Move for Mind News: Move for Mind announces "steps to success" Program
Steps to Success Announcement Article
The Move for Mind Foundation is thrilled to announce the launch of our new program, Steps to Success. Steps to Success is a youth running club with the goal to build an inclusive, supportive, and united community of mental health advocates empowered to strengthen their minds and bodies in order to persevere through any challenge. Steps to Success is a chapter-based program with it’s first locations in New Brunswick, New Jersey and Westport, Connecticut. Taylor Newman, Co-founder and Executive Director of Move for Mind, leads the New Brunswick, NJ chapter, and Jared Cavagnuolo, a Program Coordinator of Steps to Success leads the Westport, CT chapter. The running clubs provide safe, judgment-free spaces to educate participants on the benefits of movement for overall health and explore how strengthening the mind and body helps achieve our goals. Speaking on the importance of judgement-free spaces, Jared Cavagnuolo reflects on his time as a special education teacher, saying, “I was almost always able to form strong relationships with these students, mostly by just providing them with a space they knew was safe and making it clear that I genuinely cared about them.”
Move for Mind’s mission to advocate, educate, and inspire to improve mental health is the core focus of the program. It is crucial to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness by fostering genuine conversations and creating a culture of acceptance and empathy. Our coaches model these types of conversations with the participants through their exploration of discussion topics each practice. In addition, our coaches show participants effective ways to advocate for themselves and others. We educate participants on the connection between physical and mental health and the way movement strengthens both the mind and body. These topics are explored throughout the entire program and through group and one-on-one discussions. By the end of the curriculum, participants are inspired not only to approach any challenge with confidence, but also to believe in their power to make a difference both in their own lives and the lives of others.
Reflecting on the importance of the Steps to Success missions and goals, Taylor Newman explains:
I think it’s important to create a space where students can have these conversations outside of a classroom, because there’s a level of openness and comfort you get while spending time outdoors, running with friends. We’re trying to build a place where kids can ask themselves questions like “what stresses me out during the day” or “why do I get upset when I get bad grades”... you know, the simple things that every high school student experiences. Ultimately, we want to show kids that in the same way we come together, hangout, and go for a run, we can come together and have these conversations about mental health.
Every 3 to 4 weeks our coaches put their focus on a new goal based around mental health and the connection it has with physical health. During the first phase of the curriculum, participants begin to explore themselves. Various discussion topics are introduced to help participants understand the connection physical activity and mental health have with one another. Phase two is focused on looking inward, and participants explore how topics like mental health apply to our everyday lives, such as setting goals, motivating ourselves, facing challenges, and staying present. During phase three, participants and coaches transition into looking outwards and examine how to work together to become an advocate for mental health. The fourth and final phase of the curriculum is spent guiding participants towards applying the principles learned to their future success.
The Steps to Success running clubs are starting this summer in New Brunswick, NJ at Buccleuch Park and in Westport, CT at both Roosevelt Forest and Waveny Park. All students ages 13 to 18 years old are eligible to join! No running experience is required, food and drinks are provided, and the program is completely free. To learn more about Steps to Success or to register today go to www.moveformind.com/stepstosuccess.