Mario Johonson, Director of Student Wellness and Human Development at New Roads School, speaks to First Place for Youth’s staff and young people.

In the spirit of bringing in role models for navigating life after foster care, our partners at Art + Practice hosted a July Roundtable Event with our Los Angeles team that featured guest speaker, Mario Johonson, Director of Student Wellness and Human Development at New Roads School. Mario described his experiences in the foster care system, and his own healing journey using somatic practices to overcome trauma. Mario also talked about using social emotional intelligence and honoring mind and body. Many young adults connected with Mario’s story, and he encouraged them to consider and try alternative healing methods to evaluate what could work best for them. 

Mario grew up in South Los Angeles in the early 1970s. As a young child he was separated from his mother and spent two years in the foster care system before being reunited with his mother and moving to Santa Monica where he was one of only a few children of color in his classes. After his presentation, youth and staff discussed the importance of community care, listening to one another, and also persevering and trying new approaches when a particular way isn’t working.

Thank you to everyone that made this event possible!