- Extensive experience creating and presenting classes, seminars, multi-segment courses, multi-day workshops, and entire curricula for audiences ranging from at-risk youth to highly trained professionals on topics of mental health, personal growth, professional development, substance abuse prevention and treatment, healthy families and communities.
- Business owner.
- Published author on educational, personal and professional development topics.
- Work-related experience in university administration and retail management.
- Work-related experience in 501(c)(3) nonprofit agencies (10 years).
- Work-related experience in book editing and graphic arts (7 years).
- Work-related experience in substance abuse prevention and treatment (5 years).
- Public school teaching experience: 4 years fulltime, elementary; 4 years part-time, middle school; 4 years part-time, college.
EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATION
- Master of Education in counseling, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, Louisiana.
- National Certified Counselor (NCC #87111, Ret.).
- Graduate-level course work in clinical psychology, Antioch University, Los Angeles, California.
- Teaching Credential, California Standard Secondary / K-12 specialist (lifetime).
- Graduate-level course work (abt) in music education, Humboldt State University, Arcata, California.
- Bachelor of Arts in music education (English minor), Humboldt State University.
- Numerous seminars on counselor skills, human development, personal management, and social interaction skills.
- Counselor in Training. Continuing education toward Louisiana Board Certified Substance Abuse Counselor license.
- Preventionist in Training. Continuing education toward Louisiana Certified Substance Abuse Preventionist license.
- “True Colors” Personality Types Presenter Certification, Level III, Covington, Louisiana.
- Certified Forgiveness Facilitator, Psychosynthesis International, Ojai, California.
- Certificate in Nonprofit Management, University of Nevada, Reno.
- Certificate in Grant Writing, Truckee Meadows Community College, Reno, Nevada.
- Various Spanish language and cultural immersion programs, including residential program in Guatemala.
FEEDBACK FROM SEMINAR PARTICIPANTS
The following are a few of many voluntary, anonymous comments that have been written on evaluation forms:
- “This session was worth the whole trip, including air fare!” (counselor; conference attendee)
- “Elly is so energetic.” (university student)
- “You really live what you teach.” (teacher)
- “Good points! Elly is an awesome speaker with a great sense of humor.” (university student)
- “The presenter was well prepared, used visual aids, provided handouts and educated our parents. Thanks!” (school counselor)
- “Speaker related very well to students. She got [them] very involved with simple visual aids.” (teacher)
- “She made everyone feel comfortable. I enjoyed her presentation the most.” (conference attendee)
- “Elly was fun, exciting, energetic, serious, to the point, and thorough.” (parent)
- “Elly is very enthusiastic and always willing to help!” (adult in substance abuse treatment)
- “Great job! I loved the [interactive teaching] example!” (teacher)
- “Shows concern and expertise in her field.” (parent)
- “I appreciate the wisdom you have.” (laborer)
- “This [workshop] was a profound and uplifting experience.” (teacher)
- “Very into the audience. Kept everyone’s attention. Please have her back next year.” (conference attendee)
- "Your program has a lot of constructive ideas and solutions. I enjoyed it.” (construction worker)
- “Couldn’t have had a better teacher. She’s very caring.” (parent)
- “You have a real blessing of insight. Please continue to share it.” (teacher)
- “The instructor was excellent. She made the topic very interesting. I’d love to take the class again. Thanks.” (parent)
- “Mrs. Darwin– dynamic, enjoyable speaker.” (teacher)
- “I want to know more about absolutely anything Elly presents.” (social worker)
- Born in Glendale, California. Grew up in San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. Also lived in various locales in Southern and Northern California, as well as in Nevada, Louisiana, and Colorado.
- Married. One adult stepdaughter and her family. Eight adult stepchildren (one deceased) from previous marriage. Three brothers and their families.
Just for fun, here are some of my favorites (and a few not-so):
“What a Wonderful World” (Louis Armstrong); “The Dance” (Garth Brooks); “Dream a Little Dream of Me” (“Mama” Cass Elliott); “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” (Bobby McFerrin); "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" (Roberta Flack).
Ella Fitzgerald; Pete Fountain; The Meters; 8½ Souvenirs; The Texas Tornados. Swing; Dixieland.
Movies (gosh, so many, but a few are):
“Tucker;” “The Sting;” “When Harry Met Sally;” “The Apostle;” “Big.”
Don’t watch much (and I never follow celebrity news) but currently enjoying "The Gilded Age" series. Some of my "oldies" favorites have been “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Frasier," "Mad Men," and "Modern Family." I enjoy various shows about natural science, and more recently, about social history. Favorite late-night go-to: HGTV.
Power vs. Force; Conversations with God series; Tuesdays With Morrie; Becoming; How to Know God; anything by Wayne Dyer (especially I Can See Clearly Now).
Humboldt County, California; San Diego area (especially Coronado Island and Point Loma tide pools); Sedona, Arizona; several of our national parks.
Golden Gate Bridge; Empire State Building.
Chocolate; crawfish pie; shrimp dishes; carrot cake; good-quality Mexican food. (Don’t care for: fried, greasy, or heavily processed foods; 4-legged meats.)
German shepherds, dolphins and whales; wolves; cardinals (and a shout-out to beloved pets past and present: Tootsie, Mama Kitty, Ginger, Boots, Bravo, Bernie, Mikki, and Dolly).
Giant redwood trees; dogwood trees; azaleas and rhododendrons; gardenias; wisteria; giant oaks with Spanish moss; lily of the Nile; jasmine; coleus.
Hobbies and Pastimes:
Gardening; playing softball; watching baseball; reading personal growth books; enjoying my patio; walking my dog and greeting other dog walkers and gardeners along the way.
Mentors, Heroes, and Favorite People:
Tony Armenta; Ellis W. Cline, Sr.; Edith R. Stauffer; Wayne Dyer; Mahatma Gandhi; Ola Scott; Val Phillips; Dolly Brannen; Mary Piastro.
Events That Have Had a Major Impact on My Life:
Civil Rights Movement (1960s); counseling; learning how to forgive; marrying Tony; getting my master’s degree; Hurricane Katrina (and a few truly awful ones that will go unnamed).
Things That Make Me Happy:
Seeing someone break through difficulty; working in my yard; petting a dog or cat; having wonderful friends; spending time with my grandnieces and granddaughters; driving my Miata with the top down; my marriage; spiritual time.
Things That Make Me Sad:
Violence; verbal abuse; bigotry; cruelty; people who don’t know how to love themselves and respect others; addiction; more money going into war than into preventing it.
Cigarettes; littering; arrogance; inappropriate noise; cell phones ringing in inappropriate places (and having the audacity to take the call instead of turning it off!); computer formats labeled “landscape” and “portrait” instead of “horizontal” and “vertical” (and they wonder why we need more funding for art education!); saying “literally” when you really mean figuratively.
“I know God will not give me more than I can handle, but sometimes I wish he didn’t trust me so much.” - Mother Teresa
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” - Will Rogers
“There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” – Ansel Adams
“What makes you a good counselor is the extent to which you’re willing to work on yourself.” – Ellis W. Cline, Sr.
“Everything we do is either an act of love or a cry for love.” – Marianne Williamson
“When your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme.” – Jiminy Cricket