarding the 14th annual Literacy Project Luncheon, attendee Amy Gornikiewicz shared: "The Literacy Project turns 25 this year, a true testament to the commitment of director Colleen Gray and her staff, and also a reflection of a community dedicated to the support of literacy. It was heartwarming to hear the stories of those whose lives have been changed by the many programs offered by the Literacy Project. One of the many takeaways from (Enayati's) talk was the need to create valleys of relaxation among the peaks of stress occurring in our daily lives. I certainly found respite in spending time with a group loyal to enhancing lives through improving literacy."

Colleen Gray thanked all the sponsors, board members, volunteers, attendees and staff for their contributions. There was a special thanks to Cookie Flaum, who donated the beautiful flower arrangements from Petals of Provence.

ABOUT THE LITERACY PROJECT

For more information on the Literacy Project and its many programs, including Study Friends, Math Tutorial and ESL, please visit http://www.literacy projecteaglecounty.org.

Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including fundraisers, local happenings and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at highaltitudesociety@vaildaily.com.