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Learn About Self-Love, Resiliency During Summer Wellness Series

A group of youth participate in a mindfulness program

“Nature is everything,” Cassandra Powell, founder of Light of Loving Kindness (LOLK), exclaims when discussing why a series like the Self-Love Bootcamp works well in a natural setting.

“Nature just lends itself so well to learning about self-love. Our practitioners this summer are going to be making this correlation between mindfulness-based modalities and how nature teaches us about relationships and resiliency, compassion and kindness,” shares Powell.

Throughout the summer, LOLK is leading “Self-Love Bootcamp: Finding Myself in Nature,” a series of six programs based on one of their fundamental offerings: the Self-Love Bootcamp. Participants will use nature to explore mindfulness-based interventions that help guide them through self-reflection, social emotional learning, mental wellness and more. By engaging young adults and high school students, Powell hopes the LOLK programs provide support while teaching about self-love and improving resiliency.

Born out of a desire to give back, Powell launched LOLK to provide mindfulness support in communities that are affected by trauma and violence, but also have the least access to critical resources.

After hosting a program during a special event in Beaubien Woods Forest Preserve on the South Side of Chicago last year, Powell connected with our Conservation & Experiential Programming staff and learned about the Event & Programming Partnership Program. Through the partnership program, LOLK received support to bring the Self-Love Bootcamp series into the Forest Preserves.

“The grant program helps us diversify our offerings, and helps businesses feel comfortable doing these things in the forest. Programming in the Forest Preserves is more diverse and robust as a result,” explains Adam Kessel, a programming coordinator with the Forest Preserves. The grant program also connects the Preserves with organizations that are reflective of diverse places and responsive to the needs and assets of that specific community.

“If we don’t have specific content expertise in house, and now with the Event and Programming Grant Program, we can work within these communities in a better way,” says Kessel.

The first Self-Love Bootcamp: Finding Myself in Nature program took place on June 18 during the annual Juneteenth Celebration at Sand Ridge Nature Center, and five more programs follow at sites that include Sauk Trail Woods-Central, Sand Ridge Nature Center and Green Lake Woods. The series is designed for youth and their families and continues through August.

Interested in becoming a programming partner? Visit our Event & Programming Partnerships webpage to learn how to submit a partnership proposal.