Heart of Now for Youth

Facilitator Lisa Stein has developed a dynamic and original program specifically for youth, based on the principles of the Heart of Now.

Heart of Now for Youth is an innovative, experiential approach to help teens:

  • Develop a sense of self worth...to know and like themselves
  • Learn skills for getting in touch with, and expressing: their feelings, thoughts, intuition, needs, wants and desires
  • Become aware of situations that provoke a personal reaction, and experiment with new ways of handling them
  • Explore what they want out of life, and how to get it
  • Learn tools for creating closeness and community with others

Heart of Now for Youth has enjoyed successful trial runs, and is ready for new venues.

Lisa Stein says:

     "The teen program is fairly new, but we've had great reception working with youth at the River House (a Looking Glass program), LEAD (a program for at-risk youth), and Village Free School in Portland, Oregon.

      "I have been very excited about the willingness and interest demonstrated by the participants. At the River House, I was moved by their shift from making noisy side comments to embodying silence and cooperation by the end of the session. Even those that didn't participate were watching intently.

Please see the rest of this site for general information about the Heart of Now Program. Contact Lisa Stein at lisa@heartofnow.org, or call her at (541) 579-3084.

Sample Exercises

Comfortability Continuum - An exercise for the youth to get in touch with their feelings, needs, and wants and share these with others.

Participants stand in the middle of the room while a facilitator calls out questions. For example: "How comfortable are you with authority? How comfortable are you with expressing your feelings of joy? Anger? Etc. As the participants listen to each question, each person will move to the spot in the room which represents their position on a continuum of possible feelings-- from most comfortable on one side of the room to least comfortable on the other. This exercise promotes the concept that our feelings and desires are natural and it is safe to share them with others.

Milling - Self Appreciation

Participants will take turns standing before another participant, and one person in each pair will share something they like about themselves. The other person will say thank you, and then each person will find another participant with whom to repeat the exercise.

Milling - Exploring Triggers

After a short discussion on what being "triggered" means, each participant will walk up to another person and one person will share about an experience that triggers them. In the middle of the exercise, the facilitator will ask participants to add what they would do differently the next time they feel triggered. Participants are encouraged to experiment with new ideas without judging whether they will work or not.

Milling - Eye contact

Participants mill around the room and look each person in the eye as they pass by. Then we will have a discussion about eye contact.

Each exercise will be followed by a sharing circle.

More complete details on the class structure will gladly be provided upon request.

A Reference for Lisa Stein and Heart of Now for Youth

"As a facilitator and coordinator of a youth leadership group, it has been my pleasure to arrange and experience presentations from some of the state's most exciting thinkers in the fields of civil rights, leadership, and empowerment. Of those presentations, that given to LEAD recently by Lisa Stein for the Heart of Now program stood out in several ways:

"The presentation was both age-appropriate and respectful. Lisa and her colleague addressed our young people in a way that acknowledged their individual wisdom and capacity for wisdom. At the same time, they avoided using language and concepts that would go over teens' heads. LEAD champions youth rights and respect for young people, and the facilitators of this presentation were right in step with our high standards. They seemed to really get the idea of youth empowerment.

"Lisa and Jenny asked questions that invited young people to look deeper into their own beliefs about the world and themselves. Teens and adult volunteers alike commented on making new insights. In one activity, the group members were asked to arrange themselves based on their comfort levels with different situations. In this way, the facilitators let the group process in physical, emotional, cognitive, and interpersonal ways. They were able to compare their positioning with that of other group members and with the expectations of how they would respond. In this way, individuals in the group were able to connect with one another and learn about themselves.

"Underlying the techniques used by the facilitators to lead the group through this process was an obvious expertise in creating a safe group space. The activities and directions they did were made effective by the competent, reassuring, and respectful environment they created.

"Although Lisa and Jenny invited the group to explore more intense emotional issues, I felt confident that they were able to help the teens process these emotions in a safe way. At the same, the activities were interesting and enjoyable.

Here are a few comments about the presentation from young people in the group:

  • 'It was fun. They got everybody into it.'
  • 'They made sure everybody was comfortable and engaged. It just worked.'

"As a group facilitator, I was both comfortable with the emotional safety of the group and impressed with the content and effect of the presentation. Before and after the presentation, Lisa was a pleasure to communicate with. She sought out ways that she could cater the presentation to the specific needs of our group. She was both warm and professional.

"I am happy to give Lisa, Jenny, and the Heart of Now program my confident recommendation as a presentation for young people."

Heather Brule,
LEADership Groups Coordinator, LEAD