We had the good fortune of connecting with Heidi Whitehead and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heidi, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Almost a decade ago, I was immersed in a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, spending a lot of time sitting quietly in meditation. That’s when I recognized that I didn’t want to return to a classroom setting. I wanted to find a way to stay home with my young daughter and be available for my sons, who were in elementary at that time and needed to be driven to and from school and their after school activities.
I had been teaching in some incredibly dynamic and innovative schools and wanted to continue working with children in a meaningful, rich way. I was ready to create something that would allow me to live a fulfilling and flexible lifestyle. I dedicated time to dreaming and intentionally designing the early childhood program that I would want for my own child.
I knew that there was a demand for the program I imagined, and I trusted that the families who wanted what I could offer would find me. And they did.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I enroll families in my program, and together, we grow community. We foster deep, caring relationships and practice seeing each other as part of one human family. The early childhood experience at The Friendship Garden is playful, joyful and adventurous. We practice yoga, meditate, create art, imagine and learn restorative practices for conflict resolution.
Families return to the community, year after year, forging lasting friendships. The children come back for summer camp, as they grow through childhood. We spend time together each summer, camping and enjoying nature.
The past year has temporarily dampened the intergenerational aspect of the program. We are so excited to get back to our visits with the elders. We were going twice a week and for special events and celebrations before the pandemic. We have continued our connection with the grand-friends through drive by parades, letters, pictures, zoom calls and holiday gifts. Though it’s not the same, we hope they know we love and miss them.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Crush Walls for a walking mural tour in RiNo.
The Clocktower for a show.
Summer– Levitt Pavilion for free concerts
Bear Creek Lake for paddle boarding
Taste of Thailand or Farmhouse Thai Eatery (or J’s Noodles…or Thai Pot Cafe). We eat a lot of Thai food
A gallery walk through Santa Fe Arts District and Museo de las Americas
The Fleischer Family Farm in Lakewood
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shereen Hill is doing incredible work, helping white folks become aware of and dismantle their own racial bias and work to be active anti-racists, here in Denver, through her nonprofit, DEI Council (Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity). DEICouncil@comcast.net