Celebrating the Wins and Contributions of our Cherished Staff
Neanta Parnell – April 11, 2023
In the past year, Inner Strength has grown! Amelia Mraz, joined the team at first to complete field work for her master’s in public health, and now as a staff member. She is contributing her skills and creativity as a Research Assistant, Strength & Stability Instructor at Bartram High School and Youth United for Change (YUC), and mindfulness retreat instructor at Lankenau High School and School of the Future. Amelia has been a tremendous asset creating evaluation models for the Strength & Stability program. She’s also had the opportunity to present her work at the annual conference of the Coalition of Schools Educating Mindfully (COSEM).
Mraz is currently wrapping up her research for her fieldwork project that defines and evaluates the impact of the Strength and Stability (S&S) drop-in Peace Rooms. As she describes:
“A Peace Room is a dedicated, safe, non-judgmental space located in the school building, where students can process difficult emotions with the support of a teacher, mental health worker, or mentor (CASEL, 2020) […] This program model is built upon the foundations of ISE mindfulness, social and emotional learning (SEL), and systems thinking curriculum content and values. Peace room facilitators are trained ISE instructors with additional training in violence prevention, de-escalation, trauma, and cultural awareness.”
Mraz uses the established Peace Room at Bartram High School, called “The Chill Spot” to demonstrate the SEL and systems thinking based approach to mindfulness and de-escalation:
“The chill spot offers a distinctive approach because it incorporates components of peace rooms such as conflict resolution, peer dialogue, as well as mindfulness practices and systems thinking. Additionally, the Chill Spot provides a space to explore self-identity, and mindfulness in a way that is meaningful to the students.” –
Mraz is currently synthesizing her data and conclusions, the research looks to be positive about the program’s effectiveness in supporting the needs of Philadelphia youth and establishing a firm sense of self and discernment to build resilience. We hope that our students will take mindful-based resilience to help them find support systems, and feel more connected to the world around them. Read more about Mraz here.