My priorities in life changed in 1993, when we lost our oldest child to a drunk driver. That, along with other subsequent experiences reminded me of my inner passion to improve the lives of young people. While most of my time is spent as the coordinator for a multi-state SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) network, the parent nonprofit I helped form, Northern Lights Youth Services, has a much broader focus on positive youth development and overall childrens wellbeing in all its forms. This has helped our regional Northern Lights SADD network become the most innovative in the nation.
I totally support your efforts to bring mindfulness to all elementary students! It is a topic that I am noticing more and more all the time. It is so valuable in developing coping mechanisms and resiliency, as well decreasing interpersonal violence. It is truly a "peace model." I hope that further implementation and research shows a positive overall impact on children's well-being. I work primarily with older kids (middle school and high school), and this is something I would like to integrate with our efforts as well. We are doing a lot of work using high school students to positively impact elementary students, and it would be nice to be able to use these older kids to reinforce the value of mindfulness from a peer-based perspective. Congratulations on getting the Dept. of Education on board with your research! I wish you much success and would be very interested in hearing results of the Peace Model and how you are able to involve the community and parents. We need this!
I applaud your efforts, Helen! I can see where many homeless children may really latch onto the idea of watching something grow, and how it can give them hope for the future as well as a valuable lesson on health and nutrition. It's a very cool idea, and I wish you much success with the project! I like the fact that you link the children to other services as well.
I am intrigued by the idea of integrating modern technology with addressing SEL issues, Michael! If done well, it definitely has potential. You are correct in stating that the paradigm of education is changing before our eyes, and we would be well-advised to integrate technology wherever possible, especially if it is combined with interpersonal opportunities as well. (Sometimes I feel that young are in danger of being too detached from others.) I am interested in seeing the results of this project once it is fully implemented!