Updated: Mar 2, 2020
On February 15, 2020, The 2020 SHIELD Saturday Leadership Academy held its third session at UNCG. During this session, the mentees and volunteers participate in a brief yoga session. The yoga sessions are led by Jennifer Jennette of Grow Yoga Together. In today’s yoga session all participants learned more about balance and focus. Jennifer also introduced the meaning of the term “namaste”. Namaste was defined as an individual acknowledging the light and divinity within another soul. The yoga session resulted in great engagement from mentors and mentees.
Following the yoga session, volunteer mentor Isabelle (Belle) Downing, led today’s session topic. The topic of discussion for session three was relationship development. The objectives of this session were to Identify the qualities of healthy relationships and to discuss ways to make successful relationships. The session began with a game where a volunteer mentee placed a blindfold over their eyes and Belle placed a birdie toy somewhere in the room. The remaining mentees and mentors had to lead the blindfolded mentee to the toy to pick it up. Everyone worked as a group to help the blindfolded mentee. The activity was successfully completed on two occasions by the youth participants.
Belle asked the mentees what were some takeaways and what were some challenges. Great points about teamwork and communication were made. One of the main challenges that the youth participants mentioned was that there were people talking over one another. Belle emphasized how the game ties teach the importance of being an active listener. Belle told the mentees that active listeners are not just hearing you speak but they’re processing what’s being said. Many of the mentees understood this and applied it to relatable scenarios.
Belle also introduced the word empathy to the group. Many of the mentees did not know how to differentiate between empathy and sympathy. However, some of the mentors were able to bring clarity to what it meant to be empathetic. Belle used the example of someone expressing that they are having a bad day and a person responding by saying, “Well, that does sound like a bad day.” That’s not a great example of being empathetic. Empathy was defined as the ability to understand and share the feeling of another person.
The second activity was a game where the mentees and mentors wrote on a notecard the qualities that they would look for in people in order to have a meaningful relationship with them. After everyone wrote on their note cards, the mentees learned about some of the common qualities amongst the group. Belle reiterated to the group that it's not only important to seek those qualities in others but to reflect on our own qualities and see if we offer the same things we want others to have when interacting with us. Check out the Facebook Live to see some of our participants interview our guest speaker.
To close out the session, mentees broke off into small groups where they were given their portfolios to do individual reflections on the session. Mentors were divided amongst the groups to help mentees answer any questions they might have.