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Bridging the Gap: How Mindful Minutes for Schools Reaches More Students

By Molly Schreiber, Founder of Mindful Minutes for Schools




"The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this lifetime."​ ~Sogyal Rinpoche

Many of you who follow our blog posts know the story of Challenge to Change, Inc., and how we impact the social and emotional health of students across Iowa, the Midwest - and yes - even the world.  What you may not know is a behind-the-scenes nonprofit that helps support this work. That nonprofit is Mindful Minutes For Schools.


After our second year of providing the Yoga in the Schools program in the Dubuque Community Schools, myself and Mae Hingtgen created Mindful Minutes for Schools. We came to realize a need for ALL schools to have access to the programs offered by Challenge To Change, Inc.  However, due to the cost of the programming and budgets being a barrier with schools, we decided to turn these barriers into solutions, thus founding Mindful Minutes For Schools.  


Through our close work with Challenge To Change, Inc., we have immediate access to certified mindfulness educators and evidence-based curriculum and programming. We have been a mission in action since 2018 and continue to do the work one mindful child at a time. 


The mission of Mindful Minutes For Schools is to leverage community resources that foster opportunities for our youth, teachers, and schools to incorporate yoga and mindfulness in both school and daily life. Mindful Minutes for Schools is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that funds educational opportunities for our youth and educators in the greater Dubuque area. Its purpose is to build social-emotional skills that guide young minds and bodies into practices of mindfulness, reflection, and emotional health using a unique curriculum. Teachings are during the traditional school day and practiced in an integrative manner through licensed educators. The goal, however, is for our youth and educators to apply these lessons inside and outside the classroom for years to come.




How Mindfulness Supports Students


​There has been extensive research in the last decade that connects these practices to mental and emotional wellness for our children as they grow into adulthood. In our fast-paced, anxiety-prone, hectic world, these tools help children of all income levels, races, cultures, religions, and educational levels gain life skills that otherwise are not taught in traditional classroom settings.


Right now, in schools:  

  • An alarming 1 in 4 children experienced trauma by age 4, and this number increases to over 2/3 of kids by age 16. 

  • 40% of children nationwide live in the instability of poverty. 

  • More than 1 in 3 children reports being emotionally bullied by peers, and school violence is on the rise, the roots of which are feelings of isolation, alienation, and exclusion.

  •  Suicide rates are escalating, and 70% of youth with diagnosable anxiety and depression are not getting treatment. 


I believe brain health and mindful education are what we need for our schools NOW!




Mental health is a current and recurring issue. We know there are dire long-term consequences for all of us if the next generation grows up without brain health nourishment and the mind-body support they need. 


We need real, implementable, equitable solutions for them, not soon, but now. Right now.

 

In researched-based, psychological, neurobiological, and somatic-oriented institutions around the world, mindfulness practices are increasingly being used and prescribed as therapeutic methods to clinically heal patients from trauma. 


With the work of Mindful Minutes For Schools, we are starting that work, making it available to children and educators alike. By doing this work in schools, we also encourage its use in our daily living, helping to create the world we want for future generations.


For those who still have trouble seeing it, take a moment to imagine the following:

 

Having schools where children experience an increase in self-awareness for self-control, cultivate more empathy, bullying decreases, and self-confidence rises. Imagine children liberated by self-management of their depression, ADHD, hyperactivity, stress, and anxiety. 


Imagine a time when student attentiveness and engagement increase, suspension rates go down, and academic performance elevates by 70%. Teacher morale and retention rise as a positive consequence, parents learn from their children, transforming their home climate. 


If you feel called to support this work, please consider donating today.


~Molly








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