Inner Strength Foundation
Mindfulness Teen Program
I developed this innovative program for teens and the Inner Strength Foundation to support the creativity and emerging selfhood of our city’s youth.
I believe we can foster the next generation of kind, insightful, self-assured, and creative individuals our world needs. This program teaches the powerful tools of mindfulness and a developmental understanding of our experience, giving students the means to focus and calm, self reflect and connect, and gain perspective on the stresses that assault them from within and without. The result? Engaged and interested youth whose joy in life expresses the wonder and richness of our human potential.
If you would like to support this work or find out how to bring these practices into your school, please contact me here.
To a more inspired future for us all,
~ Amy Edelstein
What do they learn & why?
In this 12-week program students will learn about themselves and how to develop inner strength for outer stability from four different perspectives. They’ll learn stress reduction and social-emotional skills by developing an understanding of:
1. MINDFULNESS PRACTICES
- The fundamentals of 5 different mindfulness meditation techniques. They practice in class and have the opportunity to guide their peers to re-enforce their learning.
Mindfulness practice has been shown in evidence-based studies to support young people’s social-emotional development, decrease stress, and improve the learning environment.
2. THOUGHT & AWARENESS
- The difference between mind/thought/awareness/self so they begin to develop objectivity on the thought process and space from the thoughts that trouble them.
Developing space from our minds is a skill that lasts a lifetime, learned in these formative years, it can make a world of difference to the challenging transition from the dependency of childhood to the responsibility of adulthood.
3. CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
- A perspective on the last 600 years of cultural development, to appreciate that the stresses we experience now are in part the result of vast cultural shifts.
Learning that our experience of stress is not only the result of personal weakness or the invention of the iPhone, provides a big context for the teen experience now and gives young people a larger motive to find solutions. The positive coping mechanisms they develop can be cultural–not just personal– solutions.
4. BRAIN SCIENCE
- The basics of brain science, how the brain developed and how we integrate our more base instincts, and what’s happening in the adolescent brain.
The emerging field of neuroscience is providing fascinating and valuable insight on brain development, explaining the unpredictable and often dangerous adolescent responses, decision-making, and bonding. While students can’t control their physiology, they can gain insight on what is motivating them and why and learn to be responsible.
STUDENTS RESPOND. . .
Describe your experience of the class:
“Enthralling, I have come out of this program much wiser and more open-minded.”
“I learned about an aspect deep within the mind. I experienced a sense of peace and how to maintain that myself.”
“I learned a lot about the mind and how it works and how it relates to me.”
“It was interesting and relaxing to learn about mindfulness and cultural development.”
“At first I found meditating frustrating and unnecessary however eventually as I learned more about the mind and the human brain I found myself able to practice stillness, although at times it was still difficult.”
What was the most important thing you learned?
“I learned how to separate my thoughts from myself to maintain inner peace.”
“There’s always a way to manage when you feel like things are too much.”
“Meditation helped me relax, release my stress and open my mind so I could find solutions for my troubles.”
“Mindfulness can help you learn and be aware of yourself.”
“The stress that I felt before moving on to the next class seemed to vanish every Friday after meditation.”
Where Is This Program Taught? How Do I Apply for My School? Teacher Training Partnership with Urban Affairs Coalition In January 2016, we joined with Urban Affairs Coalition, which has served as an administrative home to Philadelphia non-profits since 1969. We look forward to the fruitful collaborations this will bring and are proud to be part of UAC’s robust and vibrant organization, which has overseen the administration of over $1 billion in funding to local non-profits over the decades. We also continue to value our collaboration with Verge Inspire/Mindfulness Through Movement, a not-for-profit that offers Mindfulness and Yoga to 550 grade school students throughout Philadelphia. Cara Bradley and Cheryl Nichols are dedicated and passionate leaders in the field, and it is a delight to share best practices in support of our city’s youth.
The School Board of Philadelphia has approved a research study on the program this year. Leading researchers from Syracuse University, Department of Public Health, are conducting an independent study to evaluate students’ growth. The study will use several metrics of adolescent health and well being including the Adolescent Self Regulatory Inventory (ASRI) and the Neff Self Compassion Scale. Early results show significant improvement in Self Regulation. More info at: InnerStrengthFoundation.net/research
In 2016-2017, the Inner Strength teen program will be taught to more than 1200 students (and growing!) in the Philadelphia Public School System. These 12-week programs are offered free of charge to inner city public schools. We are actively fundraising to expand the program and meet the demand. Please click here to find out how you can support this work to grow.
There is an application system for schools. Please contact Amy Edelstein to learn how you can bring this program to your school.
The next training will begin July 2017. Please click here for more info and to reserve your space. If you are interested and would like to find out if you have sufficient background to qualify, email here.
Where Is This Program Taught?
How Do I Apply for My School?
Partnership with Urban Affairs Coalition
In January 2016, we joined with Urban Affairs Coalition, which has served as an administrative home to Philadelphia non-profits since 1969. We look forward to the fruitful collaborations this will bring and are proud to be part of UAC’s robust and vibrant organization, which has overseen the administration of over $1 billion in funding to local non-profits over the decades.
We also continue to value our collaboration with Verge Inspire/Mindfulness Through Movement, a not-for-profit that offers Mindfulness and Yoga to 550 grade school students throughout Philadelphia. Cara Bradley and Cheryl Nichols are dedicated and passionate leaders in the field, and it is a delight to share best practices in support of our city’s youth.
2016-2017 Participating Schools
Bodine High School for International Affairs
Central High School
Girard Academic Music Program
Julia Masterman High School
Palumbo High School
Parkway Northwest High School for Peace & Social Justice
My favorite class was. . .
“the class where we meditated then discussed stress features because I was able to express my thoughts.”
“when we discussed how society’s way of thinking has changed.“
“about the brain because I learned things about my body that I didn’t know.”
“the chocolate meditation which I really enjoy doing.”
Do you think the class will affect your enjoyment and performance in school?
“Yes, it will make me open up to everyone more”
“I feel that everyone should be provided with the material presented in this class. It can help you stay focused and clear your mind.“