This is a reference for Oksana Ty

Mindful Storytelling Tools for Youth Work

The training activity took place
in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
organised by Adventures of the Valparaiso
27 August - 3 September 2020
Reference person

Julien Del Maffeo

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Aims & objectives

The main aim of this project was to strengthen professional profiles of youth workers, youth leaders and youth trainers through introduction of MS(Mindful Storytelling) methodology (storytelling empowered by know-how from mindfulness and neuroscience), which resulted in higher quality of youth work in our communities on fostering social inclusion and celebration of diversity.

Based on the needs assessment of the target groups, the project had the following objectives:
-strengthen competencies of of the participants in creating safer spaces where non-formal education happens using MS;
-Foster integration of mindfulness in daily life of the participants;
-Raise awareness about social exclusion and provide the participants with practical knowledge to support their target groups in local communities;
-to help youth workers, leaders and trainers from participating organisations explore storytelling and use of mindfulness and neuroscience approaches as a new way to promote social inclusion, tolerance and respect to diversity among youth;
-To reinforce the capacity and international scope of organisations active in the youth field to promote social inclusion with educational activities and initiatives to address the needs of young people;
-Build capacity of participating organisations in providing quality non-formal education;
-reinforce cooperation between partner organisations and encourage further implementation of joint initiatives;

Professional development of participants was planned in line with the European Training Strategy in the field of youth and supports acquisition of competences such as: flexibility, accessibility and responsiveness to the needs of young people; goal setting and recognition of achievements; design of interactive educational activities; ability to create safe, supportive environments enabling young people to experience life, to make mistakes and to participate with their peers in an enjoyable setting; to understand and facilitate individual and group learning processes; intercultural competence; etc.

Target group & international/intercultural composition of the group & team

The Training Course brought together 28 youth workers, youth leaders and youth trainers from Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, France and Bulgaria who are active in the youth field and willing to improve their skills and capacity to develop quality activities to promote social inclusion. All participants have diverse backgrounds and experience in the field of social inclusion.

-Involvement in the civil society within their countries, active within partner organisations and beyond.
-have experience in local, and perhaps also international, youth work.
-Working English competence;
-Age from 20 years on;
-Eager to learn, get involved in all activities of the training, as well as follow up activities; critically assess their previous knowledge and competencies, as well as new ones they are going to acquire;
-Actively contribute to sharing knowledge and cultures during the project;
-Willing to use their learning and disseminate project results in their organisations and beyond;
-Eager to share cultures and be open to diversity;

Training methods used & main activities

The main methods used: storytelling; meditation, mindfulness, journaling, sharing circles, learning by doing, learning through experiencing; group work; theatre and performing arts; movement; sonorous storytelling; dance; embodied storytelling; inclusive team building; networking; theatre of the oppressed, playback theatre; sensual theatre; open space; world cafe;

Outcomes of the activity

Mindful storytelling is about ways to bring more consciousness to various aspects of our being: The Body, Mind, our Heart and our Soul when sharing our stories. Through languages of music, dance, theatre and other interactive methodologies we explore the stories our bodies, voices, minds, hearts, souls hold to further unleash them and express creatively. Participants will explore storytelling and practical ways to tell their own story in a confident, clear and authentic way. The program was built in a way that each participant:
(1) discovered what mindfulness meant for each of them personally and in the context of MS,
(2) set an intention for what they wanted to develop during TC (e.g. a specific daily practice of awareness),
(3) had the space to explore even more various kinds of methods and approaches offered by other participants + could update his/her own practice as he/she saw fit,
(4) checked the effectiveness, benefits and flaws of his/her practice in more challenging situations related to one's daily life and automatic reactions,
(5) made conclusions, reflected and evaluated the experience and the practice, making updates where needed and committing to continuing the habit also after TC

We equipped participants with tools which enabled them to develop quality activities based on assessment of their target groups to support youth with knowledge, motivation and skills essential to choose and be successful in their own training style.

The project promoted and raised awareness about mindfulness and storytelling education at all levels, which encouraged everyone who came across our materials to stop for a moment and become more present and more mindful of what’s going on.

Together the participants of the training designed and delivered 8 workshops in Amsterdam. All of their workshops were brought together into a brochure which is available in open access.

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

Mindful Storytelling is a methodology which I developed after 5 years of working with Mindfulness and Storytelling as a trainer in the field of non-formal education, as well as with companies.

I offered the applicant organisation to apply for the training and they agreed to collaborate. I have been involved in developing the project idea and the content of the training from scratch. During the activity I was involved as a main trainer, delivering activities with another container whose expertise was on neuroscience. My share of activities covered storytelling. We both blended our knowledge to deliver mindfulness related activities.

Last but not least, various evaluation and dissemination activities I've been involved in after the main activity to think of future steps with the methodology for the years to come.

I worked on this training for 7 days as a full time trainer.

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