Mentoring & Rites of Passage for Young People
During adolescence, the developmental process entails a healthy differentiation from the nuclear family in order to establish a sense of self. During this time, it is essential for young people to have mentors who provide positive modeling of authenticity, integrity, and self-love; and it is a necessity that these role models are someone other than parents, as teens naturally (and healthfully) begin to differentiate from their family.
My role as a mentor is in supporting the authentic self to emerge; to reflect back to someone the gifts that they inherently carry. To help foster a foundational self-awareness, a believe in one’s gifts and voice, and a compassionate curiosity about self, others, and world. To assist in clarifying a sense of self, and anchoring a feeling of belonging in the world.
My personal orientation regards nature and our own bodies as essential contexts for connecting to ourselves and our world (a.k.a. these things are important to me,) and this underlies the way I spend time with young people. I wish to support a positive and loving relationship to one's own body. I am hopeful about awakening the ecological self, and a sense of care for the world.
I also am awkward and weird and insecure in many ways, and am utterly grateful for the chance to be that way, unpolished, without having to prove anything. Frankly, teenagers are often my favorite people to hang out with.
I work with young people of all genders from about ages 12 to 24.
Every individual has her own path to walk, and no two paths are the same. I don't have an agenda. I don't pretend to have all the answers; but I know how to ask questions, and create a totally judgment-free space where a young person can feel safe to explore her true feelings and desires, as well as her fears, blocks, and patterns that might cause her harm. I am an advocate for the authentic self, and for the innate wisdom that lives in each of us. Adolescents and teens in particular carry the gift of Fire--a gift that is often not well received from most of society. My intention is to stoke that fire in a healthy way, so that it may be expressed as passion and creativity and advocacy on behalf of a better world.
I believe that nature helps us to relax, breathe more deeply, and drop down into deeper layers of ourselves; therefore, I work with youth in nature. Generally, once we have established a relationship, I like to take young people to a nearby wild place, walk and talk, build things, play, explore the inner and outer landscapes, tell stories, offer reflections, set some intentions for ourselves, and explore how we might bring more of what we want into our lives. Building a strong, deeply personal, and supportive relationship with the natural world is a powerful way to engender feelings of belonging, resilience, resourcefulness, peace of mind, creativity, and inspiration, and part of the reason I take young people to the land is to help build a relationship with the natural world that will support a person for the rest of their lives.
I like to build relationships over time, so that trust emerges, and I can support the unfolding of the authentic self through a variety of challenges, experiences, and growth. Any work I do with a young person must be with their consent, and I am happy to have some time to meet with and get to know him or her before we decide to enter into this relationship.
Please email me if you are a young person who is into this idea, or if you know a young person who you think might be. Every relationship looks different, and I am completely open to conversation about what makes sense.
Group Mentoring Programs
Navigating the chaotic world of young adulthood is hard. To be able to be oneself with others is a challenge for people of all ages. There is a beautiful thing that happens when a group of young people gets to share the trials, tribulations, successes, growth, and stories of their lives with one another in a real way. Compassion develops. Gratitude develops. Connection develops. Clarity develops. The ability to listen develops. A felt sense of truth develops. Passion develops. We all need to be seen, heard, and appreciated for exactly who we are, exactly where we are. We need to learn from each other, and feel our own stories having an impact on others. This is what group programs are about.
My own journey through adolescence and young adulthood was full of existential angst and unasked questions. My own experience, as well as my work with the Stepping Stones Project and various other organizations and rites-of-passage guides, has inspired me to build more platforms for young people to approach the thresholds of initiation with more support, guidance, and places to share their journeys. Wherever I go, I wish to support young people in meeting the challenges of life, creating relevant ways to acknowledge and support them.
Please click here to check out group mentoring options!
If you are a parent or community member who is curious about initiating a group in your area, please don't hesitate to contact me.
It is important to me to say that I struggle with the concept of being paid for mentoring. I wish that mentors and apprenticeships were more naturally prevalent in the frameworks of our society, and that somehow I could spend my time being in this role and not worry about getting paid for it. I have not figured that out yet. I am committed to: a) finding a way to spend time and build relationships with young people and their families regardless of finances, and b) being transparent about money. I like to use sliding scales and flexible payment plans to both meet my own needs, and meet the needs of the community.