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Yes to Life - 2022

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More Details on Four Program Elements

1. Monthly Gathering     We meets as a whole on the second Saturday of each month, 10am to 1pm, Eastern time, via Zoom, with facilitators, Janine Harris Degitz, Steve Tumolo, and a team of assistants. Each main session includes stillness, input and reflections from the facilitators around the theme, the introduction of practices that cultivate skills related to the theme, and dialogue.

2. Practice Sessions     In between each main session, two monthly practice sessions will be facilitated by assistants. These will continue to cultivate the skills and capacities introduced in the main sessions. They are also a place where support and a growing sense of connection and clarity can be experienced. Participants commit to participating in at least one of these practice sessions each month.

3. Empathy Buddies     Participants will partner with one or more empathy buddies of their choosing throughout the journey. Empathy buddies meet at least once a month for further practice and mutual support.

4. Developing Your Own Practices     A key to the program is identifying one's own spiritual practice. Yes to Life facilitators, assistants and participants support one another in naming and playing with a practices that support our desires to connect, be present, and be a healing presence in the world.

The program asks a commitment to participate in the eight Saturday sessions, in one practice session per month, one empathy buddy call per month, and ongoing practice. This offers a minimum of 40 hours of training, with the opportunity for much more.

Dates and Times


The main sessions are the second Saturday of the month:

May 14, June 11, July 9, August 13, September 10, October 8, November 12, and December 10. The December session is a celebration and orientation forward and is not be followed by practice sessions.


The dates and times of the two practice sessions will be determined in dialogue with participants. Yes to Life participants commit to engaging in at least one of these practice sessions each month.


Our hope is for more offerings in 2023, including in-person offerings.


About our Requested Fees

To break-even, Heart to Heart needs between $490 and $700 per participant. The fee range is a request and what each person pays is amount that they choose.

We are committed to sustainability and to making this program available for people who have been marginalized, who serve those marginalized, and those who often have limited access to transformative learning in community such as this. If you can pay beyond the break-even point, thank you. This will help others participate. If you need to pay less, know you are most welcome. Please consider your own needs, the value of what Yes to Life offers you, and the sustainability needs of Heart to Heart. Thank you.

If you have any questions about registration, fees, or the program in general, contact Deborah Diggs, Operations Manager


Yes to Life Goals

1. Growing in Essential Skills for Life in Relationship

Yes to Life is a journey together in which we cultivate the skills needed to compassionately present to ourselves and others in challenging moments and trying times. In doing so, we hope to be increasingly equipped to be a healing presence in the world.


Yes to Life is inspired by Robert Gonzales’ LIFE program and was pioneered in 2017 by two students of Robert, Janine and Steve. Yes to Life, like all Heart to Heart programs, helps people develop the MEDC skills of Mindfulness, Empathy, Decision-making and Conflict transformation. We do this by integrating Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication, Robert Gonzales’ Living Compassion, the embodied awareness of Philip Shepherd’s Radical Wholeness, the trauma-informed work of Dr. Peter Levine, Ignatian Spirituality, Servant Leadership, restorative justice, and Peter Block’s principles for community engagement.


2. Preparing Present and Future Heart to Heart Trainers and Assistants

Yes to Life models training leadership for current and potential Heart to Heart trainers. Yes to Life supports all learners, including those who are interested in becoming a Heart to Heart trainer. Heart to Heart trainers work in prisons, halfway houses, recovery centers, schools, and communities of faith.

If you are interested in becoming a Heart to Heart trainer, let Deborah Diggs know!

3. Engaging diverse learning community, including those often marginalized with less access to life-transforming learning such as this.


All are welcome to Yes to Life. And, Heart to Heart has a special commitment to making Yes to Life available for:

  • Returning citizens and others affected by the incarceration of a loved one;

  • Parents and caregivers, especially those affected by trauma or incarceration;

  • Staff of agencies working with those in recovery and/or those affected by trauma or incarceration;

  • Heart to Heart volunteers, assistants, trainers and potential trainers;

  • People wanting to live in harmony with the earth and respond to the earth’s cry for healing; and,

  • Young adults.



Prior to the launching of the program in May, four sample sessions, Heart to Heart Saturdays, will be offered March 5 and 26, April 9 and 30. Each session will have a distinct theme and will be held from 10am to 11:30am ET. Learn more and Register for one or all of these Heart to Heart sample sessions


About the Trainers

Janine Harris Degitz has been studying Nonviolent Communication (NVC) since 2005 with a primary focus on Robert Gonzales's work of Living Compassion. She is a graduate of Robert's 2009-2010 LIFE program and was an assistant for Robert in the 2012-2013 LIFE program in Portland, OR.  She was deeply inspired by Robert's embodiment of living compassion and has spent over 700 hours practicing and supporting Robert and his work. In addition to teaching and learning NVC, Janine is a certified facilitator with the MNDFL 3.0 certification program. Janine’s deep commitment to building relationships led her to  co-create a community based program called Honest Dialogue - with the goal of bringing community care, social justice and equity into relationships at work, school, families and communities. She holds a Master’s degree in Restorative Practices from the International Institute for Restorative Practices. Janine also teaches mindfulness, biodynamic beekeeping, resilience-based trauma responsive care, reiki and Urban Zen Mindfulness and Movement. She lives in Columbus Ohio with her life partner, two adult children, faithful dog and several hives of bees. 

Steve Tumolo is an educator who accompanies learners through transitional and transformational moments of their lives. He brings together Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication, Christian faith, and the body’s natural capacity for healing. He is Theology teacher at Fontbonne Academy, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, T’ai Chi Chih instructor, and certified trainer for the Center for Nonviolent Communication. Steve has a master’s degree in theology from the Maryknoll School of Theology and is a PhD candidate in leadership at Gonzaga University. Steve’s work with incarcerated men and women has been featured in NBC News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and New Jersey Monthly. He is the recipient of the Elizabeth Ann Bogert Memorial Award for the Study and Practice of Christian Mysticism and the Environmental Achievement Award from the US Environmental Protection Agency. He lives on Boston’s South Shore with his wife Julene.

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