|Pathways to Success for Youth Project|
pathways to success for youth blog
by Marissa Maitland
I first met Trish in the sex education section of my health class in high school. I maintained contact outside of school through her work at the local Teen Clinic and we stay connected over visits to our favorite restaurant where she and her peer education team would sometimes gather.
One afternoon, long after my high school days, I felt stuck and needed to unglue. After years of watching her work with teens unfold. I contacted Trish and she invited me to meet up at her home. She had just moved into a beautiful apartment she was renting in an old bed and breakfast in NH, on the water overlooking the mountains.
Trish has always been a rather strange influence in my life. Intuitive and magnanimous as she is wily, I usually find what I need when I'm around her; mostly through my own self-reflections. During this particular visit we drank lemonade and spoke of my family, my discontent with my job and touched on my overly involved focus on men. In between, Trish talked about her dream of someday buying the house she was renting and turning it into a retreat center and I listened as she told me of how her work with Jack Canfield’s Success Principles began and about her Pathways to Success for Youth Project.
The story of how she came across her new apartment was in and of itself a testament to, what I now know about how the Success Principles work; believing in possibilities, clearing out negativity, getting clear about what you want and taking planned and inspired action towards your goals. She spoke about what first led her to the trainings and the profound breakthroughs she had experienced. I was able see how her story connected to the changes that I, myself, had witnessed in her from afar.
“Now, how did this project that you and Mikayla are working on come about?” I inquired. She described a yearning to be able to give back to the kids she worked with what she had gotten from the trainings, which she lovingly referred to as “Jack's work.” She told me how the bulk of the seminar participants were adults with lifetimes of careers, relationships, and mistakes to sift through. She said that each one of them learned valuable lessons from their time in training and that they all shared one sentiment: they wished they learned it all when they were younger.
And from that the Pathways to Success for Youth project was born.
Trish told me that she would be selecting a group of teens and young adults that she felt would benefit from the program and join her in her vision. She would help the team raise money for them all to attend with the hope that thy would share the magic, see the value and join her in her mission to bring the work to young people.
I thought it was wonderful. At the same time, I realized that all the angst Trish was so adept at helping youth work through was, once again, present in myself. I had done so much growing in my time away from the place where Trish regularly worked her magic, but I was still not immune to the frustration, anger and shame I had carried with me throughout my adolescent years. Here it was again, and I had dragged it into her home in hopes of figuring out how to get rid of it. I felt the yearning she described and I couldn't imagine a better place for her to invest her energies ... in ME! And that was when she mentioned her dream from the night before.
She had woken up with the notion that she needed to start a waiting list for her youth participants. Then a look came over her. Would I like to participate? It wasn't a sure thing by any means, she explained, but if it were possible, would I be interested in attending Jack's Breakthrough to Success 5 day live event? I would need to take the time off from work, she stressed, which at the time meant I would go without money I deeply needed. “I will find a way,” I said, knowing it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
That was the start of my journey with the Pathways to Success for Youth Team. I was twenty-four years old in a group of girls that were mostly younger. I felt like I might be taking advantage; as if I might be taking away an opportunity that should be afforded to someone younger. Not to someone who had spent the last seven years out of high school in braces broken beyond repair. Not to someone who had taken six years to complete a four year program just to get a degree in a field most people considered useless. Not to someone who still had to take the bus to a crappy retail job in the city. I tried to brush the chip off my shoulder and instead, I stood confidently as I accepted my place on Trish's list.
Not long before our departure I met the rest of the girls on the team at one of our many fundraising events. We hit it off in no time. We were all vastly different; each with unique personalities and our own motivations, but we instantly fell in love. And so we pooled our efforts and with a great deal of work, we raised enough money to make the dream a reality. One car, two vans, two planes and one Grand Canyon later we arrived in the dry desert of Scottsdale, Arizona the day before Breakthrough to Success began.
We were nervous beyond anything else and buzzing with excitement as we said good night and rested up for our first day in the training room. And the transformation began ...
Our first day in the training room was everything you expect out of a great seminar … if you had ever been to one … which most of us had not. What was clear was that Jack Canfield, the author of the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul series, the Success Principles book and the seminar's golden star was incredibly charismatic and authentic. He was intelligent and confident but accessible. He disclosed a fair amount about his personal life and experiences, which made everyone feel just a little more comfortable in their own skin. And it was clear that he took his work very seriously. This was to be a fun week and a week of celebration, but only after the hard work and introspection that we would all do with equal participation. And homework. There would most definitely be homework.
At the start of day two I was amped to get back in that room. I was more clear about my thoughts and how I wanted to vocalize them and was determined that I wouldn't fall short where I had the day before. I was motivated to play full out. We ran through a series of activities where we practiced sharing and active listening. We discussed the previous night's workbook activity and we tackled our personal strengths, weaknesses, beliefs about ourselves. We did a self esteem check in preparation for future activities and we participated in silent heart hugging. This was hard for some and great for others, and ultimately became everyone’s favorite activity.
Although I was enthusiastic, I felt uncertain. It was clear that I had the most progress to make out of the bunch when it came to self worth. What I quickly started to realize was that the hurt that I had brought with me, and the work that I needed to do was not what I had anticipated. In fact, what I had come expecting to work through, I realized I had already done on my own, for the most part. What I needed to do in the training room was tackle the biggest beast of all, which was loving myself (as trite as that sounds).
I am so grateful for the moments that happened both inside and outside the training room and for my experience with the Pathways team. I have come to learn and embrace so much about myself and the world around me. By the end of my week at BTS I had collected so many of the tools I needed to move forward in my life.
After my week in Arizona I came back and dove in headfirst to living, loving, and working and shedding the negativity I held around me for so long. I had learned so many things; how to set realistic goals, how to manage my time and prioritize appropriately, how to save my money and my time for myself and spend it where it really counts. I even learned how to dress from an empowered place in an endeavor I affectionally refer to as the Great Color Experiment (which, I am proud to say was incredibly successful)! More on that later!
Today, a year later, I hold myself accountable in a way I never have before. I accept and take responsibility for my actions and realize that what happens to me is a direct result of that. I am now free to enjoy so many lessons because of that.
Since this time last year I have lost nearly twenty pounds. I have gained a healthy appreciation of myself and for life. Before BTS I had no car, no confidence, no savings, and surrounded myself with as much of that “stuck-ness” as I could subconsciously find. Today my coworkers, friends, and family look to me as an example of someone who is confident and reliable. I am much more comfortable in my skin. I have not only a vehicle, savings, and colorful wardrobe, but the knowledge that when I make my way out of my apartment every morning I carry myself in a way that reflects accurately who I am. I communicate more effectively and I express my appreciation for the people and things around me. I am more productive and am taking better care of myself, physically and emotionally.
This has all had a tremendous impact on my personal and professional life. Being a part of the Pathways to Success for Youth Team has been, and continues to be something that I cannot express enough gratitude for. The opportunity I was given is something that I hope everyone, especially young people, will experience for themselves and I am committed to helping that happen!
Learn more about how you can support the Pathways to Success for youth team as we continue to build our capacity as we get ready to bring this work to more youth!
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