A quick read:
This group will be a blend of creative expression activities, mindfulness exercises, and guided discussions based on weekly themes like connection, self-compassion, and presence. It is intended to be supportive, but not therapeutic in nature.
The cohort will be 6-10 participants, ages 12-17 .
It will take place from 4pm-5:15pm on Tuesdays at Fit2Fly (457a Danforth Ave). Weekly from May 3rd – June 14th (7-week session).
Doors will open at 3:30pm for participants to come and have a snack, and free social time in the space. Programming will start at 4pm and run for 75 minutes.
Spots are offered on a sliding scale with options of $15/$20/$25 +HST per day. To ensure group continuity, sessions will be offered as 7-weeks of a closed group. If you know you’ll be missing a date please reach out in advance.
Sign up here: https://forms.gle/MptkEN4g9U6CtJUV9
In the fall of 2021, I ran a small mindfulness group as part of the practicum for a mindfulness certification. While I deeply value mindfulness itself as a tool, the lingering takeaway I had from this experience was how impactful the social-emotional learning and guided conversations of the group were. In closing reflection with participants, I heard a lot of feedback about how much they valued that aspect of the group–craved it even.
Social dynamics can be incredibly difficult to navigate as a human, not to mention as a teenager trying to navigate feelings of safety during a global pandemic and a world that has a lot happening. And yet, as humans, one of our core survival needs is to be connected and to connect with others.
This is always possible, but it can sometimes be hard. In those times it can be helpful to have a pathway to connect with others, a similar space that you return to regularly, a bit of guidance and conversation prompts, or the option to focus on your own thing and share space with folks who are doing the same.
Bringing our focus to creative expression activities and mindfulness tasks, as well as weekly guided discussions, I hope to co-create that space with the group, with the participants as my co-creators.
I think mindfulness can be an incredible tool for deepening your relationship with self, calming big waves of emotions, and helping us connect with others and the world more compassionately.
I also know that there are many presence orienting and awareness deepening ways to practice mindfulness outside of meditation. This is the approach we will be using to explore mindfulness in this group. This will include activities like mindful eating, artful breathing (literally drawing the breath on paper), and body-based mindfulness. Each week there will be a brief mindfulness activity that relates to our theme.
I have a BA in equity studies and English literature from the University of Toronto, and am currently enrolled in a diploma program studying dance movement therapy. I’ve been working with kids and youth in the creative arts since 2013, mainly as a circus coach, but I’ve also led social justice based walking tours for school groups, online improv gatherings, social circus programming, and a weekly mindfulness group.
In my undergrad, I had the opportunity to take a neuroscience course titled Meditation & the Body, which sparked my interest in mindfulness and meditation. Since then, I’ve taken a Mindfulness and Art Therapy course from the UofT School of Continuing Studies and completed a 21-hour certificate in the Mindfulness Ambassador Program from Mindfulness Without Borders.
While in the 6th wave will be wearing masks indoors and following handwashing and physical distancing protocols as much as is possible/appropriate. While outdoors participants will have the option to be masked or unmasked for distanced activities. A group vote amongst participants will take place before masks become optional indoors to ensure everyone’s comfort and safety needs are met.
To sign up:
Email Jayeden.w @ gmail.com with any questions or fill out this google form: https://forms.gle/MptkEN4g9U6CtJUV9
Fit2Fly is located at 457a Danforth Ave, on the second floor, up a flight of stairs (no elevator). There are two single-user (non-gendered) bathrooms, both without grab bars. It is a low scent space with overhead fluorescent lighting (which we will not be using). We will be working in the back studio with the door closed and the window open for airflow. The window opens onto a back alley where there are sometimes noises. Participants will be sitting on the ground on mats, pillows, or yoga blocks–chairs are also available.
As always, I will work to create a space that is actively anti-racist and trauma-informed, centering the needs of queer, trans, and disabled/neurodivergent folks, and always being open to being accountable and learning how I can do better.