Tag: Move to Heal

Sydney Bartunek Bender

What is the story related to mental health, suicide, and/or resilience that you’d like to share? 

At times growing up I’ve needed to take a breath.  

I had many adverse childhood experiences: Divorce, relatives struggling with alcoholism and drug use, relatives dying by suicide, violence in the home, becoming a primary caregiver for my dad at 17 years old, and experiencing his death 10 years later. 

I’ve endured trauma, pain, and panic attacks, and I know I am not alone. 


What resources have helped you to address this challenge? 

It’s often through our own experiences that we find ways to serve others. I grew up dancing and was able to use movement to help me process those times that I felt completely numb—then when things felt unbearable in college is when I found mindfulness, yoga, and meditation.  

These are the techniques I wanted to share through Move To Heal South Dakota, a 501c3 nonprofit organization I founded in December 2019. 


Based on your experience, how can we work to build resilience in ourselves, our loved ones, and in our communities to better face life’s challenges? 

My experience is based in using movement and mindfulness to overcome adversity and build resilience.  

At Move To Heal SD, our goal is to help children live to their full potential, and we’ve found the best way to do that is by providing access to professional development opportunities and education to those teachers, coaches, counselors, and afterschool providers who are most connected to the children we want to reach.  

 We also bring movement and mindfulness opportunities directly to underserved populations at afterschool programs such as Sioux Falls Thrive’s Kidlink Riverside Program.  

 In addition, we train and certify teachers, coaches, counselors and afterschool providers at partnering organizations, so they can become equipped to confidently share mind-body practices within their networks.   


What is one thing related to mental health, suicide, or resilience that you wish everyone could understand? 

You’re not alone. There is hope.