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What is "Rest, Release, Respond"?

Rest, Release, Respond are the three phases for processing trauma in a healthy way. These phases, and how to best implement them, guide our mentors, our programming, and our leadership. 


We build our mentees’ resilience by journeying with them through these three phases to help them heal. By tailoring our programming to the individual, we show them the world in which they can contribute and learn to thrive. 

Phase 1: Rest

Building a safe place.


Our mentees come to us from chaotic situations of all kinds. Chronic chaos causes stress, and stress causes a litany of problems (both physical, mental, and emotional). So, before any healing can take place, the chaos needs to stop. Even for just a little while. 


The Journey’s programs, such as Roots, Seeds, and Nets, build safe, stable environments where all their needs (food, shelter, community) are guaranteed. During these programs, Journey mentors and facilitators build relationships, model healthy adult behavior, and expose mentees to various supportive resources and opportunities within the community. 


Building safe spaces to rest builds trust - a fundamental component in a mentee’s journey toward growth and healing. 


Phase 2: Release

The past does not define the future.


When a mentee feels safe enough to rest, they can start releasing by looking inward and examining their trauma.


By contrasting their life experience with the experiences lived within The Journey’s safe spaces, mentees can dare to think that permanent change is possible. That they can build a stable life and healthy relationships. They learn let go of the guilt that trauma produces. By acknowledging their traumas and alleviating the guilt, their pain becomes more manageable. Once they are free to safely feel those suppressed emotions, they are free to feel other emotions also. 


It’s essential that a mentee releases in their own time - mentors cannot choose when a young person is ready to engage in this phase, so The Journey's mentors will be ready to effectively support our young adults whenever the need arises. In addition to connecting with mentors, we also encourage mentees to freely share their experiences with their Journey peers. We want our young adults to know that they are not alone and that they do not have to tackle difficult issues alone. 


Phase 3: Respond

Choosing to move forward


Releasing breaks down traumatic experiences and old behaviors; responding then builds new behaviors to replace the old, paving the way for growth. Once a mentee has had the chance to build trust and become aware of their trauma and its effects, The Journey gives them the tools needed to build resilience through working with their natural talents and connection to the community. 


We provide mentees with experiences, exposures, introductions, and opportunities, showing them examples of who they could become and how they could contribute. We enroll mentees who have not finished high school into GED programs and help graduates enter the workforce or find higher education. We teach classes so mentees have an opportunity to build proficiency with life skills and maintain a healthy lifestyle. We help them find opportunities to volunteer. We take them on workplace tours to show them where they might find purpose and success. 


The Journey uniquely follows through with our mentees by giving one-on-one support and transportation (a common barrier for those who have lived in dysfunction). Helping with the legwork helps a mentee take an opportunity they might otherwise abandon. Sometimes that help is the difference between action and inaction. 


Why take this approach?

The Journey’s intense approach is time-consuming and must meet a variety of complicated needs, many of which require resources beyond time. To help at-risk teens and young adults work through the states of Rest, Release, Respond, we need resources for food and other physical needs, testing, transportation, class supplies, and other Journey-sponsored activities.


In the end, we know it’s worth it to be able to support our mentees along the journey to adulthood, providing unconditional love, support, and lifelong connection needed for happy and successful lives. 

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