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Executive Function Skills Meets Lunch & Learn

Gonzaga Family Haven’s Peggy Haun-McEwen invited residents to a lunch and learn event.

What better way to kick off the new year?

In this lunch and learn setting -- residents got to flex their executive functioning skills, learning to tailor them to perfection.

What are Executive Function Skills?

In short, these are the skills that help us to manage our day-to-day lives and our daily decision-making skills.

Essentially, this function breaks down how and why we utilize our coping skills (in the way that we do) and allows individuals to begin working on ways that make our executive functioning skills more functional.

EF (Executive Functioning) skills are critical to surviving daily activities.

Residents were tasked with working on understanding their executive functioning skills, workshopping with EFC (Executive Function Coaching) to gain better insight into how to map out their daily behaviors when it came to task completion.

Lunch & Learn

Refreshments were also made available to residents, who were also encouraged to help themselves to any clothing donations they may need for casual or professional settings.

Parents did not have to worry about childcare as all children were welcome, making it a low-barrier event, as childcare did not need to be an additional burden for parents to contend with.

Low-barrier experiences are helpful in the GFH (Gonzaga Family Haven) model, as mentioned previously by Randall Schleufer (CEO and educator) of Spokane’s Salish School (to learn more, check out our previous blog post).

Once everyone settled in, residents were given a learning packet by EFC coach Katey Treloar, who offered hands-on coaching and encouraged others to share their experiences with their personal executive functioning skills and the barriers they have experienced.

Everyone seemed to have left the event in a much calmer and happier state of mind than when they had arrived.

Executive Function Skills can be Coached

Executive functioning skills are skills learned over time, and many residents at GFH are in review of those skills--or are just learning how to engage with their executive functioning skills.

It takes practice, and EFC coach Treloar reminded residents they had support from GFH staff and support amongst their other GFH neighbors.

Treloar even offered to body double, (sitting with residents) while completing their to-do lists side by side.

Body doubling is a newer term and goes hand in hand with executive functioning skills and lessening anxiety around to-do lists.

It’s an idea that if you go to a coffee shop or invite someone over while doing a task that brings you anxiety or stress, you’re less likely to feel frustrated by the experience and more likely to complete a daunting task.

EFC coaching even taught residents how to prioritize their tasks, which will help residents to be less stressed, more organized, and confident in their lifestyle and management skills.

Lunch and learn events like these are funded by a grant obtained by Gonzaga University, which receives funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to enhance specialized, wrap-around programming and services for the Haven’s residents.

To schedule an EFC coaching event, please contact or visit

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