From Information to Freedom...
How It All Began!
The vision for i2f Institute for Holistic Living was conceived in the mid 1990’s by Annette out of her desire to help others. Ten years prior, Annette was beginning a focused journey of spiritual exploration. This journey led her down some very non-traditional paths that she found enormously empowering and fulfilling. However, most of the classes, workshops, events, etc. that she attended were quite costly and she knew that many of those who could benefit from them could not afford them. It was then that Annette began to ponder a way to bring her understanding, knowledge and experiences o the masses; to teach others to obtain INFORMATION and transform it into FREEDOM. In what she termed ‘the most thrilling epiphany’ of her life, the idea of INFORMATION TO FREEDOM Institute for Holistic Living was born.
In her own words she writes:
"Coming out of a 12-year marriage (preceded by a challenging childhood) and having had the first-hand experience of being a single parent while simultaneously attending graduate school for social work and working a full time job, I was keenly aware of the fact that I did not triumph over such obstacles without the enormous inner strength and focus that I developed through these experiences. However, the journey I pursued came at a cost of countless hours and thousands of dollars as I participated in intense individual and group counseling sessions; attended numerous help/self-empowerment /self-awakening retreats, seminars and workshops; engaged in a number of focus and support groups; and indulged in various studies in non-traditional philosophies as well as non-traditional healing modalities. My conscious journey on a spiritual path began when I was about 13 years old; and my spiritual path took many unforseen twists and turns. Some led to hurtful experiences; some to exhilarating and joyful experiences; some to other religions and spiritual teachings unlike any I had ever known. But all led to profound spiritual awakenings, and I KNOW they were ordered; and they culminated into a vision that is now known as the i2f Institute for Holistic Living. As a result of my powerful and beautiful spiritual experiences from such a wide array of teachings, I have concluded that there is no 'one' right path for all. Rather, there are many paths and we each have the glorious freedom to choose - even create - those that feel right for us! To me, it only stands to reason that if Source (by whatever name one chooses to refer to that which is infinite) is infinite, then the paths that lead to Source must also be infinite. After arriving at a place spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally where I felt my own power, it was always in my mind and heart to find a way to help others achieve self-empowerment - even if they did not have the financial means to assist them. In partnership with other dynamic individuals who saw and wanted to help bring my vision to fruition, the i2f Institute for Holistic Living was made a reality!" While this dream has taken years to materialize, its energy never diminished and in 2004, Annette met the exact right person to help bring it to fruition. However, this special and unique person developed a terminal illness and passed away before the creation was complete. This loss left Annette stunned, but the dream lived on. In fact, it grew even bigger and today it is a reality!
Annette’s personal mission statement is:
“to live my life in such a spiritually awakened state that nothing is impossible to me. To be an open vessel through which the essence of Source energy bountifully flows, revealing complete health and wholeness in my life and the lives of all whom I encounter.”
i2f Institute for Holistic Living, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization that is comprised of a well-designed group of individual practitioners who aim to provide a more holistic approach to those who seek personal empowerment. We do this by providing experiential learning opportunities to individuals, families, organizations and communities through our Experiential Empowerment Workshops©.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Annette D. Greene, LMSW
Founder, President & Executive Director
Annette explains that the Institute’s premise is that spiritual awakening is the path through which we can holistically understand and address issues of health and wellness (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual). She has been exploring the field of alternative approaches to healing for nearly 30 years and views the journey towards holistic living as a process that is initiated when one seeks to transform from unconscious to conscious living. From this state of awareness one is fully open and capable of living the wholeness of who they are.
Annette earned her undergraduate degree in Speech Pathology and graduate degree in Social Work from the University of Houston – Central Campus in 1983 and 1996 (respectively). She was ordained as a minister through the International Congregation of Spiritual Healers and Earth Stewards (SHES) in 2003 after completing the Lynn Andrews Center for Sacred Arts and Training – a spiritually unique school that operates from the premise that energy is the key to the degree of health and/or disease we experience in life. She believes that this energy vibrates in accordance with our individual point of view about the world and our place in it.
Annette has over 20 years of experience in all aspects of Child Welfare from frontline abuse/neglect investigation casework to intensive in-home family reunification casework. Nearly 10 of these years were in foster care and adoption which included training and licensing foster and adoptive homes, ongoing supervision of foster and adoptive homes, and the placement of children.
