Heart, Mind & Soul was founded in 2003 by Rabbi Shimmy Trencher, who at the time, was working intensively with Jewish teenagers as an employee of OU/NCSY. While many students who attended NCSY benefitted from the religious and spiritual development foster by the programs and relationships, he noted the rising rates of depression and anxiety as well as a sense of hopelessness and lack of confidence that he saw in many of the teens with which he worked. It was at that point that he decided to create a program focused on personal development, a program that would help anyone and everyone, regardless of whether they struggle or not, with keys to improve relationships, hope, self-esteem, and leadership.
With its first Shabbaton in November 2003, Heart, Mind & Soul became one of the very first organizations running primary prevention programs in the Jewish world. Instead of focusing on the treatment of existing problems, primary prevention seeks to help prevent the onset of these problems by enhancing protective factors (Ripple, 2004). Rabbi Trencher believed that all of us could benefit from building our inner strength and inner capacities; after all, life is seldom simple or always easy.
Throughout the years, hundreds of high school and college students—and now adults as well—have participated in Heart, Mind & Soul programs, finding their own magnificence, a sense of community and support, and motivation to move forward and achieve their goals and dreams. Consistent anecdotal feedback from our participants and their families, as well as survey results, indicate that our programs are helping to support a positive revolution of purposefulness and love within the community.