Category Archives: Public Schools

Mindfulness for Schools

According to UrbanDictionary.com, the term “urban youth” refers to young black people living in the city. I don’t know if that’s correct or not, but it does have relevance to what I am about to talk about.

Earlier today, I saw an article on FaceBook, posted by the American Psychological Association (APA) regarding urban youth and the problems they face. What disturbed me was the comment by an obviously disengaged viewer. I have included a snapshot of the comment below.

The post stated:

Many urban ‪#‎youth‬ are repeatedly exposed to significant negative stressors including violence, poverty, and substance use. A new study suggests that a ‪#‎school‬-based ‪#‎mindfulness‬ program may lessen effects of these stressors. apapsy.ch/school-mindful‪#‎mentalhealth‬

The post linked to this article:

School-Based Mindfulness Program May Help Urban Children Deal With Negative Stress, which is linked to PsychNews.org.

Ignorant comment

As you can see, I did not black out my name with my response to this person. I am still shocked by such disregard for the problems that face people today. Those with no problems seem to have no heart or mind for hearing about the unpleasantness of growing up without money and resources.

What this male does not understand is the definition of pathetic. What is pathetic is the attitude of people sharing his belief that education should not include teaching people how to cope with desperate situations, how to have hope in the midst of trouble, and how to remain focused on preparing a better future for yourself.

There are many mindfulness curriculums already in effect in many inner city schools.

Goldie Hawn has had success with her curriculum on mindfulness, which is sold through Scholastic. You can read more about her program, MindUp, and the many great reviews at the Hawn Foundation.

You can also follow their progress on their FaceBook Page.

Mind Up provides this extremely affordable curriculum in three age groups, covering ages 3 to 14. You can find them at http://store.scholastic.com.

It is never too late to learn to be mindful, to learn to still the mind and focus on this moment, which is all we truly have for certain.

Become mindful of your power to create a better future.

Become mindful of your power to create a better future.

You can also purchase tools for using at home. If you know a student who would benefit from the art of mindfulness, perhaps consider becoming a mentor and teaching this unique yet simple approach to a small group.

Meanwhile, let us continue to expand the awareness of those people who are out of touch with the realities and suffering of young people all over the world.

Namaste.

 

 

Shelter for Students – Joe’s Place

My last post was about a shelter for students in a school district in Missouri. Today I discovered another one in Missouri, Joe’s Place. In fact, this was the inspiration for the Hope House.

These students are improving their grades, improving their attendance rates and some of them are going on to college after high school graduation.

This is a program that should be implemented all over this country.

If we truly care about our children, especially those that are living in poverty and unstable environments, and those that have been living in foster care, then we need to show them that we care by providing these shelter homes where they are able to thrive.

When family structures fail, we should be willing to come in and save the day.

That’s the America I want the world to see.

That’s the America I want children to experience.

That’s the community of America I want to see among people across this nation.

Let’s give everyone an equal opportunity regardless of how they ended up in their current situation. Poverty is not a choice. Poverty takes years to overcome and it can rarely be overcome without the help of our citizens that are able and willing to help. It costs so little to make this happen.

 

Joe’s Place is one of the only public school district programs in the country to provide a home for students who are either homeless or struggling in their current living situation. This year, a school district less than 20 miles away in Jennings, Missouri, started a similar version of Joe’s Place — but for girls. The Jennings School District Hope House opened around Thanksgiving.

 

The homes provide house parents who oversee everything and provide a disciplined schedule and stable routine. Many of these teens have not experienced this before.

One of them, who is now in college, returns to visit.

“I wouldn’t say it was a culture shock, but it was something in that area. There was dinner every night, there was a disciplined schedule — which was something I never had,” said Pinnell. “Eventually, I got really comfortable there and started calling it home not too far into the semester. It doesn’t take too long for someone to fall in love with Joe’s.”

Let’s spread the word and make a real difference in the lives of our young people!

 

Read the full article at HuffPost Politics.

 

Providing Shelter for Students

Many people feel that public schools should not be involved in helping students medically, whether that be physical or mental health. However, my argument to this statement is that if no one else is helping them, then who better to determine what help they need than the people who see them daily and know more about them than possibly their own parents do in some cases.

Teachers and other school staff have a bird’s eye view of these students 5 out of 7 days, 9 months a year or more.

I am happy to report that I am not the only one who feels this way.

A school district in Missouri has taken on the challenge and responsibility of helping children and their families, thanks to Superintendent Tiffany Anderson.

She is having excellent results.

 

“Schools can do so much to really impact poverty,” Anderson said. “Some people think if you do all this other stuff, it takes away from focusing on instruction, when really it ensures that you can take kids further academically.”

The district also opened Hope House, a shelter providing students a stable living environment. Many of thee students would be homeless; some of them are former foster kids; all of them are doing better now, thanks to Hope House.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

“One-quarter of Jennings’ residents are living below the federal poverty line,according to 2014 Census Bureau data. The median household income is $28,429. Just 13 percent of those age 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree, half of the state average.

Yet: In 2015, 92 percent of high school students graduated on time, and 78 percent of those graduates had enrolled in the military or post-secondary training within six months of graduation, according to state data. Gov. Jay Nixon (D) invited Anderson and a student to his state of the state address this year, praising Jennings for its “big leaps forward.”

 

Read the full story at The Washington Post.