Create an open space for youth to recognize we all have things going on in our lives.

  1. Introduce the concept that each one of us has things going on in our lives that other’s don’t know about. There’s a commonly shared story about a young boy who was planning to commit suicide has his life turned upside down by a new friend. And although that story might be an extreme, the lesson is still true. We don’t know what each one of us is going through, so kindness is best.
  2. Give each youth an index sized piece of paper and a marker (marker is better than pen).
  3. Ask each youth to consider something that has been going on in their life that not everyone here knows about. Some examples could be: I get picked on at school, I’m failing my class, my parents fight a lot, It’s hard for me to make new friends, I feel lonely, etc.
  4. Tell the youth to anonymously write down a simple phrase that represents this aspect of their life on their paper. Ask them to immediately put the paper face down and collect all papers so no one can see what they wrote.
  5. Randomly pass out the papers to the group and have them tape their newly assigned paper to their forehead.
  6. Have the group walk around in silence for a few minutes and observe what is written on the foreheads of their peers.
  7. Gather in small groups and share about one of the following topics (or something related):
    1. What makes us afraid to open up with people?
    2. Is there anyone in your life who really knows what’s going on with you? If so, who is it?
    3. What can we do personally to create a place where people feel they can truly open up?
    4. Challenge: Get into trinities with new friends and practice kindness and open sharing.
opening upManish Saluja