LIFT Committee practices mindfulness
Tennis balls zoomed through the air as laughter from within a small room at Leake & Watts erupted. Both the mentees and the LIFT (Lead. Inspire. Focus. Thrive.) volunteers had commenced their first workshop on mindfulness.
Everyone struggles with managing stress and navigating difficult life choices, so the NYJL volunteers on LIFT determined early on that it would be beneficial for the mentees to learn techniques for coping with stress. The volunteers created a curriculum dedicated to mindfulness and provided their mentees with fun activities while teaching valuable lessons on these important life skills.
As an icebreaker, one girl was given a single tennis ball and instructed to toss it to another participant while calling her name. As the ball progressed from person to person, another tennis ball was added with instructions to follow the same pattern of flight. This process was repeated to the brink of chaos. It taught the girls to focus on their surroundings, added a memory challenge, and tested their ability to multitask. There was no shortage of smiles and luckily, there were no collisions.
Next, everyone sat down in a circle to learn about meditation from guest speaker Mo Shome. Mo rang a meditation bell to kick off the workshop, “I can feel the ring through my body and in my bones” proclaimed one of the Leake & Watts mentees. Mo led the group in a full meditation practice and afterwards, the girls and volunteers shared their feelings before and after the meditation session. Mo also explained the impact of meditation on brain development. One of the mentees, an aspiring neuroscientist, spoke with Mo at length about the science behind meditation.
The last activity for the group tested everyone’s attention to detail. Pairs were asked to select a single orange from a large bag and observe its unique surface and flaws. The oranges were then put back in the bag, which was shaken up, and each pair was tasked with identifying their specific orange.
Everyone left the mindfulness workshop with new skills, new friends, and a new appreciation for the importance of details. The LIFT committee strives to develop workshops that equip mentees with life skills as well as foster and instill bonds.