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HLF Satellite Akwesasne
Holistic Life Foundation (HLF) believes the best solutions to community problems are home grown. Following an initial pilot program in Charlottesville, VA and subsequently developing best practices in leadership and training in Baltimore, HLF has achieved a new milestone: The HLF Mindful Leaders Satellite Initiative.
In 2020 HLF has partnered with the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory for the first satellite initiative. Our communities have a shared history of oppression and intergenerational trauma. Two cultures with great commonality. The people of Akwesasne also have a deep commitment to Trauma Informed Care, community healing and wellness.
In the summer of 2020 HLF provided 14 Mindful Leaders 80 hours of intensive yoga and mindfulness training over a 5 week period. In addition, HLF partnered with local community educators to provide mental health awareness training, Traditional Haudenosaunee Cultural Education, Classroom Management workshops with Educational Consultant Jennifer Hutchins, and professional development training including Financial Literacy, Public Speaking, Resume Building, and Conflict Resolution .
By partnering with the local Employment Resource Centers, Mindful Leaders were eligible for a weekly stipend in addition to the completion bonus, providing relief during the unexpected challenge presented by the COVID 19 Pandemic and allowing trainees to fully prioritize training.
Akwatsire (ah - khwa - jee - leh) means “family”. Five Mindful Leader Recruits have joined the HLF Akwatsire. Mindful Leaders serve as mindfulness ambassadors in local schools under the guidance of Senior HLF Staff Mentors Lloyd Jones and Jamaal Hawkins.
HLF has achieved worldwide success and accolades via diligence, professionalism, skill, and authenticity. Mindful Leaders embody these virtues and practice what they teach daily with the HLF senior staff, honing mind and body to be highly effective pillars of change within the community through the practice of mindfulness and yoga.
HLF SENIOR STAFF & MENTORS
Jamaal Hawkins joined HLF in 2017. As a Baltimore native, Jamaal uses his knowledge as a former youth football coach and the familiarity of being in his old stomping grounds as a characteristic to empower the youth of his hometown. Through yoga and mindfulness, Jamaal has learned the value of self-care and the gift of being present in the moment. This adage has increased benefit in allowing Jamaal to truly give back to the city that raised him while ensuring that all of the adolescents he encounters see the beauty in existing in the present. Jamaal is happiest when spending time with his family. Before all is said and done, he hopes to be able to visit every major Sports Hall of Fame Center and crossing it off his bucket list.
Lloyd Jones joined forces with HLF in 2006, working Pro-Bono alongside the founders within a severely underserved neighborhood in west Baltimore city. Serving the community, by training with the youth, being a positive role model and teacher within the Impoverished area. His main motivation came from having good experiences as a youth outside of his own culture and environment and then growing older to realize how bad the “hood” traumatizes us. The lack of positive productivity, healthy foods, clean looking environment, and most of all lack of love. He is happy to be helping HLF grow into what it is today. He is grateful for the knowledge and training which has enhanced his personal practice which in return helps him live his best life and allows him to help other troubled lives every day.
HLF AKWESASNE MINDFUL LEADERS
Chantal Forrest is a Mindfulness Instructor here at Holistic Life Foundation, Inc. Akwesasne. Her foundation in mindfulness began with her yoga journey. Chantal has led weekly classes for more than 3 years now with sporadic additions of hosting sound baths and facilitating mindful movement dance classes. She has her 200-hour RYT and 220 hour Kundalini certification. Additionally, Chantal is a lively spirit who resides in Massena, New York where she indulges in her musical talents of singing, playing the guitar, and violin. She is also a proud member of the String Orchestra at St. Lawrence University.
Anenhaienton (Scattering Corn Man) Joshua Angus Sargent Scattering Corn Man is a Snipe Clan Mohawk of Akwesasne. He is a father and jack of all trades. He had tirelessly advocated and worked to uphold Haudenosaunee Sovereignty, Wellness and Community resilience through action. A do-er with a penchant for out of the box thinking and analysis, with a curious and questioning mind. Anenhaienton is often at the cutting edge of community empowerment activities. He brings over 20 years’ experience as a public speaker, a Traditional Haudenosaunee Singer, Dancer and Storyteller. Anenhaienton has worked as a radio broadcaster, farmer, comedian, web designer, and "the audio video guy”. Anenhaienton learned mindfulness, meditation and yoga through his own healing work and integrates the practice with Haudenosaunee philosophy and ancestral teachings.
As a turtle clan member of the Mohawk territory of Akwesasne, Olivia, Iako'nikonhriióhstha', Cook was raised in the community she now serves.
Olivia has worked for over six years in the substance abuse prevention field, focusing her efforts on educating Native youth and families throughout Akwesasne and the Salmon River School District in Northern New York about how to make healthy life choices. Olivia focuses her professional and personal time on engaging with local youth to promote positive self-image and empowerment, often using sports as a medium. Olivia has utilized her roles to work in collaboration with other local programs to increase education, acceptance, and inclusivity around LGBT and Two-Spirit concerns, specifically within the Akwesasne community. At a young age, Olivia became heavily involved in sports and extracurricular activities, which, combined with family support, she accredits as providing a large support system that guided her to a pursue higher education and become the confident young adult she is today. Olivia is excited to be a part of the Holistic Life Foundation team to spread love and peace that yoga and mindfulness brings where it is practiced.
Reese Jacobs is a young, up and coming talent that was inducted in as a Mindfulness Leader to the most recent and brand new Akwesasne HLF satellite program. He has some background in psychology and uses that to his advantage in caring for other humans and respecting the world of trauma informed care. He strives to make the halls of the schools he once walked a place of safety and raw unapologetic growth and development, to remind the youth of all the potential the world has to offer as well as what they may be able to offer the world. He is still relatively new to the world of yoga and mindfulness, but pledges to use his opportunity to serve as a testimonial to mindfulness practices and extend his hand to help those in need onto the magic carpet ride to show them a whole new world!
Steven Thompson-Oakes (Kentsino:ron) is Bear Clan, Two Spirit, from the Kanien’keha:ka community of Akwesasne. He spent much of his childhood growing up in the city of Ottawa. He moved back home to Akwesasne as a young adult in search of reclaiming his culture, traditional language, and sense of community. Meditation, movement, and breath work have played a huge role in his healing and wellness journey. He wants to share and empower others in teaching these healing, calming and life changing practices.