As a Ukrainian-American and a world traveler, Vira Salzburn recognizes the importance of overcoming cultural barriers and connecting with others for making a meaningful difference on personal, organizational, and community levels. Over the 10 years she has lived in the U.S., Vira has had the privilege of volunteering as an interpreter and a liaison between Ukrainian orphaned children and American adoptive families, which has greatly impacted her perception of compassion and servanthood and helped her better understand the true meaning behind the idea of “changing the world one life at a time”. In her TEDx Talk: How to make hearts dance again, she shares the powerful story of her Ukrainian grandmother’s act of self-compassion and her own healing.
Today, as Program Director for Safety and Resilience programs at Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council, one of Resilient Georgia’s lead regional partners in Coastal Georgia, Vira is a very talented trainer with whom we work closely to deliver Mindful Self Compassion, Community Resiliency Model and other mental health and resilience trainings to communities across Georgia.
Her worldly experience is bolstered by a long list of credentials. She earned a Master of Science degree in Management, Organizational Behavior & Leadership from Troy University and a bachelor’s degree in humanities from Auburn University, Montgomery. Vira is a Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training Master Trainer, Mental Health First Aid, Community Resiliency Model and SafeTALK Trainer, Certified Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness and Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Instructor. She is also trained in the Search Inside Yourself program of Google Leadership Institute and Trauma Informed Coaching.
Vira led the development of the upstream suicide prevention approach that uses evidence-based Mindful-Self Compassion programming for building resilience and enhancing emotional wellbeing. She is a public speaker on suicide prevention, resilience, mindfulness, and self-compassion and has presented at multiple local, state, and national conferences and symposia.
In March 2022, in partnership with the Trauma Resource Institute, she helped launch an ongoing resiliency-support effort for the Ukrainian people during the war with daily Facebook Live drop-in meetings and Community Resiliency Model webinars.
Vira is a wonderful facilitator with the calmest demeanor and always exudes kindness. Her day long Mindful Self Compassion training has benefitted the Resilient Georgia staff immensely. Constantly talking, learning and working to prevent ACEs and trauma can be rough. This training really helped us learn to quiet our inner critic and recognize how taxing this work can be. More than a year later, I can still hear Vira’s gentle voice in my head reminding me to be kinder to myself and to do what I can to better support my needs. Our team is not alone in benefitting from Vira’s training. In Fall 2021, she delivered Mindful Self Compassion training to 82 early care professionals in Georgia and received overwhelming positive feedback – post course evaluation results show that all (100%) participants felt that she explained concepts clearly, was well organized in delivering the content and embodied mindfulness and compassion in her teaching style.
Vira has delivered trainings to thousands of youth and adults, community members and professionals alike, over the years. The 12 sector communities she reaches with this crucial information are parents and caregivers, schools, faith communities, first responders, health care providers, juvenile justice systems, early childhood education professionals, businesses, youth, public health, youth-serving, social service and community-based organizations. In April 2022 alone, she reported having trained 200 individuals, including psychology doctoral students, parents, teachers, community nonprofit staff and more.
We are fortunate to have Vira’s compassion, kindness and leadership in this space. She has truly devoted her time, talents and energy to improving the wellbeing of others.