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The East Bay Healing Collective Message Board › Registration Open for May Training: "Teaching Mindfulness to At-Risk Yo

Registration Open for May Training: "Teaching Mindfulness to At-Risk Youth"

A former member
Post #: 1
Teaching Mindfulness & Emotional Literacy to At-Risk Youth:
An Intensive Weekend Training
May 21-22, 2011 - Oakland CA

What: After many requests, in 2011 MBA will be conducting several weekend trainings dedicated to helping educators, parents, social workers, probation officers and other youth service providers integrate mindfulness and emotional awareness techniques into their work with at-risk youth. The trainings will also be appropriate for those with a contemplative practice background who seek fresh ideas and practical, concrete approaches to teaching mindfulness meditation and related techniques to at-risk, urban adolescents.

When & Where: The first training will be Saturday May 21 & Sunday May 22 (9:30 - 6:00pm each day). The training location will be in Oakland, CA; precise location and directions will be sent out after registration is complete. Participants must commit to attending the entire weekend; single-day attendance will not be offered.

Structure: The weekend training will address two complimentary issues. The first is how we are in our work with youth with traumatic histories. What does mindfulness practice have to say about approaching communities of youth who have endured significant violence, emotional and sexual abuse, substance abuse and related mental health issues? How can mindfulness practice empower us to deal with the common problems we face serving this community, particularly stress, anxiety, burnout and vicarious trauma? Why is focusing on our own authenticity, on our own ability to show up honestly with the youth we serve, the foundation of what we hope to teach and transmit?

The second is how we can adapt traditional mindfulness practices to the needs of at-risk youth. How do we talk to adolescents about mindfulness and mental/emotional awareness in a way that cultivates interest and curiosity? What kinds of metaphors, teaching stories and exercises work best? How can we move beyond delivering “cookie-cutter” speeches and lesson plans to teaching content that is relevant to the lives of youth and rooted in our personal experience? What is the role of personal disclosure in creating a real connection with our clients?

The weekend training will include periods of mindfulness practice, guided inquiry and discussion, and role-play as well as significant time for participants to bring specific questions and issues from their own work with youth to the MBA teaching staff. Participants should come ready to actively participate (this training is not a lecture or a passive transmission of new concepts/information). Participants will receive a manual of mindfulness and emotional awareness exercises and curriculum modules adapted specifically for use with at-risk youth.

Who: The training will be led by MBA Training Director Vinny Ferraro, a long-time mindfulness meditation practitioner, meditation instructor and a nationally recognized pioneer in bringing contemplative practice and emotional awareness programming to at-risk, gang-involved and incarcerated youth and the community of providers that serve them. The child of an incarcerated father, Vinny spent the majority of his teenage life hustling and living on the streets. In 1987, while in the process of recovering from a severe drug addiction, he began leading youth groups in rehabilitation centers, juvenile halls and half-way houses through the Hospitals and Institutions Program of Narcotics Anonymous. In 2001, he began teaching for Challenge Day, a nationally-recognized transformational change organization that helps adolescents overcome internalized and external oppression, cultivate emotional well-being, and create healthier communities. He eventually became Challenge Day’s Director of Training, leading workshops in four different countries to over 100,000 youth. Vinny leads meditation retreats for adults nation-wide and is a graduate of Spirit Rock Mediation Center’s Community Dharma Leader’s Program. He has received national media coverage for his work with at-risk youth, including a recent profile in Tricycle Magazine on his life and the work of MBA. He is the subject of the MTV series If You Really Knew Me.

Registration & Payment: Workshop cost is $350 before April 15; $400 April 15 and after.

MBA will consider a limited number of requests for financial aid from individuals who are actively working with at-risk youth (incarcerated, gang-involved, homeless, or foster youth, etc.). To apply for financial assistance, please send an email to with “Attn: May 2011 Training” in the subject line. Please tell us the maximum amount you can pay to attend the training, summarize your current and previous experience working with at-risk youth, and include one letter of reference from an agency you are currently working for or volunteering with that verifies your work with at-risk youth.

About MBA: Founded in 2000 by a group of formerly incarcerated youth, the Mind Body Awareness Project (MBA) is an Oakland-based, 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to awaken the intrinsic value of the most at-risk youth. We accomplish this through ground-breaking, mindfulness-based direct service work that empowers youth with the tools and competencies to overcome trauma, transform negative behaviors, and make positive life changes. MBA presently works in five juvenile detention facilities and one aftercare site in four Bay Area counties. In 2010, MBA served over 1200 unique youth, delivering over 600 classes and over 725 class hours. Our curriculum teaches youth tools to reduce stress, regulate strong emotional states, reduce impulsiveness, identify the legitimate needs underlying their negative behaviors, and take responsibility for their actions. The classes are based upon a proprietary synthesis of best practices in meditation, movement arts, group-process modalities, peer counseling, and social and emotional learning models.

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