Community Healers Project Message + May 11 workshop

Children and teens need emotionally mature adults to help them regulate their emotions and make sense of their experience.  Many times youth and community workers are filling the connection gap where in past eras family and extended family would have fulfilled this need.  They provide space, structure, consistency and some attunement for young people that support them to develop and grow themselves.
 
As adults, we also rely on other adults to help us stay in the zone of well-being.  Human beings are wired to use connection to help us feel safe, to lower our stress levels and to recover from everyday bumps and bruises as well as life's bigger traumas.  If we are not stabilized by other adults who hear and understand us, it makes it difficult to emotionally and physically regulate ourselves, and in turn we cannot offer a healthy and effective "container" for those young people that depend on us.
 
If I care about the future of this world, I must care about the people who provide the day to day developmental containers for children and youth.  In many ways, the world feels less safe today than it has in the past and young people really need our support to stay balanced.  
 
In creating the Community Healers Project, my goal was to create a community of mutual regulation for those who need to hold it down for the youth.  A place where community caretakers could experience social connection with those that "get it", where they could acknowledge the challenging realities of the work and also learn tools for staying in a zone of well-being.
 
This is in some ways a simple thing, and in some ways very complex.  In the past year I've learned that perhaps trying to run the project through non-profit structures is not the best way to actualize it, as it recapitulates those conflicts that make it difficult for frontline workers to feel safe and take care of themselves.
  
I found my time taken up with administrative, organizational, political and anti-oppression issues rather than have the small amount of volunteer time I had available go to actually running the self-care circles.  The few self-care circles (4) that I ran I felt very good about and I learned a lot from them.  But I also no longer want to do it as a non-profit endeavor because it was difficult to get close to my original
vision and it was compromising my own ability to be self-caring.  This obviously negates the whole point of modelling self-care. 
 
I have had many frontline workers as clients in my energy work practice over the years which is how I came to do work with FPYN and experiment with the CHP.  How exactly to stay personally sustainable and how to prioritize self-care while effecting system change has been a deep interest of mine for two decades.  I have collected concepts and practices around caring for self while caring for community, and I want to share what I have learned without compromising that foundation.  
 
My plan is to offer self-care circles or workshops independently in the future.   I'm planning one on boundaries for frontline workers, somewhat similar to the circle I ran at the YouthRex Provincial Exchange in Oct 2016, for Thurs May 11th from 630pm to 8pm at a cost of $35, with 7 spots available. 
 
I may find a different, possibly more informal way to constellate the Community Healers Project. I may be doing some self-care workshops for youth allies through the City of Toronto's similarly (coincidentally) named Community Healing Project later in the year and I am open to being hired by organizations to run self-care programs for youth or community worker staff.  Please let me know if you would like to come to the workshop on boundaries or be on my mailing list for future events - you can reach me at amahla.johnson@gmail.com.
 
I encourage frontline and community workers to meditate on the importance of their work and try to treat themselves with a great amount of self-love and respect, which includes surrounding themselves with people who understand, celebrate and support them.  None of us do the work of tending to and righting the world alone.   
 
Hugs, 

Amahla