Happy New Year! We hope that your 2012 is off to a wonderful start, and that this year will bring you great happiness, health, and prosperity in whatever way is most meaningful to you.
It feels like 2012 is going to be a huge year for mindfulness. Already we’ve seen big articles about it in major magazines, like Time and Newsweek. As each part of the mindfulness community continues to make their contribution, the impact and visibility of mindfulness will only grow.
We are working hard on spreading the word about Jon Kabat-Zinn’s upcoming benefit on Feb. 17, 2012 for Mindful Schools, entitled “The Role of Mindfulness in Education“. This event will be a tremendous opportunity for educators in the Bay Area to learn more about how mindfulness can benefit them, their students, and their school communities.
If you feel as strongly about this topic as we do, please consider volunteering to help us to get the word out. Or simply share our flyer via email, Facebook, or Twitter, or print and post it at popular locations. The more educators we can get into the room, the faster the mindfulness in education movement will grow.
Thank you so much for everything you do to help make education the best it can be.
The Mindful Schools Team
Tickets Available for Jon Kabat-Zinn’s “The Role of Mindfulness in Education” Benefit for Mindful Schools on Feb. 17, 2012
Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the renowned mindfulness teacher, author, and founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) will present “The Role of Mindfulness in Education” at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach auditorium on Feb. 17, 2012.
It will be the first time Dr. Kabat-Zinn is giving a full public talk on mindfulness and education.
Dr. Kabat-Zinn has been a friend of Mindful Schools since our inception and we are incredibly grateful to him for offering to do an event to benefit our programs.
We are happy to announce that we have updated our web site to make our front page clearer and easier to navigate. Please take a look!
Would you like to volunteer to help with our web site?
We are also looking for a volunteer to help with our web site, which lives in WordPress. You would make small site updates from time to time, and help with the occasional larger project as your time permits. Our team will handle time-sensitive updates on our own, so you wouldn’t have to worry about that. And of course you’re welcome to come hang out at our office any time.
We look forward to seeing you at two amazing conferences coming up on the weekend of October 14-16:Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth (San Diego, CA) On Saturday, Feb. 4, Megan Cowan will be giving a break-out session entitled “Integrating Mindfulness into the K5 Classroom: Lessons Learned From Teaching Over 13,000 Students”.Center for Mindfulness Conference (Norwood, MA) On Friday, Mar. 30, Randy Fernando from Mindful Schools and Shani Keller from the University of California, Davis will be presenting the results of our large research study involving 942 children and 47 classrooms across three Oakland public schools, with randomized controls at the classroom level.
A Story from the Classroom
This issue’s story comes from Adam Baraz, one of our mindfulness teachers:
One of the most surprising and touching moments of teaching at Paden, in Alameda, this past Fall happened spontaneously on the last day of class. Having a break in my schedule, I sat outside at the playground picnic tables to catch some fresh air and take in the school’s soothing seaside view. Forty yards down the blacktop, the fifth graders we having P.E., jogging wide loops around the lower playground. During a water-break, Enkzhul, a stout Mongolian kid with a buzz cut came bounding up to me.
“Hi, Mr. Adam!”
Exchanging a warm greeting I asked him if he thought he would continue his mindful-breathing practice now that the program had ended. His face relaxed, yet his eyes sharpened, “Definitely… I’m practicing every day. I practiced before school this morning, and at recess!” I was floored. With pride, he went on to say that, taking my advice he had begun setting a timer and had worked his way up to five- minute sessions.
Looking him up and down it was evident that something major had shifted in him over the weeks. A shy kid who sat quietly, with a hunched posture, in the back of Ms. Reinke’s room, stood poised, tall, and confident before me.
Mindfulness was in him. And working on him. I have a good feeling mindfulness will be a powerful ally for him in the months and years to come.
Volunteer Spotlight: Emily Taylor
We have been lucky to have many wonderful volunteers over the years who have helped us to amplify our impact many times over and to extend the reach of every dollar that’s been donated to us. We offer our unwavering gratitude to all our volunteers!
This month we’d like to thank Emily Taylor, who wanted to help Mindful Schools by applying knowledge she had gained from a Program Evaluation course she took during her Master’s degree in Economics. Emily’s work has allowed us to analyze many thousands of surveys from teachers and students in the schools we have been in. Here’s what she says about her experience:
“It was inspiring to work for an organization with enormous potential. I was able to work with the surveys in which I could read the positive and enthusiastic comments from students and teachers about the program. Their support reinforced my dedication to the program and its ability to develop. In addition, I loved working with the supportive and encouraging Mindful Schools team and learning about what they are doing with the program.”
Much of the growth of Mindful Schools has occurred because of the generosity of donors and tireless support of volunteers. We are tremendously grateful to everyone who has helped us along the way. If you want to be involved, please contact us.
In addition, we are always grateful for any financial support that you or people you know may want to provide. Mindful Schools is funded by the joint efforts of grants, school contributions, and individual donors. 70% of the schools we’ve taught at serve predominantly low-income children and receive scholarships for the program. We also offer need-based scholarships for adult trainees. All donations are fully tax deductible.
About Mindful Schools
Founded in 2007, the mission of Mindful Schools is to transform education through mindfulness. We achieve this by offering in-class instruction, professional training, and other resources to support mindfulness in education.
Our program has used a scientifically proven technique called mindfulness to teach concentration, attention, conflict resolution, and empathy to over 14,000 children and 650 teachers in 53 schools, 70% of which serve low-income children. Mindful Schools has conducted training and workshops for over 2,500 public and private school parents, teachers, therapists, and other professionals in education and social work.