Meet a TCC youth instructor, Renee Kleck
‘These are skills our youth, and parents, need for life’
About two decades ago, Renee Kleck was a teacher navigating adoption, single parenthood, and parenting a child with mental health diagnoses. “I was looking for something to make parenting not hurt so much,” she recalled. “That’s how I found mindfulness.”
Soon, Kleck began to weave the emotional health strategies she was learning into her classroom. “It became my passion,” she said. Now a SEL, or social and emotional learning, teacher at Global Village Academy, she has led mindfulness workshops, book clubs and parent support groups for more than a decade and has served as an adjunct instructor at The Conflict Center since 2018.
Kleck especially loves leading TCC’s “Managing Conflict and Anger Effectively” class series for youth. Youth classes, whether in person or online, are capped at about eight students and encourage healthy interaction. “One of the things I love about the youth class is that the youth get to connect,” Kleck said. “I talk to them about circles of support, and there’s an example right before their eyes.” While parents attend every other class of the eight-week course, “students naturally interact with each other and learn from each other,” she said. “They get each other. They’re exchanging phone numbers by the end.”
Kleck appreciates that TCC equips and supports people from all walks of life. “I really enjoy bringing mindfulness and peaceful parenting to regular, everyday people who don’t necessarily have the privilege of access to mindfulness classes,” she said.
As TCC encourages its instructors to draw on their individual strengths, Kleck flavors her classes with a bit of neuroscience. “The more we understand about how our brains are affecting our behavior, it allows us to have more compassion for ourselves, which then leads to a happier, more peaceful life,” she said. She helps her students learn to “Stop, Think, and Choose,” one of the key components of the TCC curriculum, giving students time to make a rational choice when aroused by anger. “Generally, that is taking the breath, which, I like to tell students, is free, and we always have it with us,” she explained.
Kleck’s compassionate approach to youth and parenting is founded in experience. “I wish I would have signed my son and me up for a youth and family class like this years ago,” she said. “It would have been a really good introduction to a lot of these topics, like making choices, negotiation and using ‘I statements.’ These classes are non-therapeutic – we don’t have a therapy atmosphere – and parents and youth are able to get these concepts in a supportive environment. TCC is an awesome place.”
To register for a TCC class or to learn more about how to manage conflict effectively, visit click here.