A Safe Space Mentorship

Interview with Teya Knapp, founder of “A Safe Space Mentorship,” a wellness retreat and mental health non-profit organization dedicated to empowering, inspiring, learning, listening, and spreading light. The first A Safe Space Mentorship retreat took place from September 17th to September 20th, 2021.

Riley Gunderson
Pangaea Ultima
Production / Direction

Hello! Can you please start by introducing yourself and A Safe Space Mentorship?

My name is Teya Knapp I am the CEO of A Safe Space mentor which is a non-profit organization that facilitates community, retreats, and mentorship to young creatives that are looking to introduce more self-care into their lifestyles. I gained the inspiration to build this program based around mental health while studying psychology at Capella University. I have a background in the fashion industry as a model and project manager, I also facilitated a youth mentorship program 5 years ago that helped over 100 young adults build creativity, self-esteem, and drive. As a creative, student, and entrepreneur, I understand the necessity of self-care while building your future as a young adult.

I have created this platform and organization to bring people together and provide them with accessibility to a luxury experience that allows them to hit the ‘reset button’ in their lives. My goal is to help people find a new love for life. Young adults, especially creatives, are constantly on the go, figuring out their lives and building financial stability. Mental health and self-care are some things that tend to take a backseat for people in this stage of life. I want to provide them with a safe space and experience that will bring more focus to what’s really important.

A safe space creates community by bringing strangers together at our retreats that will go home having gained a new family. Our retreats create a space for people to detach from technology and create connectedness, stillness, and peace with nature and themselves. Self-care and luxury retreats can be very expensive and seem out of touch for young adults who have other financial responsibilities. A safe space is providing luxury experiences at no cost for young adults. We take applications for our retreats that will be facilitated every other month. We are working towards building a community for a brighter and safer future for all people. Individuals looking to find more love and inspiration in life, the creative looking for a new spark, the entrepreneur burnt out, or just the person that feels they need a little more support--we encourage you to apply.

What led you to choose the word “mentorship” for what you do?

I choose “mentorship” because I want to come from an inviting standpoint, that allows people to feel unjudged, safe, and accepted. A Safe Space Mentorship is more than just my guidance, we are a community-based organization that brings people together to learn from and uplift each other. There is something to always learn from each other, no one has all of the answers. Our belief is that our life experiences and the people we meet are here to be our greatest forms of education.

Who would you say A Safe Space Mentorship is for?

I would say A Safe Space Mentorship is typically for creative young adults around the age of 21 to 35. We encourage people of color to apply for our program because being a woman of color who grew up in a low-income household, I have seen in my community how self-care and wellness seemed inaccessible. I would like to help create that change. We are happy to have all people of all different walks of life join us at A Safe Space mentorship.

Can you define what mindfulness and wellness mean to you?

Mindfulness means to me that you are being accountable for your actions, character, and exchange of energy in your relationships. Wellness, being a part of self-care, should be a lifestyle that we build on and nourish constantly. It means taking care of our mental and physical health, finding the love that is life, and staying in gratitude.

Can you talk more about working with the mind and body?

I grew up with a stress-immune disorder. I went through sexual abuse when I was a toddler which induced PTSD that developed my stress immune disorder called cyclical vomiting. I was in and out of the hospital for years for this condition. Dealing with that condition created bad habits in my life and pushed me to hit a rock bottom. At the age of 21, I started working on creating a new life for myself. I started being intentional with how I treated my body and what I put into my body. I began practicing breathing techniques, yoga, and meditation. I started to put myself and my self-care first. I was able to completely eliminate my PTSD and stress immune condition. I have not had an episode in almost five years now, which has also inspired me to help others create change in their life. Knowing that it was possible to cure myself and having found so much love for the life I now live, I believe it is possible for anyone else seeking the same.

What are your goals for A Safe Space Mentorship?

My goal for A Safe Space Mentorship is to expand our wellness community, create employment for people who believe in our mission, and one day have our own facility where we will house our retreats open to the public 7 days a week, every day of the year.

Interview with Teya Knapp by Riley Gunderson

Images by Pangaea Ultima

A Safe Space Mentorship: Instagram | Website

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