Foster youth tend to have less physical and mental health than other youth due to poverty, trauma, and lack of care. Thanks to funding from the Zellerbach Family Foundation, YTP developed and delivered a series of intensive “Wellness” programs to support the physical and mental well-being of its transition-age youth.
Based on topics chosen by staff and youth, retreats have focused on Professional and Financial Wellness, Mental Health, Physical Health, and Spiritual Health. Following the mental health retreat, youth trainers reported new insights around understanding their anger, showing compassion, and learning how thoughts and feelings can help or hinder.
The physical wellness retreat, for example, challenged participants with a 20-mile bicycle ride and 10-mile canoe trip. Many youth trainers report making ongoing changes in their physical health practices, according to a survey conducted four months after the retreat. To learn more about the impact of YTP Wellness Retreats on foster youth trainers, see our evaluation report.
YTP welcomes new sources of funding to continue its wellness programming. In the words of Jamie Lee Evans, director, “We value that youth trainers are being asked to do extremely courageous work . . . to get personal, bring up painful experiences, and reflect. And we want to support their wellness so they can continue to be brave and courageous warriors.”
YTP believes that wellness programming is a critically important element to the success of any program working with youth. We encourage our colleagues who are working with youth to incorporate ways to experience and replenish wellness into the core of their programs.
If you’d like to include wellness in your programming, contact us.