It’s not hard to create environments that actually spur young people’s emotional growth. In some ways, it’s simple and intuitive. But you do need to learn the basics.
That’s why Cindy Carraway-Wilson, Youth Catalytics’ Director of Training, is adding a new topic to her roster of trainings. Designed for faculty, staff and volunteers in schools, charter schools, afterschool programs, and residential and group homes, Mindful Classrooms, Developing Minds introduces participants to the ways that using mindfulness activities can benefit children, teens and young adults (as well as adult professionals) in any learning environment.
The body of research demonstrating links between mindfulness activities and social-emotional wellness, well-being and self-efficacy in both children and adults has been developing for over a decade. More recent research into the use of mindfulness in schools also suggests it can improve students’ academic performance. We at Youth Catalytics first began researching spirituality in youth programming 15 years ago by examining the kinds of spiritual practices that youth-serving organizations already offered to youth and whether they found them beneficial. Two follow-up reports explored how vulnerable young people themselves reported experiencing spiritual pursuits (both secular and religious), and how and why some agencies considered spiritually based practices to be an important component to any holistic therapeutic approach.
Our work sparked a partnership with Talk About Wellness (TAW), a Vermont-based initiative operating from 2004-2016 that brought mindfulness training to teachers throughout the state and other parts of New England. Conducting two evaluations of TAW’s impact on participants and writing their wrap-up report further convinced us of the promise mindfulness holds in promoting young people’s healthy development.
Cindy has 20 years of experience in the youth services field and is an expert trainer in positive youth development, youth engagement, asset building, LGBTQ+ issues and resilience. She’s been at the forefront of bringing the phenomenal new Youth Thrive model to audiences around the country. (She’s also a licensed Pilates instructor and trainer in her home state of Maine … just sayin’). With the release of TAW’s final report, Cindy was inspired to weave adolescent brain development, elements of Youth Thrive, and mindfulness research into a practical training for adults working with young people.
If that’s you … then this is a transformative learning experience you need.
Cindy Carraway-Wilson can be reached at (207) 319-6009 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ Jen Smith, Research & Communications Associate