Impala Blog 19 January 2024 3 min read

Impala Community Connections ✨ Mind & Matter

Impala Community Connections ✨ Mind & Matter

This inspiring non-profit organization focuses on boosting self-esteem in young girls through its learn-to-skate program, SkaterTots.

We‘re in absolute awe of what they’re achieving in their community and wanted to know more, here’s what they had to say…

Why do SkaterTots use roller skating as their secret weapon to boost self-esteem in our next gen of young skaters?

You know, there's something special about roller skating that just works magic for self-esteem. It's not just about gliding on wheels; it's about the little victories - like the first time you don't fall, or when you finally make that turn. For our SkaterTots, every stumble and every get-back-up is a mini life lesson in resilience and self-belief. It's amazing to see how these girls grow in confidence on and off the rink!

It's fascinating to hear about the psychological side of your work! How does Mind and Matter weave the latest psychology research into its programs?

At Mind and Matter, we're like detectives with psychology research – always on the lookout for the coolest, most effective ways to help our young skaters. Whether it's through group chats that feel more like hanging out than therapy, or fun activities that secretly build coping skills, we make sure our programs are as helpful as they are fun. We're constantly learning and evolving, just like our girls.

Can you share your favourite story of how skating transformed the lives of young girls in your programs?

Oh, there are so many!A truly heartwarming moment in SkaterTots was witnessing the transformation of our participants from last season into a beautifully unified team. Their sense of togetherness was deeply touching – they embodied the essence of teamwork in every sense. Whenever one of them stumbled or fell, they all fell down in unity and laughter. 

Another inspiring aspect of the girls’ transformation was their adherence to our 'rule of 3 positive compliments'. This rule, an integral part of our ethos, encourages countering any self-critical or negative thought with three positive affirmations. It was remarkable to see how enthusiastically the girls adopted this practice. They would catch each other slipping, or saying something like “I suck at skating” and immediately request three nice things to undo the thought loop. It is truly heartwarming to see these moments of self-recognition and encouragement of others through this rule.

We've heard that the mentors and volunteers are the unsung heroes of your programs. Who are these skating superheroes, and how do they add an extra sprinkle of magic?

 At the heart of SkaterTots are our mentors and volunteers, who embody the role of cool, supportive big siblings that our girls admire and look up to. They stand as the loudest cheerleaders, offering the warmest hugs and unwavering belief in every girl. It’s their extra sprinkle of love and encouragement that truly makes a world of difference.

We've been incredibly fortunate to receive hundreds of volunteer applications, but special recognition goes to Sabrina, Aysia, Brina, Victoria, Amber, Jackie, Kendall, and Maddi. These extraordinary individuals exemplify deep commitment and kindness, consistently going above and beyond, particularly in the face of challenges. Their selflessness shines brightly: Sabrina, Maddi, and Aysia often spend their Friday evenings with us even if it means returning to work right after. Victoria, an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT), has been pivotal in shaping the foundation of SkaterTots, infusing the program with her professional insight and heartfelt compassion.

Our mentorship program has also been a pivotal aspect. Former graduates (SkaterTots alumni) can become mentors in future programs to not only help out new participants, but continue their own skating progress. Shout out to mentors like Georgette (our very first SkaterTots mentor) who has continued to evolve and grow alongside our program. Georgette’s evolution from season 2 to 3 beautifully encapsulates the profound impact and empowerment we aim to foster in SkaterTots. The confidence, perseverance, and inspiration that our mentors and volunteers bring not only empower but also add a heartwarming and magical touch to the SkaterTots experience, enriching the lives of everyone involved.

Your work is inspiring! How can our Skate Squad jump on board and join the skating revolution, how can they best contribute or support?

Want to be part of this amazing journey? We'd love to have you! Whether you're a super skater or just love the idea of helping out, there's a role for you at Mind & Matter. You can volunteer, donate, or even just share our story with friends and family. Every bit of support adds to a lot of happiness on the rink. Let's roll and make a difference together! 🛼💖