Charlene Leberer former director of Nutrition Therapy Institute

A passage, A cycle, And a message of heartfelt farewell from Char…

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Dear Students, Graduates and All Members of our NTI Community,

It is precisely at this time of year, 20 years ago, that NTI opened its doors to our first class. Many of you have heard the story that we had a miraculous 9 students in that original class, most of them hearing about the school from a banner hung on the building. Unfortunately, 7 students dropped out that first year, leaving us with 2 graduates. Now let’s fast forward to 2019 and getting ready for a great fall start.

In fact, this will be the first September since the very beginning that I will not be shepherding in the new class. I am retiring. Of course, I have many feelings about this passage, ranging from sadness to excitement. Nothing lasts forever, but the reason that I am making this move now, is that NTI is poised to enter a whole new level of engagement and excellence.

I will be passing the school to our Academic Dean, Dianne Koehler. Dianne has been with NTI for many years. She was a student in my classroom. Most of us are familiar with her deep commitment to holistic nutrition and her passion to help shape this field. You will hear from her in the near future with some very exciting news.

And anyway, I’m old now. I started the school when I was 50, so do the math. There are still many things I want to do while I am vibrant and smart and excited. My deepest gifts, those that are still not fully given, are those of a visionary, creator, writer, and teacher. I don’t know exactly where these things will take me, but since they have taken me in some pretty exciting directions so far, I trust that they will still function to set the track as I go forward. Or if they don’t, I’ll probably spend a lot of time watching TV and eating bread and chocolate. If that happens, I’ll let you know and maybe some of you will have some ideas for me.

Fortunately, there are just a couple of things that I know. In past phases, I worked as a professional fiber artist (weaver); a canoe guide; a massage therapist; a holistic nutritionist; a salesperson; a home builder, remodeler and designer; a single mother and a teacher. It all adds up to 55 years of work. So as I think out loud about this, my best advice to myself is either, “go back to school for retraining and a new job”, or “play with the grandkids and call it a life”. Hmmmmmm….. Or maybe now there is a way to lay it all on the table of inspiration and pick and choose as it comes. Retirement looks pretty good!

In leaving NTI, I have many people to thank…too many in fact, to even list. There have been so many advisors, experts, skilled workers, brilliant minds, visionaries, technical wizards, organizers, and problem solvers, all of them having come together to bring about a meaningful and inspirational experience for our NTI students. And always my greatest hope has been that NTI has been an experience that has inspired, refocused and redirected the lives of our students and graduates in ways which would open new worlds for them.

The NTI faculty is and has been extraordinary. Our teachers embody the values and principles of service, as well as impart an extraordinary grasp of the scientific principles that have underpinned our personal journeys towards good health. They have given without hesitation their knowledge and practical expertise. They have genuinely cared about the NTI students and cared about the end game of the health and strength of our collective clients. We owe them more than we can say.
Our staff has served us well through the years. There is always so much more than meets the eye when it comes to delivering the end product to our graduates. These people have worked behind the scenes with dedication and commitment, gaining skills and experience in so many areas that have served to further their careers.

And mostly I would thank the NTI students and graduates. Through the years NTI has attracted students who are very smart, integral, conscientious, courageous, innovative, creative, and dedicated to the belief that life can be better when you are healthy. I have literally been able to walk down the street and spot an NTI person because they have a special quality of glowing health, solidity of purpose, and openness of heart. To a person, students have flocked to NTI so that they could become empowered to help other people. The practice of nutrition is first a service. Its reward is seeing the empowerment of others, seeing that spark growing inside a client who might not have found hope in other avenues in the pursuit of health. It matters. It’s important. So we in this community, all of us, have had to ask ourselves, what is it that makes us decide to come to NTI anyway? And the answer has always been not for personal gain, or for acclamation, or for a laid back life. But rather the answer has been to create the best life possible for ourselves and for those with whom we share the journey. And we build the foundation for this with good health through nutrition. And it is my hope, this vision continues.

I will be at The Goods Restaurant, 2550 E Colfax, on July 16 between 5-7. You are invited to stop by for an informal celebration of our 20 years together.

I send my deepest wishes for success and happiness to all of you. May you live your lives with the strength and conviction that comes only from extreme vitality.


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