What is Vulnerability?

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.” -Brene Brown

FIRST…THANK YOU to each of you for your time, energy, and dedication to BYEP this summer. We could not do this without you, and the growth that we have seen in participants this summer is proof that your efforts are meaningful and deeply appreciated!

Please join us for our final mentor dinner on August 19th from 5:30-7:30pm at the Gallatin Recreation Area for some good food and good cheer. We would love to see you there!

The leaves my not yet be changing, but as we begin to wrap up the summer season, we are already thinking toward fall! We would love to have you all return again as mentors, though realize that you may have life plans that take you in another direction - please let your program managers know if you are planning to join us for another season. The Fall session begins on Sunday September 15th and runs through December 15th. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

On that note, I have gotten a chance to meet many, but not all, of you this summer. I am going to be focusing on supporting mentors in my new role as Program Director, so feel free to drop in to say hello, and don’t be surprised if I reach out to you to hear about your experiences. I am in awe of the time and energy that each of you invest in BYEP.

Finally, we are sad to share that this is Ellie’s last week as a Program Manager, but excited for her to head off for her next adventure as an Elementary school counselor. We will miss her warm smile and endlessly positive energy. Good luck Ellie!!

On a positive note, we are excited to welcome Bennett Kern as the new Approach Program Manager. He has been shadowing Ellie for the past couple of weeks and will fully take over her groups starting this Sunday. Welcome, Bennett!!


SO…what is this thing we call vulnerability? Here at BYEP, we often talk about creating a space where everyone can be feel safe, be authentic, and share vulnerably…but what does that really mean? According to author and speaker Brene Brown, “vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity.” What is it about being vulnerable with ourselves and others that creates this safe space, and how can you as mentors support participants in their journey to share authentically about themselves?

A few ideas:

  1. Sharing vulnerably does not necessarily need to mean sharing all of the details about what you are going through in your life. Instead, think of it as sharing your process rather than the content of your experiences. You certainly can share about some of the struggles you are going through, but focus on the how rather than the what. How have you moved through a tough time, and perhaps share some ways you have learned to cope with difficult experiences. This creates space for participants to share their own process.

  2. Normalize the imperfection of being human. We all make mistakes, choose directions that work out differently than we’d hoped, and make choices that we regret. As a mentor, participants are looking to you to help them move through these challenging times. You can support them by helping them to see the hope and chances for learning even within their struggles.

  3. Allow space for not knowing. Often, we find ourselves trying to have an “answer” to help support someone going through a tough time- instead, give permission (to yourself and to others) to not know, and to work through the process together. This can create a sense of being in it together, and to create a relationship through mutual learning and understanding.

Here’s to the journey!

Sarah LawrenceComment