Inner Strength Staff Share Self-Care and Stress Management Tips at the School District of Philadelphia Convening
Neanta Parnell – March 14, 2023
Inner Strength Education (ISE) was invited to attend the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) Leadership Convening on February 23rd. The Convening is a conference held every two months at the Philadelphia Convention Center for principals and assistant principals who lead schools in the SDP. The event hosts organizations that provide supplemental information that benefit staff and students for the entire district. A primarily internal event, it was a privilege to attend as one of the few external organizations. This year’s focus was all about stress management and mindfulness for district administrators. By providing self-care tools for administrators, the hope is that there will be a trickle-down effect benefiting students.
Inner Strength staff tabled for the entirety of the two-day event, decked out with matching Inner Strength shirts, swag, music, interactive engagement, and information packets. Paired with adult mindfulness workshops led by Founder and Executive Director, Amy Edelstein, the staff’s synergy and spirit of collaboration created a memorable and impactful experience for those who stopped by the table and attended the workshops.
Those who engaged with the Inner Strength table were met with Alyson Showell LaPorta, Director of Communications and Grant Administration, Jai Thomspon, Strength and Stability Program Coordinator, Amelia Mraz, Strength and Stability Instructor and Research Assistant, and Neanta Parnell, Strength and Stability Instructor and Communications Associate. Inner Strength staff exchanged introductions, inquired about specific mindfulness and self-care based school needs of engagees, and prompted engagees to write an affirmation for themselves or someone they cared about to place inside the Encouragement Jar. Engagees were most curious about Inner Strength professional development opportunities, Inner Strength middle school curriculum, and brave space cultivation with Strength and Stability, a department that imparts mindfulness tools to youth most impacted by the effects of gun violence. Engagees were happy to feel heard and have a means to meet their professional needs.
Attendees who took part in Edelstein’s adult mindfulness workshop left feeling lighter, as they were able to decompress in a way they don’t usually afford themselves. In conjunction with Inner Strength instructors, Jazman Dobson, Holly Henry, and Jody Long, Amy was able to facilitate a mindfulness workshop that proposed discussion around obstacles to self-care and how committing to self-care practices can positively impact personal and professional development. The workshop revealed just how much pressure SDP administrators are under on a daily basis – feeling that they need to be leaders in all aspects of their lives without a break. Some attendees mentioned that they were so far removed from self-care and mindfulness that they were unsure of how to understand and approach the topic. Amy was sure to make each attendee feel safe, heard, and seen while actively prompting them to continue thinking about how stress management, self-care, and mindfulness go hand-in-hand.
The event was a big success, and the Inner Strength staff met a lot of great people and organizations. They were also asked to come to each subsequent convening to keep helping the mental health of SDP administrators and are looking forward to the next opportunity.