Who is Karen Gibb from Mind Marvels?
I met Karen Gibb at an online professional network in Scotland. This was during the second COVID lockdown at a time when several friends told me that their children were struggling with not being able to meet their friends nor go to school, about the uncertainty of graduating for older teens. I was immediately inspired by how dedicated she is in her mission to help children and teenagers with mental health issues and how she professionally markets her business.
Karen Gibb is a fully qualified teacher and has prior experience in youth development and early years education. Karen taught young people with social, emotional and behavioural needs and pupils with severe and complex additional support needs, including autism and ADHD.
Through her work, Karen saw the benefits for children and young people when they were taught practical ways to support their own emotional wellbeing but that many did not have an opportunity to learn.
What is your company’s mission?
Mind Marvels aims to give young people calming tools and practical strategies to understand and regulate their own emotions through face to face sessions, virtual one to ones and online content. Mind Marvels encourages young people to feel more confident, build resilience and learn skills for life.
We work with young people from the age of three to late teens on their emotional wellbeing. Many young people can have big feelings, anxiety or have low confidence. Our sessions aim to equip young people with ‘skills for life’- with a learning framework that provides positive pathways right through to adulthood. We strongly believe every young person would thrive from engaging with Mind Marvels.
Our sessions are based on the NHS 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing; Learn, Move, Connect, Mindful and Be Kind. We demonstrate calming strategies and use practical tools, such as breathing and mindfulness, to help young people find calm. Mind Marvels support young people with their mental wellbeing through school, nursery and family, using group work as well as one-to-one sessions. We provide staff training and work with charities and third sector organisations, most recently the Brownies and Who Cares Scotland. We also offer consultancy work for private companies with an interest in supporting youth wellbeing and mental health.
We operate from South Lanarkshire but work all over Scotland and of course, now online.
What is the inspiration behind Mind Marvels?
Quite simply, because of my ‘why’. My ‘why’ in life is to help other people, especially young people. My own journey with anxiety continued from childhood into adulthood and I didn’t realise what anxiety was until late on in my 20s. I decided it would be very worthwhile to help others understand their own mental health as prevention is always better than cure.
If you had to name 3 values that guide you, which would they be?
My three values would be integrity, honesty and responsibility. Integrity for me is knowing and trying to do what is right in every situation. Honesty is being sincere and holding my hands up when I don’t get things right. Responsibility: I feel a huge social and emotional responsibility with my work and it’s important to hold myself accountable to this.
You traveled internationally for 4 years. How did this shape you?
I had a long period of travelling in my twenties. I visited countries like Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Vietnam where people lived with very little in terms of money and possessions yet they were content with life. This led me to thinking about how fortunate I was and I try to have gratitude everyday for things we may take for granted, like running water and a safe place to live.
Have you ever volunteered?
I’m a huge admirer of Suzanne Scott and the progress she has made with her own charity Trauma Informed Parenting. It is really worth exploring one of their workshops as it has opened my eyes to new ways of working therapeutically with young people and families.
What did you learn doing volunteer work that you apply in your job?
I have adopted more therapeutic approaches within my work with young people and families. I discovered different strategies, such as specific mindful wording, to develop my own understanding. One important takeaway from the workshop was that when we feel pain and we cry, it is so much more soothing for our bodies to let our tears flow than to automatically wipe them away.
When was the last time that you were touched by one of your clients’ reactions?
I recently delivered a block of Mind Marvels sessions at an outdoor children’s nursery. That was an amazing experience – watching three and four year olds begin to understand about their brains and lying outdoors listening to nature whilst exploring mindfulness.
Any exciting news about Mind Marvels?
I would love Mind Marvels to become global helping young people across the world. We have a very strong brand in terms of presentation and the logo – people recognise us straight away. That’s always a lovely feeling!
My ambition for the future would be to have a fully functioning YouTube channel for children, where young people can access resources free of charge. This would allow sharing of the knowledge on how we can improve our own mental health to be accessible to all.
What kind of people and organisations would you like to connect to?
I would welcome introductions to people working within local councils, nurseries, schools, social work, charities and third sector, community groups, families. Those with a keen interest in improving mental health!
If you enjoyed Karen Gibb‘s interview, you will probably like Suzanne Scott’s as well!
This interview was conducted by Lucie Cunningham from Tell Them Well Communications in February 2021. Lucie is a freelance editor, copywriter and translator with over 10 years of community project management. She has lived in France, England, The USA, the Netherlands and is currently based in Scotland.