For over nine years, we have made sure that every teen who wanted to attend an iBme retreat, regardless of their ability to pay tuition, knew they would be able to come. In 2018 we offered over $410,000 in scholarship funds, allowing 290 teens to receive reduced or full tuition support. Find out more.
The real magic is found in each teen’s story. We were delighted to receive this letter of gratitude from a teen who received a scholarship to attend his first retreat.
Without the generous financial support that was bestowed upon me, I would have been unable to participate in my first ever iBme retreat. For this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It has been a longstanding goal of mine to attend an iBme mindfulness retreat. My brother went twice to iBme for retreats and I was very happy to follow in his footsteps. My father passed away recently, and we have no income. However, your generous scholarship enabled me to participate in the Virginia New Year’s Teen Retreat of 2018. I am so incredibly grateful to you.
One of my main goals at the retreat was to deepen my mindfulness practice. For example, for parts of the meals and during our time at the dorms, we were to be in “noble silence”. Being quiet during those times was a completely foreign experience to me and silence helped clear my head. Another activity we did was “lovingkindness” meditations in which we sent love and caring thoughts to those we were close to and with whom we may have been having difficulties. Finally, the practice of being mindful, while still having fun, was invaluable.
The adult mentors at the retreat acted as the guides throughout the retreat. Their advice was incredibly helpful. The yoga teacher, Akeel, not only could bend his body in incredible ways, encouraged us to do the same. Another mentor, named Kevin, often mentioned his children and that always brought a smile to my face because I absolutely love children. Perhaps most importantly, Enrique and Jack told their stories on how they had hit rock bottom many years ago. After years of suffering, they turned their lives around to become the great men that they are today. I will carry some of their lessons to the end of my days.
I greatly enjoyed being with other teens who shared an interest in a mindful path through life. In our “small groups” we all shared encouraging input that became a huge help to all of us. My roommate, Derek, and I shared a lot of things in common and that really helped us build a good, strong relationship. Madison, another friend of mine, shared similar tastes in books and I enjoyed playing cards with her. Overall, I was very happy that I could socialize with everyone without the fear of judgment; it was one of the greatest experiences at the retreat.
As I return into the modern world, there are numerous practices that I intend to integrate into my personal life. Lovingkindness meditations are amazing ways to forgive a person. Mindful eating, while at first was very annoying, turned out to be very helpful after we practiced. This was especially helpful since it was something we could do daily. We were also shown again how important it is to be open, to show our vulnerabilities and be willing to remove the masks that we wear daily.
My experience at this iBme mindfulness retreat is something that I will treasure forever. I have many fond memories to cherish in my heart. I eagerly look forward to the possibility of attending another retreat in the future. I am so profoundly thankful for the scholarship. None of this would have been possible without your generous gift.