by Amelia Mraz

We had the pleasure of running workshops at The Youth Power Summit, an event focused on empowering youth to be the change they want to see in the world. Organized by PA State Senator Art Haywood, and held at MLK High School, this event is the first of its kind, bringing together high school students from Montgomery County and NW Philadelphia for a day of inspiration, networking, and learning.

On a Saturday afternoon, students, community organizations, youth-led businesses, mentors, and teachers, gathered outside MLK High School for the summit, ready for a full morning of interactive workshops covering many topics including: mental health, community organizing, building a business, being an influencer, creative arts, fitness/sports, and more. 

We are always excited to participate in events rooted in youth empowerment, community, and learning, and had a great time meeting passionate, innovative, and sensitive student leaders and community members at the summit. We facilitated two workshops on Mindfulness and Mental Health for youth leaders.

Students engaged in an open discussion about the importance of checking in with yourself, and being aware of your inner weather (how you are feeling). Often times we can be so busy and move so fast, we forget to pause and check in with how we are really feeling. The value of check-ins, paying attention on purpose, which is a practice of mindful awareness, can be compared to traveling on a map. Whether it is a tangible destination, a goal, a feeling, life in general, we are always traveling from one point to another. When we go somewhere we need to know point A to get to point B. How do we know where to go if we don’t know where we’re starting? Allowing time to check in with ourselves provides us with a starting point for where we are in that moment, and what we may need to get to our destination. Mindful awareness and sharing inner weather checks empowers youth to connect with their thoughts and feelings, identify positive coping skills, and share experiences with peers.

Students also discussed their own mindfulness activities they do for self care, as well as engaged in a few mindfulness practices together. At the end of the summit, every student left with a bag full of mindful goodies. We can’t wait to come back next year!

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