A multicultural counseling service at Orange Coast College is available to help students attain success in higher education, including post-graduate degrees and opportunities to learn life skills necessary for optimal success.

Counseling Latin@s for Equity and Engagement at Orange Coast College hosted its own CLEEO 6.0 Art Exhibition last week, showcasing a slew of events addressing themes pertinent to the Chicanx community in American society.

The CLEEO 6.0 event included interactive presentation “Authoring the Magical Mindful Day: Developing Compassion and Creativity in Your Life” by author, artist and mindfulness instructor, psychotherapist Deborah Salazar-Shapiro.

Amidst a room filled with OCC students from all walks of life, Salazar-Shapiro shared her personal story, beginning with her early childhood in war-torn city San Salvador, El Salvador, to witnessing domestic violence against her mother.

“When I was 5 years old, I heard a bomb detonate close to my home,” Salazar-Shapiro said. “I remember wearing a light blue dress and covering my ears and waiting for someone to come and get me. That was my first encounter with fear.”

Soon after the bombing, her family moved to Mexico, hoping her father would find better opportunities there.

“During the three years we lived in Chiapas, Mexico, I witnessed domestic violence and family betrayal,” Salazar-Shapiro said. “And I almost lost my mother to a severe illness.”

Cumulative traumatic events led Salazar-Shapiro toward a journey of self-discovery, healing, creative arts and higher education.  

Destined to help others, she pursued a degree in psychology from the Dr. José Matías Delgado University in San Salvador and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California.

During the self-compassion workshop, students participated in a mindfulness exercise led by Salazar-Shapiro.

Referred to as a “self-compassion break,” students were guided though an eight-minute meditation that included participants saying to themselves, “may I learn to accept myself as I am” and “I am not alone. Others are just like me.”

Salazar-Shapiro is the author of an award-winning bilingual children’s book titled “The Magical Mindful Day.” She brought 15 complimentary Spanish language editions of her book for those who wanted one and personally signed them after the workshop.

The CLEEO 6.0 summit also featured art exhibits by local artists Gloria Sanchez, Heriberto Luna, Jennifer Guiterrez-Morgan and Abel Rodriguez.  

Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA David E. Hayes-Bautista, is set to speak Thursday about his struggles with how he Latino Double Imposter Syndrome fueled his academic career.

The exhibit “Dr. José Matías Delgado University” will be on view until Thursday at the OCC Multicultural Center.

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