We host a youth summit for high school students, exploring different topics of mental wellness while connecting them to local professionals and artists in Lancaster County.

Rise Above Youth Summit

The Rise Above: Eliminating Stigma in Youth Mental Wellness youth summit is a collaboration between the Touchstone Foundation and The Hood Hippie Love Yourself.

The goal for this summit is to help students gain new skills and connect them to resources for mental health in Lancaster County. Over the course of 4 weeks students will be introduced to new topics and themes and hear from professionals and local creatives. Students will be able to learn from each other and their Safe Space Coordinators (facilitators of the workshops).

Throughout the summit students will be challenged and encouraged to understand different perspectives when it comes to mental health. With each workshop that students participate in, they will be tasked to build up their general knowledge of mental health, learn about resources and understand the nuances about what mental health is and isn’t. Students will also be asked to explore their creativity through different mediums of art.

Get Involved

The Touchstone Foundation takes a whole-person approach to mental wellness. The Rise Above youth summit serves to explore and educate the various themes within mental wellness. We are always looking for new facilitators with a fresh perspective and engaging presentations to facilitate discussions with high school students from all parts of Lancaster County.

If you’re interested fill out the form below and we will connect with you!

Safe Space Coordinators

We call our facilitators Safe Space Coordinators, because not only are they engaging with the students on topics of mental health but they are also creating a space that is open for questions, comments and everything in-between for those that are just starting to learn about mental health.

Summer 2023 - Summer Intensive

Workshop Recap

  • YWCA Racial Equity Institute
  • Self Reflection Workshop, Kearastan Jordan – Painter and mixed media artist
  • Believe in Your Power Workshop, Keisha Finnie – Painter and mixed media artist
  • Poetic Probability, Sir Dominique Jordan – Spoken Word Poet and Performing Artist
  • Affirming Poetry Workshop, Thunda Khatt – Spoken Word Poet, Painter and mixed media artist


Field Trip Recap

  • The Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition & The Loop
  • Pennsylvania College of Art and Design
  • The Ware Center – Millersville University

Summer 2023 - Community Connections

  • Poetic Free Writing: Emotions in Nature, Pilisa Mackey – Poet
  • Plants & Personal Growth, Brian “Bri” Nguyen – Photographer and creative
  • Racial Healing Community Conversation, Julia Huyền Cao – Local Advocate and Brian Graves – Poet and Advocate
  • Ripple Creators Program, Alex Colon aka Wednesday – Hip hop artist and Music producer
  • Create your own story, Vania Hardy – illustrator

Spring 2023 - Workshop Recap

Fall 2022 - Workshop Recap

  • Build a playlist: Connecting and coping with emotions through music, The Hood Hippie Love Yourself
  • Mental Health 101, Dr. Amanda Katchur – Psychologist, Touchstone Foundation Board Member
  • Understanding Self Advocacy, Dr. Karen Rice – Professor, Touchstone Foundation Committee Volunteer
  • Creative Writing Workshop, Sir Dominique Jordan – Spoken Word Poet and Performing Artist
  • Self Love And Self Expression Through Art, Keisha Finnie – Painter and mixed media

Community Partnerships

We’re happy to be partnering with YWCA Lancaster and CWS Lancaster for the Rise Above Youth Summit summer 2023! We have never hosted a summer event of this kind, it is an enriching experience to partner with other organizations that are doing good work in the community. We look forward to connecting with youth this summer!

YWCA Lancaster

YWCA Lancaster is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. Since 1889, we have served children and adults in the community through a variety of programs. Current offerings include the Racial Equity Institute, Kepler Hall residence, YWonderful Kids providing child enrichment New Choices Career Development, Parent empowerment program and YWCA Lancaster’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center.

CRGE – Racial Equity Institute

YWCA Lancaster’s Center for Racial & Gender Equity (CRGE) engages in advocacy and education to turn our mission to eliminate racism and empower women into action through community-building opportunities. The Racial Equity Institute (REI)  is an intensive, multi-day training that arms participants with a foundational analysis of the systemic and institutional power of racism. Participants come away with a common language and understanding to do the internal work needed to dismantle racism and to communicate with others about racism and its manifestations.

Church World Service Lancaster

Church World Service (CWS) Lancaster is committed to showing welcome to refugees, immigrants, asylum-seekers and other uprooted people within the United States who are seeking safety and the opportunity to rebuild their lives. Over the past 35 years, Church World Service (CWS) Lancaster has welcomed more than 7,000 new neighbors to peace and safety in South Central PA with holistic programs that ensure new neighbors can not only access local services, but also celebrate our diversity, amplify local voices, and develop diverse leaders who will lead our county over the next 50 years.

Youth Mentoring ProgramCWS Lancaster’s Youth Mentoring Program matches refugees ages 15-24 one-on-one with trained volunteer mentors in the community to build a friendship, work toward the youths’ goals, and ultimately help them feel more at home in Lancaster. Mentees also meet with the Youth Mentoring Specialist to identity their goals—which could range from education and vocation to culture and friendship—and steps toward achieving them. All program participants are invited to regular group events to bond with peers and their new community.