She is a RYT200 Kundalini YOGA teacher, Level 1 Qigong teacher, Trauma Informed YOGA Therapy Teacher (TIYT®) and a certified SOPHIA Circle Leader®.
Since 2007, Annette has been providing an array of social services as a Licensed Master Social Worker to Renal patients in dialysis clinics. In addition to the finest delivery of traditional social services, Annette’s goal is to inspire her patients to achieve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual support to live life from a place of empowerment.
Annette has also created workshops and seminars on such topics as parenting, teen suicide, women’s issues, and effectively setting and achieving goals. She was a certified trainer in the MAPP and PRIDE foster/adoption parenting curriculums.
Her love for children and belief in the human spirit resulted in Annette’s nearly 15 years of work as a counselor for youth and their families involved with the juvenile justice system. This love also led her to serve on the Houston Child Abuse Task Force, the Texas Legislative Steering Committee for Minority Adoptions, and the National One Church One Child Advisory Board – entities that help prevent child abuse and promote minority adoptions.
For nearly 4 years, Annette was a therapist for an in-patient and partial-hospitalization drug and alcohol prevention organization (DAPA) working with dually-diagnosed adults with mental illness and substance abuse.
As a member of the MANATAKA American Indian Council, Annette was a member of the web-based Counseling Assistance Committee for more than 10 years and provided free spiritual counseling services to the organizations’ members and guests.
Annette is a published author of two books – Soothing the Heart: Inspirations Along Life’s Sacred Journey (which features some of her own landscape photography and America’s Black Self-Made Millionaires & Their Secrets to Success; and a journal article (Whistle-blowing in Social Work: Guidelines for the Agency and the Practitioner) in the premiere journal of Social Work and has published articles in local and national magazines and newsletters (i.e., Black Business Houston Magazine; PROMISE Magazine; The Association of Black Social Workers – Houston Chapter Newsletter). She served as lead editor for Black Business Houston Magazine for three years and co-editor for the Association of Black Social Workers – Houston Chapter Newsletter for 10 years.
Charles W. Simmons, Ph.D.
A native of Baltimore, Dr. Simmons is a graduate of the Union Graduate School where he earned his Ph.D. in Administration of Higher Education in 1978. Post Doctoral Studies include Educational Management at Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Institute for Educational Management. He also attended Morgan State College and Antioch College where he majored in History and Political Science, and Urban Development and Sociology, respectively. His professional studies include legal, ethical, and procedural aspects of collective bargaining covering disciplines of Legal Complexities of Labor Management Relations; Labor History; Economics; Research for Contract Negotiations and Interpretation; and Grievance Procedures and Arbitration. During his tenure with the Marine Corps, he received preparatory and advanced training at the Naval Aeronautical School and served with the Atomic Energy Commission. Before assuming his current position, Dr. Simmons was Co-Director of the Homestead-Montebello Center of Antioch University from 1972 to 1980; Director of Health Education and Community Organization, Baltimore City Health Department from 1967 to 1974; and Field Representative for The International Brotherhood of Teamsters from 1964 to 1967. Dr. Simmons is the past Secretary and member of the Board of Directors of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). His cultural and community involvement include Co-founder and Board member of the Left Bank Jazz Society (1964-87). He holds memberships in the Congressional Black Caucus´ Educational and Business Brain Trusts; The Council for the Advancement for Experiential Learning; The Association for Community Based Education; The Greater Baltimore Committee Leadership Class of 2000; and The Maryland Leadership Class of 2001.
