Thanks for taking the time to visit my corner of the Internet. My hope for this space is the same as my hope for my work with youth and through speaking: to equip & inspire others to care more deeply and more effectively for young people and for those battling mental illness.
As for the name (Strombomb.com), I’ve long given up the delusion that my last name is easy to spell. And it just sounds cool.
A Bit About Mark Stromenberg:
I grew up in small towns in Nova Scotia and southwestern Ontario, to a father who was a minister/mental health professional, and a mother who was a reservist/baker extraordinaire. Following Strathroy District Collegiate Institute, I focused my education on theology, counselling, mental illness, and youth work, through Heritage College & Seminary and various other courses, conferences, and certifications.
I began working with Cambridge Youth For Christ/Youth Unlimited in 2010, working with at-risk teenagers. During that time, I created and built a live performance & recording program, called Brierdale Recording & Productions, utilizing music, performance, and mentorship to build confidence, social skills, and musical abilities. During this time, I also volunteered as the young adults pastoral leader at Calvary Pentecostal Assembly, weekly connecting with and investing into young people.
It was while working with the at-risk teenagers in the Christopher-Champlain community of Cambridge that I became aware of the enormous need for myself and those around me to learn how to help others through thoughts of suicide and struggles with mental illness. Recognizing this—and the role others played when I was suicidal—I sought out training in suicide intervention and mental health first aid. Since then, I have become certified as an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST) trainer with LivingWorks Education, and developed several presentations to advocate for those with mental illness and to equip communities to better respond to and support those struggling with mental health concerns. In 2017, I transferred over to Guelph Youth For Christ (Youth Unlimited | YFC Highlands).
Since 2014, I have shared a message of hope to thousands of students, parents, and leaders, speaking and training roughly 50 times a year. This has included classrooms, conferences, churches, parent groups, and college lectures.
In 2017, I dipped my toes into the podcasting world with hosting The Stro Show: Conversations In Youth Ministry, a podcast which aimed to inspire, encourage, and equip Canadian youth workers. You can still find the eight or so episodes online.
Most recently, I have shifted my speaking to Hashtag Hope, a suicide prevention charity I co-built with its founder, Nicholas Pegg. In 2022, I will be leaving Youth Unlimited to focus on Hashtag Hope as a speaker and Executive Director.
I am also seeking more opportunities to speak and train. If that is something you may be interested in, you can find out more HERE.
On A More Personal Note:
Eclectic would be a good word to describe me. Before the magic of streaming services, my iTunes library had over 20,000 songs from nearly every genre. I’ve long been quite the nerd and a passionate follower of various fandoms (The Lord of the Rings still being my favourite fictional book of all time). Although, for the sake of keeping my lunch money, I’ve learned to be slightly more subtle about it in recent years.
I’ve grown up in Baptist, Reformed, Catholic, and Pentecostal circles, and as a result, everyone disagrees with me on something. However, I strongly appreciate Shane Claiborne’s desire to receive the best of each tradition. This diversity has given me a broad view of faith communities, and the ability to connect with those whose experience differs from mine.
In 2016, I married my wife, Ashley, who coordinates the Engage! program, sending young Canadians overseas to volunteer for 3-12 months with Youth For Christ. She is also an insightful author.
It’s my hope to equip others to be more effective in their service to others. If there is any way that I can help with that, please contact me. My hope is that when the chaff that is me falls away, there will be a few nuggets of wisdom, a few healthy words of correction, and some life-giving encouragement.