Youth from across the state, including our Long Beach youth, attended the annual Building Healthy Communities/Every Student Matters Retreat this past weekend to solidify campaign priority goals, strategy and activities.
The retreat offered a space for youth leaders to build community and deepen relationships among each other. It also provided youth with the opportunity to deepen their understanding of restorative practices and develop their personal stories.
“This was the first time many of the young people had been away from home for the weekend, and for others, it was the first time being away on a retreat with people they had never met before,” said Omar Cardenas, Youth Organizer at the Children’s Defense Fund – California. “Being away from home, and the inner city and closer to nature gives young people a chance to reflect, and space to let go of any unwanted stress or anxiety that they might be carrying with them. The retreat pushed some of the participants out of their comfort zone, but by the end of the weekend, we witnessed a transformation of grown and community develop before our eyes. Ultimately, we were able to create a sacred space that was intergenerational, inclusive and held the ground for all of us to experience love in practice.”
The retreat was held Jan. 29–31 at Camp Alonim in Simi Valley.