Shayla Hayward-Lundy combines many elements in her work as an art therapist for veterans and military families. Her love of art was nurtured at Bloomingdale and she studied art in college at CUNY and continues to do her own artistic work. Her master’s degree in art therapy and counseling is from Eastern Virginia Medical School and she is now in graduate school for a degree in Applied Neuroscience. Another facet of her education is her yoga studies: she is a registered yoga teacher “…with specialized training in trauma-informed yoga, mindfulness techniques, working with military and veteran populations, and adaptive yoga. Combining holistic and clinical experiences enables me to provide patients and communities with a unique and integrative approach to healing and wellness.”
Shayla came to Bloomingdale on the recommendation of her father’s aunt, long-time Bloomingdale teacher Betty Lewis. This is what her mother, Anna Hayward, remembers, “the program was wonderful for the 2 years that Shayla participated, she developed such a loving bond with all the teachers and staff and it made it possible for me and her father to both finish school. Bloomingdale was a big part of our lives and we felt such great support while we were there. It also gave Shayla, who was a shy child, a great start to school and feeling confident in the classroom.” Shayla herself has visual memories of the classroom, and says, “In my studies, I’ve discovered that our brains are remarkable at storing sensory memories. I vividly recall the classroom layout at Bloomingdale, the delightful aroma and vibrant colors of the flowers outside, and even the tiny red clover mites crawling on the concrete.” Her teachers, Becky Green and Fidelina Flete, remember her intelligence and ability to express her feelings. After Bloomingdale, Shayla and her family moved to a military community just before September 11th, and the frequent moves of a military life “…shaped me and fueled my dedication to supporting this community’s unique mental health challenges.”
It started with art, and led to heart and mind, and Shayla is doing so much to benefit the people she works with. We are very proud to have been part of her start.