Youth Development with SHEI

Youth Wellness Initiative

A holistic health program that incorporates evidenced-based neuroscience data with an integrated mind-body-spirit approach to building a foundation for youth resiliency.

Beginning this summer of 2019, Sunset Hill Educational Institute (SHEI) will pilot a new resource for emotionally vulnerable teenage girls in the form of a holistic health program titled the Youth Wellness Initiative (YWI). This pilot program will focus specifically on teenage girls transitioning from 8th grade (Middle School) into 9th grade at Kearsarge Regional High School in Sutton, New Hampshire. SHEI's leadership team will work with Middle
School guidance counselors to identify at-risk girls with emotional health concerns, including: anxiety,
hopelessness, fear, lack of self-­worth, and/or depression.

Pilot year 2019 will enroll 15 to 20 girls based on school counselor assessment. The pilot initiative consists of a week-long program with seven-hour days structured around experimental learning practices. The one-week program will be followed by three separate day long retreats throughout the year. Additional week-long programs will be added during the summer as the initiative ramps up in future years. One goal of the week-long program and the intent of the follow up retreats is to build relationships among the participants and develop peer mentor relationships between 8th and 12th grade students.

YWI is designed to help youth develop a growth mindset that builds skills through experiences, teaches self-reflection practices, perseverance and passion while participants face challenges in their daily lives. The YWI curriculum encompasses science-based research practices and an understanding of the neuroscience of anxiety, addictive behaviors, screen time and the effects of today's fast-paced media digital world on the well-being and mental welfare of program participants. The program incorporates positive growth mindset theory integrated with hands-on
experiential learning to allow participants to develop positive habits and foster successful behaviors. The target population is at a critical developmental stage. The YWI proactive approach provides a structure to cultivate positive beliefs and teaches practical strategies that foster inner strength and belief in oneself in the face of today’s faced-paced challenges.

The YWI program will strive to enable participants to:

  • Become involved in an experiential self-awareness curriculum that build skills to deepen an understanding of the inter-connection between mind, body and spirit and achieve balance within and a growth mindset outlook on life.

  • Learn through challenging experiences to build self-character, perseverance and passion in life; develop a can-do mindset.

  • Gain and practice strategies to help recover from failure.

  • Experience satisfaction that comes from self-direction.

  • Increase self-advocacy skills and resiliency as participants transition from youth to young adult.

  • Understand and practice mindfulness skills as a method for being in the present and reducing stress.


YWI Professional Team

SHEI has assembled an impressive leadership team of experienced professionals to design,

develop and implement the initiative. Our team includes:

  • Rick Stockwell - Rick worked as an elementary and middle school guidance counselor for 37 years in the Lebanon, NH school district. Rick has led over 50 parenting workshops, taught weekly guidance classes at every grade level, and led the guidance curriculum planning committee.


  • Kathleen Bickford - Kathleen is an educator with over 25 years of classroom and leadership experience.

  • Laura Eldridge - Laura is a behavioral therapist, mindfulness instructor and teacher.

  • Carol Conforti-Adams - Carol brings 30 years of experience in developing and implementing community partnerships with successful outcomes.


In addition to the key members of our leadership team, SHEI is working with additional professionals and vested parties.