|Pathways to Success for Youth Project|
pathways to success for youth blog
We're gearing down from the Be Kind Festival in the Mount Washington Valley where members of the Pathways to Success Team and the Teen Clinic coordinated a Free Hug Team. The idea originated from the first time I attended Breakthrough to Success with Jack Canfield. When I came back to the clinic, my peer ed team was anxious to hear about my experience. My week was profound and there were so many things to share, I shared the one thing that had impacted me the most. Hugs.
I can still remember the looks on their faces. They thought I was crazy. I continued and shared what Jack had taught us:
All 325 of us stood up. We were strangers from all over the world. We had each signed an agreement to fully participate in the activities, so we awkwardly made our way around the room and practiced heart hugging each other.
Each day of the event Jack would add a little bit more to our hugging exercise:
Day by day, the connection among the group of strangers got stronger. By the end of the week, the connection was palpable. The room was filled with an amazing energy during the silent hug process. It was phenomenal to experience. At the close of the event, feedback indicated that heart hugging was a favorite part of the entire 7 day event. Jack encouraged us to go out and teach the people in our families, workplaces and communities how to heart hug and teach them the importance of getting lots of hugs.
Back in the clinic, I shared Virginia Satir's data and demonstrated heart hugging. Mikayla was the most resistant. I met Mikayla in 7th grade health class when she was 13. I was teaching a unit on growth and development ... and she was being a feisty teenager.
I liked her instantly. I felt like I had known her forever. Funny how that happens with some people. A few years later, she participated in the Teen Clinic Peer Education Training Program. Eventually, I hired her to work with me in our Teen Clinic and Community Outreach Program. That's how we got connected and came to participate in Kindness Weekend together and ultimately the Pathways to Success for Youth Team.
About six months after Breakthrough to Success, the peer ed team was asked to coordinate an activity for the Be Kind Festival. Mikayla came to me and told me she wanted to coordinate a Free Hug Team. I thought she was kidding. It turns out she was not.
The impact was profound. We now offer hugs at all our events and teach heart hugging in most all of our presentations. We distribute iHug buttons and explain proper hugging etiquette and the importance of making the hug offer and getting consent. After the event, I got a message from one of the teens who participated on the Free Hug Team. He wrote:
"Thanks for one of the greatest days of my life. Everything about it was great."
Someday we'll write a book about our experiences and it will be profound.
There is a whole lot more to Mikayla's story. She had some struggles growing up and lost her Mom to terminal cancer when she had just turned 18. I got to witness her process as she was going through some things that no teen should ever have to experience. But I also got to witness her transformation that goes beyond my ability to put it in words. So I'll let Mikayla tell you about it herself.
To learn more about Trish Jacobson and get a closer look at what else she's up to visit http://www.trishajacobson.com
Pathways to Success for Youth Team
Patty Aubery, Trisha Jacobson, Jack Canfield, Mikayla Cerney
Marissa Maitland, Molly Mullins, Marianna Robinson, Grace Remillard, Jack Canfield, Trish Jacobson, Mikayla Cerney, Meg Perrin & Faith Jacobson
Jackie DiFonzo, Olivia Belanger, Kelly Sharp, Marianna Robinson, Chance Bousquet, Meg Perrin, Lea Thelemarck being interviewed by Patty Aubery, President of The Canfield Training Group
Team members not shown: Nichole Tomacelli, Jen Collard, Whitney Pray, Drea Kasianchuk, Chelsea Latham