SEARCH- LIGHT: Lessons from Youth, Art & Healing in Chicago

Social & Collective Awareness- Unifying Self with Community

Overview of Week 2

For Week 2 of SEARCH, our fellows became more comfortable with the space, continued to deepen relationships and build group cohesion.

Week 2: Social and Collective Awareness

Activities and the First Healing Circle

A few activities that were facilitated this week include Defining self with crayons and a feather, Wings Project and Public Health 101: What does a Healthy Community Look Like.

Healing Circles

This week we led our first Healing Circle. Our healing circles have been a transformative experience for both our fellows and facilitators.

Healing Circle #1: Bring A Special Artifact

For our first healing circle fellows Fellows were asked to bring a personal artifact that has special meaning and share out:

  1. How does the personal artifact connect to your identity, person you love(d), or your experiences?
  2. Say aloud the name of a person or people who you are bringing in the space with you today.

The healing circle allowed our fellows and facilitators to collectively heal in a safe space and find commonalities in our journeys. Fellows and facilitators were then split into dyads (groups of 2) to answer prompts:

  • What is your happy place, when you feel at your most free and where you feel physically and emotionally safe?
  • Share the name of a person who has been influential in helping you understand the world around you. How did this person influence your perspective? What did you learn from them?
  • What is one part of your identity that gives you pride in who you are? What about this part of your identity gives you pride? How does it serve you in challenging or difficult times?

In addition, we had a mini birthday celebration with cake and dancing to remind ourselves that every moment, big or small, deserves to be celebrated with the community.

Knowing when to Step In

Many of the SEARCH facilitators are also licensed therapists. Being a facilitator and therapist can look different even though the roles intersect. We often talk about knowing when to provide direct support vs. allowing Fellows to process on their own.

Week 2 Reflection from Youth Participants

At the end of each week we ask all youth participants 3 simple questions:

  1. What did you enjoy most about the week?
  2. What are 1–2 things we can do to improve your experience?
  3. What was the most important thing you learned this week?

During week 2, Fellows continue to feel more relaxed and open to learning more about themselves and others. Here is what they had to say…

Areas for Improvement

This week was our first introduction to offline work. SEARCH fellows are required to complete 5 hours of offline work:

Sample Activity from Week 2: I am and I am going to be

This activity symbolizes our connections with people. It allows participants to visually understand the impact of the interactions and relationships that we develop throughout life.

Steps to complete the activity

  1. Form a circle.
  2. There is a big spool of Yarn. Each participant must take the spool of yarn and answer the prompt: I am ____ and I am going to be ____.
  3. Once they have answered the prompt, each participant holds on to their piece of yarn and throws the rest of the yarn to someone on the opposite side of the circle to form a web.
  4. Continue until everyone has answered the prompt and has a piece of yarn.
  5. Once everyone has answered the prompt, untangle the yarn to form a circle.
  6. Lead a reflection exercise at the end to make meaning of the activity (MOST IMPORTANT)

If you are interested in receiving the step-by-step instructions for any other activities or have additional questions about the why, what and or how of SEARCH please reach out to



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Praxis Institute

Praxis Institute

Praxis integrates theory and practice to engage, empower, and embolden communities to be agents in the creation of their individual and collective wellbeing.