Last year, the Franciscan Spirituality Center (FSC) collaborated with the Manitou Wellness Center to offer a family mindfulness workshop. The practice of mindfulness and its ability to enhance connections between adults and youth was so well received that they wanted to create a program that would specifically help adolescent girls learn this skill.  

FSC invited Trish Johnson from the Manitou Center to collaborate and bring Girls Connect to the La Crosse community. 

Girls Connect is a four week-long program that allows girls ranging in age from nine to 12 to come together and talk about the things that are important to them. These conversations cover topics such as relationships, empowerment and difficulties they may be facing. 

The program focuses on mindfulness practices and this age range to empower young girls at a time when  they are receptive to teachings, even in the face of adversity. 

Johnson’s teaching style is practical and lays groundwork that allows girls to pursue mindfulness long after the program has ended. Through the use of breathing exercises, mantras, journaling, yoga, group sharing and other wellness teachings, the participants have the tools they need to practice mindfulness independently.  

The Franciscan Spirituality Center’s mission is to “support anyone in their search for God, meaning, and wholeness.” By creating Girl’s Connect, FSC is supporting the girls to find their meaning and to feel whole as they are.  

Girls are given the power of self-acceptance. The mindfulness tools they develop during this program will help them process and disarm any future threats to that belief. This newfound power makes all the difference in enriching young girls’ lives and allowing them to find peace within themselves and who they are. 

Mindfulness in adolescent girls is just the beginning. As the girls bring these techniques home, family members may notice improved behavior and the girls have an opportunity to share their knowledge in these practices, which can further improve their self-worth.  

Pre-teen and teen girls are experiencing ever increasing levels of stress and pressure, as our world changes. Mindfulness is a critical skill for them to manage these feelings and protect their mental health.  

The Girl’s Connect program at the Franciscan Spirituality Center gives young girls a space to deepen their understanding of what it means to live in the present moment, allowing them to build resilience and deeper connections with others. 

Through the Girls Connect program, girls can feel whole even when the world tells them they shouldn’t. 

The Girls Connect program is brought to La Crosse by Franciscan Spirituality Center. To find out more about the Franciscan Spirituality Center and upcoming events, like them on Facebook or visit their website.