Events and Partnerships
iBme partners with several educational institutions and other organizations to offer in-depth mindfulness training to its constituents. Creating intentional partnerships at a local level allows us to empower robust networks of mindful youth leaders who are equipped to support community oriented change. Working in partnerships with other groups supports movement building. We define movement building as an intentional and strategic process to form alliances with other groups and individuals towards a shared purpose. Here are two case studies on the impact of forming partnerships in an effort to achieve our mission.
In recent years, building sustainable relationships with teens, their families, and educators in the Hampden County area of Massachusetts has been notably effective in recruiting teen participants. We want to replicate this community engagement model in other communities as we consider the historic ways that low income individuals, particularly those of color, have been systemically underserved.
Over the past six years, we have developed a strong partnership with Holyoke High School. Each year, 3-6 teens attend the Massachusetts retreat. Luke Woodward, our main partner and the Pa’lante Restorative Justice Program Director at Holyoke High School, shared:
iBme has been incredibly generous in making a life changing experience available to countless Holyoke young people who would not otherwise have the opportunity. They have visited our school to reach more students, increased the number of scholarships to meet our demand, and been flexible and understanding in meeting our students’ unique needs. They even provide transportation to and from our school!!! I know first hand that many HHS graduates continue to count their experience at iBme as one of their most memorable and meaningful of their teenage years, keep in touch with the diverse friends they made through the experience, and use the skills they gained in their daily lives.”
A Community Workshop on the Intersection of Mindfulness, Youth, and Justice
This event was a three-day workshop to convene youth mindfulness organizations and educators to:
- Engage with other educators and members of organizations who are working at the intersection of youth, mindfulness, and social justice;
- Build national commitment to and shared knowledge about equity and justice within youth mindfulness organizations;
- Envision an approach to teaching mindfulness through an equity lens; and
- Dream about how each partner organization will become an even more equitable community for people of all identities.
This gathering was designed to help individuals and organizations bring Mindfulness programs into diverse communities. Participants were invited to bring examples of programs they are implementing or wish to implement. The group worked together to strengthen ideas for implementation in various areas, while receiving expert advice from leaders in the field.
There were three major takeaways from the feedback given by participants at the Ford Convening: (1) the convening felt inclusive, (2) there is a high need to articulate and explore the relationship between mindfulness and social justice, and (3) many participants want to build upon the relationships and learnings from the convening and form a more formalized community.
A recurring feeling at the Ford Convening was a sense of belonging. Several participants noted that the environment felt inviting for all participants to be vulnerable, express their culture, and be patient through their discomfort. Below are a few testimonials that highlight these shared experiences:
What was uplifting/energizing/engaging/meaningful for you?
The inclusiveness in the room. The fact that we were able to mix the very serious movement of social justice and the pleasure of mindfulness.” – Teen Participant
The depth, vulnerability in the leadership & participants that made it possible to explore and stretch our thinking.” – Participant from The Question Project
I expected to learn, to grow, but I didn’t expect that I would feel this internal shifting. I do equity work. I do white anti-racist work. I work in communities of color. And yet, I [was] MOVED by being here.” – Participant from Mindful Schools
As we observed at the Ford Convening, the discussion of mindfulness and social justice brings a variety of communities together. From mindfulness practitioners to educators and activists, participants remarked upon the deep value in defining this intersection – knowing that each voice offers a unique perspective to the conversation.
Would you do this again? What was most valuable for you and/or your organization?
YES! PERSPECTIVE. This idea is not present where I’m from.” – Participant from Umatilla County Care
Absolutely! Putting this into action getting out of our box. Seeing clearer links and articulations of social justice.” – Participant from Mindful Schools
Yes! Most valuable professional development for me in years.” – Anonymous Participant
The Ford Convening left many attendees wanting more. Across the board, there was a tremendous amount of energy towards continuing these conversations and making these learnings more accessible to a larger audience.
I am so appreciative of being a part of this experience and being able to bring a colleague. I’d like to help spread this work – let’s talk about offering some kind of public call as a public service or perhaps to help seed this work. Big love, may we all flourish!” – Participant from Mindful Schools
I’m just so grateful. Because I know that the amount of work by the organizers – and the support of the Ford Foundation – made a historic gathering possible. All of us here believe authentic mindfulness is necessary for an enlightened and equitable world. This convening is a pivotal catalyst toward realizing that possibility.” – Participant from Peace in Schools
Please develop a formal network for us to build on this convening – there are many people missing from this event that have a lot to offer, specifically in building power and changing systems that can also hold this group accountable to our communities and those on the margins.” – Participant from Mindfulness First
What skills have I learned on retreat that might help me in the future? Perspective: You never know where others come from, thus we should treat all with equity and respect.
– Michigan Teen Retreat Participant