GOOD Morning Wilton is pleased to introduce an ongoing collaboration with Trackside Teen Center and its Executive Director Lori Fields, LCSW. Fields has a background in researching human behavior and potential and will contribute periodic columns to GMW about community wellness and engagement, mental health, Wilton teens and programming at Trackside. She’ll offer simple stories and inspired ideas to help us stay ‘on track’ to living a life that feels deeply satisfying and uniquely ours.
A few weeks ago we hosted Kevin’s Afterglow at Trackside Teen Center. Hosting this event was an opportunity for our community to come together in conversation around mental health.
Below is adapted from what I shared at this event.
This is an incredibly exciting and important season of transformation of growth for Trackside. We’re in the midst of a massive interior/facility-wide and organizational refresh. We have been on the receiving end of much generosity from this community, both private families and businesses. We can’t thank you enough.
We have new leadership, new staff, new board members, new programming, and new record numbers of both middle and high school students coming through our doors, wanting, needing and enjoying spending time here. It’s remarkable to witness.
As little as three years ago, one-third of our funding was generously provided by the Town of Wilton. As of this June, our town funding drops to zero.
As we gain traction week by week, we don’t want to lose momentum for what we’re building and the growing number of teens and adults that we continue to serve.
We’re investigating what we can do to appeal to the town. Your support matters and is needed more than ever.
Being a place “FOR teens, BY teens,” this place is truly built upon Wilton teens’ ideas and needs.
There’s a mentorship and leadership experience happening that makes Trackside uniquely special and deeply meaningful; for some, it’s life-changing, for others, it’s life-saving.
We move fast at Trackside to evolve with and address the current needs of our teens and our town.
The Kevin’s Afterglow talk was a reflection of that, as Trackside recently launched our Wellness Initiative in November, with the goal of bringing people to our stage who share important stories that inform, inspire and support the wellbeing of us all.
Mental Health — Not abstract, Not just for ‘Other People’
We’re hearing a lot about the importance of mental health these days. I want to share with you a little bit about my background and want you to know that mental health is not just some abstract topic ‘over there’ that ‘other’ people deal with.
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Master’s Degree from NYU, my clinical training includes six years working in a psychiatric emergency room in a Bronx hospital. I am very familiar with severe mental illness.
Additionally, for the past 15 years, I’ve been a high-performance coach, working privately with hundreds of people just like Wilton residents. I have been working with adults who are high achieving, high performing, highly driven, very capable, and intelligent people.
At the heart of what I do is helping people figure out why they are stuck and what simple shifts they can make to enjoy living a life that feels deeply satisfying.
After 30 years of researching human behavior and potential, I come back to a common thread. At the root of what keeps us stuck and living from a place of dis-ease is our childhood story of not feeling good enough. It’s a story we all have, but hold onto and express in our own deeply personal and unique way.
It’s this story, the one we tell ourselves about ourselves, the one that formed during our teenage years, that holds the key to our power, our potential, and our health and well-being. Like the foundation of a house, it determines the life you will build for yourself.
What we are really after (in life) is never a thing; it’s a way of feeling about ourselves.
It’s the reason why we feel so strongly at Trackside about providing a place for our teens to escape from the pressures of everyday life — to socialize, have fun and express themselves in a low-pressure, enriching and supportive environment.
As our teens struggle to navigate a world much more challenging than when you and I were growing up, having a place to feel good about yourself and to feel like you belong is not just nice to have, it’s essential.
It’s clear that it’s not just our teens who are struggling, we’re struggling as parents, adults, caretakers, educators and as a community at large.
Where there is a crisis, we are out of alignment; with our values, our voices, and the way we ‘wish’ to be living.
And while the solution isn’t always an easy one, simple, small moves — ones that bring even the tiniest window of relief, that warm your heart, that make you feel proud, that are a reflection of how you long to live — hold the power to not only help us in the moment but increase our chances of enjoying deeply satisfying results.
GOOD Morning Wilton has gifted me an opportunity to contribute regularly. I’m honored to do so. My goal is to share simple stories and strategies that support, inspire and help us come back into alignment with ourselves and one another. It’s the only way lasting, meaningful change can happen.