MyPath is an evidence-based mindfulness and yoga peer training program designed to reduce experiences of violence and trauma in communities of young persons experiencing homelessness. The MyPath program partners with nonprofits and service agencies to train young people to be Mindfulness and Yoga Peer Ambassadors who promote the use of inclusive mindfulness and yoga-based tools to their friends, family, and community.
It’s That 50. It's The Middle Before Going To 0-100. Where You Get To Decide What You Want To Do. It’s Thinking Before You React. Not Letting Your Emotions Get The Best Of You. Practicing That And Making It A Skill That You Could Practice Throughout Life.
50 Is a tool to remind us to pause. Take a breath. Tune into your body. Inhale. Exhale. Count Up To 5. Count Down To 1. Pause. Repeat. You’ve just practiced 50 Seconds Of Mindfulness. Use 50 As A Tool For Yourself And To Share.
One in ten young people in the U.S. experience homelessness every year.
Violence and trauma impact everyone, but the most vulnerable and marginalized populations, like youth experiencing homelessness, are disproportionately affected. Homeless youth often have complex trauma histories and are at further risk for experiencing trauma when living outside, in a shelter, or in unstable housing scenarios. Additionally, the persistent impact of violence and trauma can be a major obstacle when trying to safely and successfully exit homelessness. Reducing these experiences is imperative. Yet, to date, very few programs have been able to effectively do that.
For ten years, the MyPath founders, Robin and Nick, have been bubbling around the idea of using mindfulness and yoga as a tool to strategically and effectively improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness as well as other groups that are historically marginalized. Mindfulness and yoga can be effective tools for learning how to persevere, cope with adversity, regulate emotions, achieve goals and be effective interpersonally. Inspired by their own lived experiences and informed by a robust empirical evidence base, Robin and Nick developed MyPath: Mindfulness and Yoga Peer Ambassador Training for Health.
The MyPath program recruits cohorts of young people within a social network to participate in an eight-week training program to become MyPath ambassadors. During an initial three-hour MyPath retreat, facilitators tap into ambassadors’ expertise to elicit causes and consequences of violence and other maladaptive behaviors related to impulsivity, such as substance abuse or interpersonal conflict, in Ambassadors’ networks. Ambassadors are then trained in inclusive mindfulness and yoga skills which they subsequently disseminate organically throughout their social network. After the initial training retreat, MyPath ambassadors participate in a weekly mindfulness and yoga class in which they continue to refine their skills as ambassadors and invite their peers to practice alongside them.
MyPath uses a unique train-the-trainer approach to disseminating yoga and mindfulness effectively in a non-traditional community.
Informed heavily by theories of social learning behavior, adolescent development and network diffusion, the MyPath founders believe this novel approach is the key to the program’s effectiveness and long-term sustainability as an evidence-based model that can scale to make a broad impact.
“Instead of talking to 100 people and telling them that mindfulness is great and could help them why don't we just take a select number and show them what do we do. We can select ten of those 100 people and train them to actually be the ambassadors for the community. They become the change agents. They are the ones that go out and share the knowledge of these skills and these behavior based tools.”
Our peer-reviewed pilot results found significant reductions in group level violence as well as increases in trait mindfulness and mindfulness practice frequency after program completion, which was maintained one and a half months after the program was completed.
Get involved in the MyPath Mission
Read our and share the first MyPath peer-reviewed publication
Coming soon in the Journal of the Society of Social Work Research!
Buy the #MyPath50 KeepCup
The #MyPath50 KeepCup is a social purpose product. All profits from the #MyPath50 KeepCup go directly to providing mindfulness and yoga to young people experiencing homelessness. The profits will go directly to the facilitation of MyPath workshops and scholarships for MyPath Ambassadors to become Mindfulness and Yoga certified. Reserve your #MyPath50 KeepCup here.
Host a #MyPath50 Workshop
Drs. Petering and Barr believe that increasing group-level mindfulness connected to self-regulation skills has impacts beyond interpersonal violence. That’s why they have developed the #MyPath50 Workshop, which is designed for individuals and agencies to learn, through experiential practice, how strategic and intentional mindfulness practice can strengthen systems, reduce barriers, and improve outcomes. Schedule a workshop here.
Become a MyPath Trained Teacher
MyPath teachers are critical for the long-term sustainability in promoting mindfulness and yoga as a tool in reducing the experience and barrier of trauma for communities experiencing homelessness. The 12 hour MyPath Teacher Training will provide social workers yoga teachers, mental health professionals, educators, activists, or anyone who is interested in promoting mindfulness and wellness as tools for health and empowerment in non-traditional communities. Trained MyPath facilitators will have opportunities to assist in the training of MyPath Ambassadors and the ongoing MyPath community classes. Sign up for the training September 7-8, 2019 in Los Angeles here.
Implement MyPath at your agency
Incorporate the MyPath program and model in your homeless agency or community based program We know that exiting homelessness through the social system can be a complex process.. MyPath can become one piece of the suite of services that are offered at your agency that strengthens already existing systems and improves program outcomes. MyPath focuses on supporting consumers in their ability to regulate their emotions as they engage in other services. The MyPath program can be fully tailored to meet the needs of an agency and community. Once it is implemented it requires very few staffing hours. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.