June Lucarotti MFA, CYT-200 has facilitated writing and meditation workshops for over 13 years individually and at CU’s Wesley Foundation, Glide Foundation, UC Berkeley, Community College of San Francisco, Oakland Unified High Schools, Naropa University, Suitcase Clinic, the Women’s Day-Time Drop-In Center, Originateve, Soul Tree Yoga, Love Shovel, JCCSF, Costa Rica’s Aventuras Naturales, and the Boulder Valley School District.June has a BA in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley with experience working in mental health. She has an MFA in Writing & Poetics from Buddhist-inspired Naropa University and is a certified yoga instructor (200 hours) from Soul Tree Yoga studio.
While working in case management, recovery circles, and education, she experienced and witnessed a severe need for service professionals to employ the same self-care they recommended for their students & clients. Meditation & writing were the practices that truly saved and inspired her. Vola Sessions seeks to facilitate self-care for service professionals and other vital community members so they can better serve others. Sessions are non-denominational, down-to-earth, and co-created with clients.
Vola Sessions is: online, bilingual in Spanish & English, environmentally friendly, confidential, culturally competent and inclusive of age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, income, and geographical location.
In the media: SI Genesis Article, Beyond Academia Free School, Poem in the Boulder Weekly, June’s LinkedIn Profile, Glide Foundation, Full Moon Reading: Boulder, The Women’s March: Boulder Poetry Tribe, The Lune & Naropa, JKS Review,
June’s DEI Statement:
Personal: My experience of diversity, equity, and inclusion is that of a cis-gender white woman and a secondary sexual abuse survivor, with diagnosed depression & anxiety. I grew up poor and in low-income housing in the heart of San Francisco, California. I am a queer ally. I am also highly educated, having attended a prestigious high school, college, and graduate program. I also grew up in 3 religions with 10 years of Catholic school, 10 years of Jewish summer camp and later 6 years of Jewish professional work, and studied Zen Buddhist meditation with my father at the San Francisco Zen Center. I hold many privileges and also have experienced many adversities. Dancing through these spaces (and sometimes fumbling through them) has been deeply important to me since childhood, beginning with writing poetry on homelessness, as unhoused persons in SF were always at eye-level.
Professional: I became acutely aware of my desire to connect on a deep level with all humans, with various identities sometimes as a vehicle for this, in my studies of Social Welfare & Creative Writing at UC Berkeley. Inspired by my mental health work at Glide Church, my undergraduate thesis focused on spirituality as a means to decrease attrition rates for African American mental health patients and my work in Oakland schools teaching poetry won a community service award. My graduate thesis was focused on the portrayal of disability and diagnosis in young adult literature.
As part of my social work field work, I volunteered with Suitcase Clinic, the Women’s Daytime Dropin Center, Be’chol Lashon (an organization for diverse Jews), Poetry for the People at UC Berkeley, taught in the Oakland school district, and later Glide Foundation/Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco. The goal of many of these organizations was and is to foster beloved community, a deep-seeded mission now in my own heart.
At Glide Church, I ran the youth contingent of the MLK speech writing workshop at City Hall, facilitated recovery circles while in my own recovery, and worked in mental health triage and crisis case management for unhoused people. I have also studied, lived, and worked in Costa Rica with indigenous communities. I worked as a Spanish bilingual paraeducator in the special needs department and as an enrichment program director at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco and the Boulder Valley School district for a total of 10 years.
I am committed to consistently navigating power dynamics, inspired by Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and believe that my predominantly Latinx elementary students taught me much more than I did them. I sometimes still teach yoga & storytelling as social-emotional tools in schools, in partnership with the counseling and enrichment departments. I have taught workshops at Front Range Community College across the last 5 years and have taught diversity focused poetry classes and workshops at UC Berkeley, Community College of San Francisco, Naropa University, and beyond.
Pedagogy: I founded and facilitate Vola Sessions, LLC, a social enterprise that houses the Birth Your Book program where I am a book coach & editor. Our mission is that all writers are heard. For Vola, this means that we specifically offer tools and practices for writers, particularly anyone who identifies as a woman, to write their books in community. These are often books that contain trauma, that have been difficult to write in isolation. We use the chakras as a somatic framework to write the book, write the body, and write the breath. The goal of the Birth Your Book book sales is to donate a portion to a Southeast Asian nonprofit. I am in process, as a U.S. yoga instructor, of unraveling my own participation in cultural appropriation and engaging in workshops with Susanna Barkataki, among others.
Vola has worked extensively with low-income participants through offering scholarships and with blind participants, as well as neurodiverse, racially diverse, and otherwise diverse writers. Vola hired a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion coach last year, began holding DEI discussions with alumni of the program, intentionally hires a diverse support team, outreaches to diverse groups of writers, and teaches from a constructive, collaborative framework where the students also become the teachers (and also contribute to the scholarship fund). Alumni will begin facilitating workshops and are encouraged to utilize buddy systems and community writing rooms to decentralize power in the community. A lot of this framework is inspired by Bell Hooks’ Teaching to Transgress and June Jordan’s Poetry for the People: A Revolutionary Blueprint. To address power dynamics, I always do the same exercises as my students. I must always be writing and learning with them.
Activism: I have been active in the Black Lives Matter movement, Pride events, the Women’s March, and RepresentUs, drawing new district voting lines so that all voices are heard.
Mentors: Lyna Nguyen, James Lin, Isoke Femi, Erik Ludwig, Marlene Cheatham
Note: All this being said, I believe the most important part of DEI work is a willingness to admit when we are wrong, to learn, and to grow. I am constantly making mistakes. And I am dedicated to the conversations and actions that it takes to clean up these mistakes and do better next time, always. We will never find equity and true inclusion if we cannot have open, honest, and humble discourse.