On Saturday, January 25th, Inner Strength was privileged to participate in the 3rd Annual Mentoring Conference. Hosted by State Senator Art Haywood at LaSalle University, the conference focused on the importance of mentorship in molding the lives of youth. Inner Strength was among a half dozen presenters who shared invaluable information about mindfulness, trauma- informed mentoring, sourcing quality mentors, and safety during mentorships.
Associate Director Alyson Showell LaPorta spoke about the philosophy of Inner Strength, the ideology behind the IS-Teen Program and the IS-RSS Program, our innovative Reducing Secondary Stress professional development for Teachers. She also highlighted how we collaborate with our partner schools, external research, impact, and much more!
To give participants a sense of how it all works, Inner Strength Instructor Haylee Warner led the group in three mindfulness exercises including a sensory exercise called the Body Scan and a cultivating care practice called Love & Kindness. Participants had a chance to experience basic tools of mindfulness, then learn more about the uses of mindfulness, and how it’s implemented in the schools. Many had no idea that mindfulness was so widespread in Pennsylvania. They were encouraged to hear that Inner Strength has reached 10,000 youth to date.
Warner also spoke about her experience as an Inner Strength Instructor in public school classrooms. She described how she’s seen a sense of community and cohesiveness develop between the students, and heard students describe a positive ripple effect between them and their families/communities as they share the exercises. In small and encouraging ways, the students have shared how the program is improving the culture and environment of their classrooms and beyond the school walls.
After the exercises, the quality of the room palpably changed. With just three brief periods of relaxation and focus, participants expressed that they felt more lightness and ease. Many expressed interest in bringing this work to their organizations, recognizing that it could benefit both their mentors and mentees. Participants were invited to follow up as Inner Strength offers a variety of programs and they were also welcomed to download the 50 activity Inner Strength Self-Care Toolkit on the spot.
It was a wonderful experience and Inner Strength looks forward to finding more ways to connect to the community and continue to work with Sen. Haywood’s office in the coming year.