Learning Sessions Block B – Tuesday, June 27

B-1. Cultivating a Creative Mind— Simón Silva, Bachelor’s Degree, Author and Speaker, [California]

Building on Simón’s earlier keynote, this highly interactive workshop demonstrates how to use the arts on a daily basis to enhance a person’s creativity, communication skills, social, cognitive, and developmental skills while promoting positive self-esteem. In addition, individuals will find hidden talents and help in chipping away at the fear and doubt about their own creativity that has accumulated over the years.


B-2. Strength from Struggle: Looking to the Lessons of Nature to Promote Assets, Thriving and Resilience Among Youth – Anna Nelson, MS, Executive Director, of the New Mexico Forum for Youth in Community [New Mexico]

One of the greatest lessons of nature is that adversity promotes strength, exemplified by the Biosphere 2 experiment, where scientists learned that, despite growing in a “perfect environment,” trees left unexposed to wind cannot grow strong roots. Using this “Strength from Struggle” metaphor, this learning session goes beyond solely focusing on young people’s strengths and assets to discovering pathways for resilience and thriving even when they face adversity. During this engaging dialogue, participants will deepen their knowledge of cutting-edge research in Developmental Assets, cultural identity development, thriving, and grit indicators through metaphors of nature. At the end of Strength from Struggle, participants will feel confident in:

  • Naming the 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents, 5 key characteristics of Grit, and 15 Thriving Indicators necessary to promote resilience among young people.
  • Identifying pathways for young people to explore their unique points of cultural resilience.
  • Planning two action steps to immediately implement this knowledge in their practice with youth.


B-3. Mindfulness and Stress-Reduction for Youth Workers — Sarah Rudell Beach, M.Ed., Mindful Schools Certified Instructor and Executive Director of Brilliant Mindfulness [Minnesota]

Working with young people can be a stressful job. Research demonstrates that mindfulness – nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment – is a powerful practice that reduces stress, supports general wellbeing, and helps us be more present and compassionate with the youth we serve. This session will introduce participants to mindfulness, and provide detailed instructions for establishing a personal mindfulness practice. We will explore several mindfulness techniques including mindful breathing, mindful movement, and mindful eating. Participants will leave with practical strategies for self-care and stress management.


B-4. S.A.F.E.: A Framework for Developing Social and Emotional Competencies in Youth – Joann Avant, Youth Development and Social Responsibility, YMCA of the USA [Illinois]

The YMCA of the USA adopted the evidence-based practice called the S.A.F.E. Framework for out-of-school time programs, as we move towards making an impact on closing the achievement gap and building social and emotional competencies in youth. S.A.F.E. focuses on increased skill building in youth, and high quality engagement and program delivery by staff. Following the presentation, participants will engage in an interactive team activity to practice using the framework and tools.

As a result of attending this workshop, participants will gain an understanding of how to use the S.A.F.E. Framework to increase student and staff engagement in OST programs; with a focus on staff development, skill building in youth, and increased social and emotional development.


B-5. Tai-Chi-Therapy Experience/JENKINS TECHNIQUE™ for Balance In & Of Life – Honorable John Jenkins, PEPTALK [Maine]

Improvement, both personal and professional, is the compelling force guiding all life activities. Parents want it for their children, teachers want it for their students, professionals want it for economic success, athletes want it for the pinnacle of achievement, and everyone wants it for a healthy, balanced lifestyle. During this workshop, personal improvement will be taught through the ABC’s of Wellness: Awareness Awakening, Balance Basics, and Controlled Coordination.

As a result of the workshop participants will:

  1. Be able to model the ‘hands-on’ instruction of these techniques with colleagues and young people.
  2. Understand the benefits to physical balance, mental agility, and emotional calmness.


B-6. Restorative Practices in Action: Lessons learned from Purposely Creating Community

Sharon Mast, MS, Certified Facilitator and Trainer for the International Institute for Restorative Practices [Pennsylvania]; Ben Wilson, Assistant Principal at Oak Hill Middle School [Maine]; Pamela Hamilton, Principal at Mt. Jefferson Middle School [Maine]; Brandon Ward, Principal at Bath Middle School [Maine]

Join us for an Interactive experience that will bring you to a full understanding of the fundamental unifying premise of restorative practices—that people are happier, more cooperative and productive and more likely to make positive changes in their lives when those in positions of authority do things with them rather than to them or for them. Experience using circles to facilitate conversation and encourage full participation, which will promote truly meaningful communication. These concepts and practices are useful in any setting from education and other human services to organizational management.

As a result of attending this workshop, participants will:

  1. Learn practical strategies to build strong, healthy relationships with students, families, clients, employees and colleagues.
  2. Develop practical methods for using circles to build your own community, establish norms and address behavior and relationships.
  3. Learn about best practices and lessons learned from schools engaged in two-year Whole School Change Model.