2021 Transform Your Health Summit
Program & Replays
Transforming Health for Youth
A stellar group of youth program developers meet in conversation to discuss full-spectrum approaches to fostering mental and emotional wellbeing in young people. Azim Khamisa, founder of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation, has taken the power of forgiveness to hundreds of schools and tens of thousands of young people. Katia Petersen developed Safe and Caring Schools before social and emotional learning was a thing. And Ali and Atman Smith works with programs that replace detention with meditation, yoga, and support in schools, drug treatment centers, and Indigenous populations.
In this session, you;ll discover that:
- Forgiveness and self-compassion are key practices that can be taught to foster youth mental health
- Restorative justice-inspired approaches to emotion regulation and behavior problems with young people are feasible and effective
- Interventions focused on meaning, purpose, and service are powerful for cultivating emotional and mental wellness in youth
In 2001, Ali Smith co-founded the Holistic Life Foundation, Inc. and serves as executive director. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, and a graduate of the Friends School of Baltimore and the University of Maryland, College Park, Ali received his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy with a Biodiversity specialization.
Through his work at the Holistic Life Foundation, Inc., he has helped develop and pilot yoga and mindfulness programs at public and private schools, drug treatment centers, juvenile detention centers, mental crisis facilities, and retreat centers all over the world. He has over 20 years of experience teaching yoga and mindfulness to diverse populations.
He has authored a series of children’s books, and co-authored several yoga and mindfulness based curriculums, as well as developed numerous workshops and trainings. His work with there has been featured on Making a Difference, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and CBS, and in O,The Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Upworthy, Mindful magazine, Yoga Journal, and Shambala Sun.
Atman Smith is a co-founder of The Holistic Life Foundation, Inc. Since 2001, he has been teaching yoga and mindfulness to a diverse population, including underserved and high-risk youth in Baltimore City Public Schools, drug treatment centers, wellness centers, and colleges.
A native of Baltimore, Atman attended the University of Maryland, College Park where he was a letter award-winner for the University’s men's basketball team. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice. His work with the foundation, Inc. has been featured on Making a Difference, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and CBS, and in O The Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Upworthy, Mindful magazine, Yoga Journal, Shambala Sun, and other publications.
Following the murder of his son in 1995, Azim Khamisa founded the Tariq Khamisa Foundation, which started a subsequent forgiveness movement that has reached millions.
He has received over 80 local, national, and international awards, including the National Crime Victims' Special Community Service Award, presented by President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno, the Search for Common Ground’s award alongside Desmond Tutu and Ted Koppel, Spirit of Crazy Horse Award, from the Reclaiming Youth Network, alongside Mohammad Ali, the California Peace Prize, the Pepsi Freedom Heroes Award, and several Peacemaker of the Year awards
In 2004, he participated in the Synthesis Dialogues with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama which was hosted by Pope John Paul at his summer palace in Castelgandolfo, Italy.
Azim has served as TKF's founder and chairperson for over 24 years. He is an emissary of peace and an international inspirational speaker with over 700 keynotes, including one to 300,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial at the Stand For Children Rally organized by the Children’s Defense Fund, as well as a speech to the United Nations General Assembly at the High Level Forum on the culture of peace.
Azim serves on the board in the capacity of vice chair for the Institute of Noetic Science. IONS was founded 46 years ago by Edgar Mitchell, who was the sixth man to walk on the moon, and is a leading global institution on researching consciousness.
With a strong passion to share his message with the youth, and to inspire nonviolent leaders to become proactive as peacebuilders, Azim has given over 1,000 presentations to over a million students worldwide. He is a published author of five books: Award-winning, Murder to Forgiveness (being made into a feature film); From Forgiveness to Fulfillment, From Fulfillment to Peace and The Secrets of the Bulletproof Spirit: How to bounce back from life’s hardest hits co-authored with Jillian Quinn and published by Random House. His fifth book, Leadership for the greater good – A guide for truth to power champions, recently released in May 2020. He has been featured countless times in local, national, and international media. In November 2018, Azim spoke for the TEDWomen conference that has been viewed by over 1 million viewers: go.TED.com/azimandples.
Azim was born in Kenya of Eastern roots and educated in England in mathematics and finance and has over 45 years experience in international finance. Azim lives in La Jolla, California, and is the proud father of daughter Tasreen and grandfather of Shahin, Khalil and Miya.
Katia Petersen, PhD, is currently the president of Petersen Argo, Inc., a transformational education company, and brings decades of experience as a clinical psychotherapist, educator, author, and Emmy award recipient for outstanding educational programming in social emotional wellness. She is known for her remarkable ability to touch and open the hearts of individuals in dynamic and healing ways, and is in demand as a motivational speaker, master trainer, and coach.
As executive director of education at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, she led her team in the translation, design, and delivery of evidence-based methodologies that build leadership and self-efficacy skills. Her experiential work, including the Worldview Explorations and Conscious Aging programs, are designed to shift one’s perspective on life, creating new possibilities for how we interact with one another and the world around us, while re-igniting our sense of purpose and meaning.
Dr. Petersen's work focuses on systems change, collaborative processing, power of story, and transformation. An experienced dialogue practitioner, she draws upon a wide range of emergent processes that support effective group work including, World Cafe, Theory U, Appreciative Inquiry and Social Emotional Wellness.
Katia’s passion resides in creating safe and effective spaces for individuals and groups to recognize and increase their capacity to create change.