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Brewing Wellness Podcast

Season 2

Episode 13 -

Feelings of isolation, stress and anxiety have been heightened during the pandemic, creating the perfect storm for an increase in substance use and other addictive behaviors. In this episode of the Classroom Café podcast, Anthony Rizzuto of the Seafield Treatment Center on Long Island, a master social worker, alcoholism and substance abuse counselor and national speaker, will discuss how these stressors can affect you and your loved ones and how best to cope with them. He'll give you strategies for managing emotions without resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms and explain how you can support others in these difficult times.

Episode 12 -

The year 2020 has been tough. The pandemic has taken a toll on our emotional well-being, whether we have suffered the loss of a loved one or we miss our normal work routines and time spent with family and friends. In this episode of the Classroom Café podcast, mental health speaker and best-selling author Mike Veny shares the profound mental health journey he has been on since childhood. His insights will help educators to develop tools and techniques for self-care and to support students and their families as they deal with the stresses of the pandemic. Listen in and start 2021 with an outlook that promotes emotional well-being and resilience.

Episode 11 -

The holidays are a time of joy — and for many, a time of stress and anxiety, too. The year 2020 has brought an array of new challenges, including how to celebrate safely during a pandemic. What is the best way to manage? With careful thought and preparation. In this episode of the Classroom Café podcast, Jonathan Benz, a New York City-based behavioral health professional, shares tips, strategies and scenarios to help you plan for a safe and celebratory holiday season.

Episode 10 -

The coronavirus pandemic has upended our lives in many ways, affecting everything from work to leisure activities. In this episode of the Classroom Café podcast, Christine Whelan, who teaches classes on well-being at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, shares strategies for finding your purpose, even during a pandemic. Learn what happens to you when you embrace a purpose mindset and connect to something bigger, and find out how to do that. To learn more about Christine, visit her website at

Episode 9 -

In this episode of the Classroom Cafe podcast, we share tips for managing interpersonal relationships during challenging times. Join us as we talk with Krista Rizzo, a transformational life coach, motivational speaker and author who specializes in relationships. To learn more about Krista Rizzo, visit her website at Why Am I Yelling?

Episode 8 -

The start of this school year poses challenges, concerns and stressors that are unique and different from any other school year. In this episode, three UFT members share their experiences and perspectives on returning to their school buildings and on teaching remotely. Learn strategies for dealing with your own feelings of stress, anxiety and fear from these intrepid New York City educators.

Episode 7 -

Grieving the loss of a loved one, whether a family member, friend or colleague, can be complicated and difficult. Grieving during a pandemic is more complicated still. Listen in as Alan Fruzzetti, Ph.D., a psychologist from McLean Hospital and cofounder of the Center for Trauma and Stress Education, shares his insights. While there is no “right” way to grieve, in this episode, we will learn strategies for coping with grief and loss so it isn’t overwhelming.

Episode 6 -

In this special podcast episode for UFT retirees, hear how retired UFT members throughout the country are experiencing life during this pandemic and learn strategies that retirees are using to cope with the new reality. “We want our retired members to know your union is here for you and you’re not alone,” said Retired Teachers Chapter Leader Tom Murphy. “Listen in to our conversation as one way to stay together while remaining socially distant.” The podcast features Murphy; Christopher Chin, the director of Retiree Social Services; and Donesa Jackson and Patti Vitucci of the UFT’s Florida retiree section.

Episode 5 -

Learn tips and strategies about creating boundaries, setting routines and virtually supporting students in the remote era from Doreen Ng, the director of mental health at the UFT’s United Community Schools program, and Christopher Chin, the director of the union’s Retiree Social Services Department. In this interview with Lindsay Strickler-Levine, a licensed counselor with the union’s Member Assistance Program, Ng and Chin also discuss why finding a “win” every day is an important self-care tool.

Learn more about how the UFT Member Assistance Program is helping union members cope with the COVID-19 pandemic through individual consultations, virtual support groups and online resources at Membership Assistance Program.

Episode 4 -

UFT Member Assistance Program Director Tina Puccio, LCSW, and licensed counselors Lindsay Levine and Jenice Acosta, who have been facilitating the union’s virtual support groups, discuss that strategies that have helped UFT members deal with the fear and anxiety triggered by the coronavirus crisis.

Learn more about how the individual consultations, virtual support groups and online resources that the UFT Member Assistance Program offers at