Karen Jull has the unique ability to sparkle when entering a room and incite people (of all ages) to listen to whatever she has to share. Karen spent 20 years as a high end food developer, where she launched thousands of healthy products. Karen decided to go back to school in Italy to earn her Masters in Food Communication and Sustainability at UNISG - University of Gastronomic Science. She embodies the Slow Food movement principles of good, clean and fair. Karen graduated in Women Studies at York University, has her teaching certificate in the Iyengar method of Hatha Yoga and a yoga kids teachers certificate.
“I believe that with every quality food product offered one can make a difference”.
Paola Dotta has an ageless personality which kids naturally relate to. She's part grown up, but also has strong kid-currents pumping through her veins. Kids immediately pick up on this super power. Born in an agricultural town in Northern Italy, where the slow food movement began, Paola embodies living close to the earth. She is passionate about sourcing and eating quality local whole food and sharing it with others. Educating and learning alongside children is what makes her tick. She is fluent in English and Italian and has been teaching and practicing yoga, circus and dance for the last 15 years and continuously studies the connection between mind and body. She has her Asthanga yoga teachers certificate and is a mindful educator.
“Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.”
- Eckhart Tolle
KAREN & PAOLA met in 2015 in Bra, Italy; the birthplace of the slow food movement. Karen and her two children moved from Toronto. Her goal was to obtain a master's degree in sustainable food at UNISG, and the hidden treasure was that her boys became fully immersed in Italian public school and a different way of living.
Paola grew up in Bra with her family and her three nephews. Karen and Paola met at a yoga studio in Bra where she was managing and teaching classes.
When the two women met, it was the "perfect storm". They were astounded at the common passions they shared with the interconnectedness of food, mindfulness and yoga. They were both inspired by the power and possibility of the kids in their lives, and wanted to explore what was out there to further nurture the 5 boys. They wanted them to learn vital skills to lead a healthy and confident life.
This realization gave birth to a year long mission to create Hi Five For Life. Karen and Paola have designed a truly unique set of life-changing programs for children ages 9-13 to develop habits to nourish their body and mind. They brought elements of Bra, Italy back to Canada. Their programs are rooted in a slower lifestyle, taking more time for self care and highlighting the importance of connecting with community.
MEET OUR SUPPORTERS & PARTNERS
HOPE PATERSON - Voice coach
For the past 15 years, Hope has been an agent of innovation for organizations driven to make creative brand engagement a priority. She enables entrepreneurs and businesses to find their voice, plot a path, stay on track with goals and cultivate their unique spark. She's the emotionally intelligent "super support" who thrives on keeping people accountable.
"Our kids need a dose of sparkly inspiration from the right people. Paola and Karen are committed to doing just that. Their special blend of sharing practical tools with a supportive and spectacularly fun spirit is the perfect concoction for growing kids. They infuse kids with the confidence to consider how to develop their own life long healthy habits. How incredible and needed is that? I've witnessed them making a difference just by walking into a room full of kids. Paola and Karen ARE ALL IN and the kids see it. I have been honoured to be their voice coach—to help to nudge their powerful personality and offering out into the world. Go Hi Five For Kids!"
JAMIE MILROY - Principal at Voice Integrative School
Voice Integrative School offers a holistic, all-encompassing, and integrative education for students in grades 1 through 8. VIS fosters a strong sense of belonging and offers a rigorous academic program infused with critical thinking, relevance, and real-life contexts. We experienced this first hand through our Hi Five For Life Pilot program for Grades 4 & 5; a complimentary learning environment that promotes academic challenge, personal leadership, responsible citizenship and the skills needed to learn for life. The students appreciated a class where self care was the focus that they could put into action.
"It was a delight to have Hi Five For Life come to our school and lead yoga workshops as well as a mind-body approach to nutrition. Our students were engaged, learning about themselves and the curriculum in innovative ways. Highly recommended!"
CATHIE WEBB - Director of School Operations at Voice Integrative School
Cathie is a Living History and Drama teacher at VIS. With her energy and enthusiasm, she inspires kids by teaching in character, and turns them into living historians by integrating role-play and engagement with historical events. She has been a key supporter of Our Hi Five For life program incorporating Acro yoga team work into VIS's school play and gives the gift of breathing and meditation to her students facing their first exams.
LULU COHEN-FARNELL - Founder of Real Food For Real Kids
Real Food for Real Kids is a healthy catering company for kids and their mission is to enable and inspire a lifetime of healthy eating and to have a great time doing it! Lulu has inspired us for many years with her fight to access the best food possible for our children and for first hand knowledge of what resonates with kids when it comes to food choices. Her experience has been our guiding light when it comes to food education.
SUSAN RICHARDSON - Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher & Children's Piano Teacher
Susan teaches mindful movement inspired by over two decades of practicing the teachings of BKS Iyengar and has travelled to the Himalayas practicing meditation and mindfulness. She encourages students to connect to their understanding of their body and to explore a broad range of yoga postures in a creative way. She also has her ARCT in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music, and is an Elementary Specialist in Piano Pedagogy. She inspires us to think outside the box and expand our reach to incorporate mindful practices in our everyday approach and sensitivity to kids learning through sound and body awareness.
STACEY SHILLINGTON - Naturapathic Doctor & Founder of Naturapathic beauty
Stacey's soul-searching, education and research on stress and mind-body medicine, and how it related to overall health has inspired us greatly. Her expertise has evolved to develop a natural Clear Skin Program, which hinges upon developing practices to live a healthy lifestyle. This can be an important pre-adolesent concern and managing stress is a vital component in solving health issues.
WENDY MAH - Sustainable Food System Professor at George Brown College
Wendy Mah is a passionate member of the slow food movement championing the slow food principles of Good clean and fair. She is actively working with food professionals to develop more sustaineable food practices.
“Hi Five For Life embraces the core values of leading a full and healthy life, and more importantly, they are sharing their passion and knowledge with children. It is inspiring to see such devotion put into the well-being of the next generation through such a holistic and complete approach. I love that there is focus on food too because our current world is far too disconnected with food, what Paola and Karen are doing is attempting to re-connect to this basic need by starting at the beginning!”
CATHERINE CACHIA - Family Photographer and logo designer
Catherine is a fantastic documentary-style storyteller for silly and affectionate families who want to remember the beautifully imperfect moments. She captured our teaching and our students "live" in action capturing our 5 seeds of our program! Catherine has a gift and an eye for capturing authenticity and meaningful moments.
"I had the unique privilege of providing both the photography and logo for the Hi Five website. The Hi Five principles resonate greatly with me, especially as a parent, and the fact that this program exists for children today gives me greater hope for the future. Such a pleasure working with both Karen and Paola and the kids."
GRACE IELAPI - Circus teacher and facilitator, artist, aerialist and model
Grace is the founder of UP Circus School in Bra, Italy. Over time, she has created a unique, safe, and homy environment for kids (3 and up) and adults of all ages. Every year, she puts together spectacular and impactful recitals where every student is involved performing multiple disciplines. Through circus activities, music, dance and self-expression, Grace gives her students the opportunity to explore themselves on a deeper lever, to connect with their potential and their weaknesses. Paola created and taught the yoga and meditation program at Up Circus school. Grace's passion and love for kids and the arts have been a huge inspiration for Paola and Karen and they continue to collaborate together.