Rev. Karen White
Senior Vice President
Karen’s career has spanned 2 continents, North America and Europe. Doing post graduate work in Quebec, Canada, Angers, France, and Athens, Greece has expanded her world view. Born in New Orleans and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana, the multicultural experience imprinted her with the oneness and joy of humanity. Karen spent each summer traveling abroad to enrich her teaching abilities and she studied French in both Canada (1975) and France (1978). Falling in love with Greece, she moved there in 1983 and began studying the Greek language while exploring the alternative health practices and diet of the Mediterranean. A brief return to New Orleans helped her increase awareness of HIV/AIDS and the lack of information about options in the 1980s. Returning to Athens in 1987, she joined others in creating The Center for Inspirational Living. Comprised of Greek nationals and people from many countries, it was the first place to address HIV/AIDS in the nation. Karen learned about alternative ways to deal with the disease. She became a public speaker about healing options for English speaking groups. She worked at the American Community School where she was a high school teacher, sharing her knowledge with students from 52 countries and was chosen Teacher of the Year. She was a Model United Nations sponsor and her team took second place in The Hague, Netherlands in 1994. Politically active since the 1960s, Karen joined a European political party that promoted the philosophy of Gandhi and helped to initiate conscientious objector status for the Greek military as an option. Freelance Journalist with The Greek News, a national English speaking newspaper, expanded her connections with people who were active in conscious living and change on a global level. Karen became a Reiki practitioner and learned about ancient Greek healing therapies as well as multicultural traditions from the international community in Athens. Art therapies were studied as well as Tai Chi and workshops from international teachers inspired her to return to America to do her postgraduate work. Completing an internship in mediation and another in psychotherapy gave a holistic view to causes of life challenges and she practiced in Houston, Texas upon graduation. Karen is an ordained minister, an energy worker on many levels including Reiki, and a teacher. Understanding that all cultures and people have more in common than they are different has inspired her to pursue further education, especially in quantum physics. Understanding the most basic unit of energy and how it takes form by interacting with consciousness has expanded her knowledge base and she frequently attends workshops concerning higher thought and experience. Karen completed The Gateway Program and is an alpha-theta neuro therapist. Her goal is to be of the highest possible service to all life on the planet and to promote conscious living, personal empowerment and global tolerance.
During the 80th Legislative Session, Marc was hired by the Texas Package Stores Association (the association is made up of all the retail liquor stores in Texas) to lobby members of the Legislature to keep the Texas Alcoholic Beverages Code, the laws which regulate the sale of liquor in Texas, in their current form. Marc successfully lobbied members of the House Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures and members of the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce to keep the 3-tier system in place. Also during the 80th Legislative Session, Marc represented Hythiam, Inc., which is a health care services management company. Marc successfully lobbied for Hythiam to receive a “Vendor Specific” appropriation of 2 million dollars from the state through the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to provide substance abuse treatment in various counties. Marc is also a former elected official. During his time on the Galveston City Council, Marc served as the Ex-Officio member on the Intermodal Transportation Committee, the Building Board of Adjustments, and a voting member of the Industrial Development Corporation. He also represented the City of Galveston as a Director on the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC) where he served as a member of the Legislative Affairs Committee, the Projects Review Committee, and a board member of the Gulf Coast Small Business Finance Corporation. The HGAC is responsible for various projects in the Gulf Coast region and has an annual budget of over 200 million dollars. Currently, Marc is serving as a board member for i 2 f. As the organization grows and funding becomes available, Marc will assist the President and CFAO in providing professional support for the overall management of community outreach activities, including related activities and events that support the cohesive function of day-to-day operations. His position will be compensated through a management contract with i 2 f. Marc possesses strong interpersonal and communication skills and is able to exercise good judgment and work independently in a manner that reflects a high standard of professional ethics and accountability.
In Loving Memory
Paul C. Bather
June 1947 – February 2009
Founding Chairman of the Board
Living has allowed all of us the opportunities to come in contact with wonderful and awesome people that have given so much of their love, talents and experiences in unimaginable ways. Our memories of such souls are dear and timeless and they add so much to our lives and the world in which we live.
Paul Bather was clearly one of those special people. Many benefitted from his talents and commitments to making this world a better place in truly profound ways. He is certainly one of the very special people that made a life changing impression on the lives of many children and families through the national One Church One Child program. From New York to Kentucky and Illinois to Texas, the tentacles of Paul’s work were profound and spanned far in his ability to address and resolve the toughest problems and conquer the greatest challenges.
As an Alderman for the City of Louisville, Kentucky, County Treasurer for Jefferson County and ultimately a Kentucky State Representative, Paul made an indelible impression on the masses he served before retiring from public office in 2005. He set his sails to the wind when he gave of his talents and services nationally as the CFO of the founding body of the national One Church One Child – One Church One Family minority adoption recruitment organization and later as a chief organizer for numerous business ventures in the Gulf Coast region and beyond, following Hurricane Katrina. Simply put, Paul made a difference in every endeavor he pursued. From his huge heart to his bright smile, Paul’s caring, sharing and unstoppable drive shook foundations and moved mountains. His accomplishments are too many to name, but to those who knew him best, he will be remembered most for his genuine desire to do good in the world and this legacy will live forever.
Paul was a legend of his time. He paved the way for underserved populations in many different arenas and his efforts and influence are still serving i2F Institute for Holistic Living today.