This summer, FEEST hosted a series of free events, called Rest & Restore. We heard that the 2021 – 2022 school year was one of the most difficult for students, educators, and parents. We are living through a global pandemic coupled with major loss, grief, and a growing mental health crisis all the while transitioning back to “normalcy” at schools. This “normalcy” is not sustainable. At FEEST, our students are campaigning for better mental health resources for students and teachers, and we wanted to take time to practice embodying mental health with our community.
With this spirit, we created our Rest & Restore Series to cultivate belonging, play, care, and self and community-preservation. In four sessions with community practitioners, we explored Mindful Meditation, Generative Somatics, and healing spaces! We were joined by 3 marvelous community practitioners, Tai Maddox, Heather Adams, and devon de Leña. Tai led us through a creativity calming sound bath, Heather came through twice, once this summer and once again in the fall to lead us through a breathwork and meditation session, and devon grounded us in our body and led us through a generative somatics session.
Image is of Tai Maddox
Image is of Heather Adams
Image is of devon de Leña
Each session was offered in English & Spanish, and our last session was offered in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. We know it is important to provide translators for these offerings because too often our non-English speaking community doesn’t have the same access to resources and practices. Our Rest & Restore sessions were powerful because we all were given permission to show up as exactly as we were. We could turn our cameras off, nap, cry, and release the stresses of the day. In addition to these sessions, participants who were teachers and parents received Safeway gift cards as a way of thanking them for their time.
Rest and Restore was also an opportunity for FEEST to tie in the current body of youth-led campaign work. In fall of 2021, our Student Organizers surveyed their peers and discovered that Mental Health was the top issue impacting students and their ability to learn. Our students spoke to leaders and decision-makers about the challenges they were facing. They also spoke with principals, counselors, school board representatives, teachers, and parents to find out the barriers our schools are facing when it comes to providing mental health resources to our school communities. You can learn more about the conversations we’ve been having by checking out the Recap Blog for Our Mental Health Panel that we hosted this past spring! After students gathered and assessed this information, they identified the following goals to support youth mental health in schools:
Bigger budget for mental health in next year’s school district budget
Free full-time therapists with similar lived experiences as the students they serve
Culturally Affirming Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in all schools
SEL and Crisis Support trainings for teachers
Hosting Rest & Restore was the way we connected our campaign work to providing tangible resources to the community members. It was an honor to share space with you all and we hope that with these sessions we were all able to rest and restore, even if it was just for an hour and a half.
FEEST would also like to personally thank our Multi-Generational organizer Fotima, for spearheading these heart-centered events and bringing together our wider community of families and students, and educators. Thank you, Fotima 💖
Thank you for reading our Rest & Restore recap blog! In case you didn’t know, FEEST is in the middle of our End of Year Donation Drive! We are raising funds to continue our work in the Highline & Seattle Public Schools District, and hope to reach 100 donations by 2023.
If you wanna support:
🟢 Paying our Student Organizers & staff ABOVE Minimum Wage! 😎
🟣 FEEST building strong school communities! 📚
🟤 Us getting closer to realizing our mission, vision, and values for a better world for working-class youth of color and their families 🏡
Donate today! All size donations are meaningful to us, there is no amount that goes unappreciated.