Transforming Difficulties into Lasting Strengths

I'd like to tell you about the work we've been doing this year...

We've been busy starting a new program at Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy in Marin City.  

If you don’t know about Bayside MLK, you might enjoy learning more about this amazing school where more than 90% of the students are People of Color from low-income families, rising up to transform difficulties into lasting strengths.

As we have worked to launch this program, we’ve learned that many people in the North Bay are unaware that a Community of Color exists in Marin County.

We invite you to discover the history of Marin City, how many black families were restricted by local zoning from living in or buying homes in other parts of Marin County... and how to help heal the generational trauma in our neighboring community.

I'd also like to tell you the story of how mindfulness has impacted one particular student, a boy who is very dear to me ...
 

When I first met DeAndre*, a second grader at BMLK, he was sitting on the floor, arms wrapped protectively around his knees, his head tucked down in anger.  The many immediate needs of other students left DeAndre going unnoticed. 

When I approached him, he tucked his head more deeply between his knees.  He remained there until I left the classroom. As I headed for the door, I turned back to see him looking in my direction.  I smiled and his eyes softened.

The next week I arrived in the classroom during a period of silent reading.  DeAndre asked if I would read with him.  We sat together for some time as he struggled to sound out even the simplest words.

On my next visit, he asked if he could help lead the class in our mindfulness practice. DeAndre sat next to me, taking care to demonstrate great self-regulation.

Last week in his second grade class, I shared a kid-friendly lesson on how mindfulness positively impacts our neurobiology and how we can turn positive experiences into healthy neural structure.  Students were invited to name a few things that make them happy. 


DeAndre named mindfulness and his mindfulness teacher.


This little boy who I found curled up on the floor in anger, is now leading his class in a practice that helps generate lasting mental health and well-being.  

Because of mindfulness, DeAndre is taking pride in his learning and has had the opportunity to feel cared for and supported. Because of mindfulness — and the generosity of our donors — DeAndre did not go unnoticed.   

diversity kids.jpg

While our grant from Kaiser is currently under review for renewal, to ensure that our services at Bayside MLK are not interrupted, we need your help.

All donations directly benefit the students and teachers at Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, where we are providing wrap-around care to students in TK - 8th Grade, faculty, and support staff.

If you feel moved to make a donation, you can do so by clicking here.  

Thank you for the support you've already given — and for considering this request.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season,

Chelsea True
Founder, Joyful Mind Project
 

* DeAndre’s name his been changed for confidentiality.

One student at at time...

Dear friends,

I would like to tell you about DeAndre, a second grader at Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy where we are implementing school-wide, trauma-informed services.

If you don’t know about Bayside MLK, you might enjoy learning more about this amazing school where more than 90% of the students are people of color from low-income families, rising up to transform difficulties into lasting strengths.

When I first met DeAndre, he was sitting on the floor, arms wrapped protectively around his knees, his head tucked down in anger.  The many immediate needs of other students left DeAndre going unnoticed.  When I approached him to check in, he glared at me and then looked quickly away, tucking his head more deeply between his knees.

In that moment I decided the best intervention was to give DeAndre the space he needed.  He remained there until I left the classroom.  As I headed for the door, I turned back to see him looking in my direction.  I smiled and his eyes softened.

The next week I arrived in the classroom during a period of silent reading.  DeAndre asked if I would read with him.  We sat together for some time as he struggled to sound out even the simplest words.

On my next visit, he asked if he could help lead the class in our mindfulness practice.  I was delighted.  DeAndre sat next to me and took great care to sit up tall and straight, demonstrating great restraint and self-regulation.

Last week in his second grade class, I shared a kid-friendly lesson on how mindfulness positively impacts our neurobiology and how we can turn positive experiences into healthy neural structure.  Students were invited to name a few things that makes them happy. 

DeAndre named mindfulness and his mindfulness teacher.

This little boy who I found curled up on the floor in anger, is now leading his class in a practice that helps generate lasting mental health and well-being.  

Because of mindfulness, DeAndre is taking pride in his learning and has had the opportunity to feel cared for and supported. 

Because of mindfulness — and the generosity of our donors — DeAndre did not go unnoticed.   

While our grant from Kaiser is currently under review, to ensure that our services are not interrupted, we need your help. If you feel moved to make a donation, you can do so by clicking here.

Thank you, everyone!


* for confidentially, DeAndre’s name has been changed.

Join Our Team! We are ISO a Fundraising Manager!

Dear Community,

We are looking for dedicated new team member to join our team and help us raise funds to support the academic and mental health needs of students in our region. 

Our priority funding initiatives include projects providing services to at-risk youth, those affected by the North Bay fires, and to teachers, counselors, and parents.

Our ideal Fundraising Manager has experience sourcing and writing grants and managing capital campaigns. Must be excited about the opportunity to work in Mindfulness Education as this is a mostly volunteer position with a small bonus compensation based on a capped percentage of funds raised.

DETAILS:

~ Deepen your own mindfulness practice through a commitment to service work
~ Contribute to the growth of mindfulness education in our region
~ Participate in our quarterly retreats
~ Help grow a local nonprofit that has served an estimated 6,000 students since inception
~ Help promote diversity, inclusion, and social justice by providing access to these valuable teachings to students of all backgrounds
~ Have the opportunity to join our Advisory Board and help grow an innovative 501(c)(3)

WHO SHOULD APPLY:

~ Someone dedicated to service work, social engagement, social justice, mindfulness, or    meditation
~ Someone just getting started or with moderate experience looking to learn more
~ Someone who is retired and looking to engage in community and be of service
~ Someone who is excited to be a part of a local nonprofit and help it grow!
~ While this position is open to people of all backgrounds, People of Color are strongly encouraged to apply


To learn more about our organization, visit JoyfulMindProject.org
To apply, please send resume to: chelsea@joyfulmindproject.org

Thank you, everyone!

 

New Programs for Adults, Teens, & Children

Dear Friends,

We're happy to report that Joyful Mind Project enjoyed a period of growth in 2017 and to share our Annual Report with you.

We are off to a great start in 2018, providing mindfulness education at schools including Sonoma Academy, Sonoma State University, and at Sheppard Accelerated Elementary School through a project of the Santa Rosa Symphony called Simply Strings.  

We began a new After School program this week at The Healdsburg School. This program is open to all Sonoma County students grades K-5 and will run through mid-May.  We meet Wednesdays from 2:00 - 3:00 pm.  Registration is still open.  

And, while we still have a long way to go to reach our fundraising goal for Bayside MLK in Marin City, we are excited to report that we've raised nearly $2,000 so far for these amazing children.  Thank you, everyone, for the support you've given.  If you would like to contribute to this important project, you can make a donation here.

We are also very happy to be offering programs for teens and parents with Dojin Sarah Emerson this spring.  Sarah is the Head Priest at Stone Creek Zen Center, brings a lifetime of practice to her work, and is a parent to two beautiful children right here in Sonoma County.  It feels very dear to be offering programs with Sarah.  

Teen programs take place March 12 in Sebastopol, March 17 in Petaluma, and a four-session series for parents begins April 18.  You can learn more here.

If you are interested in the work of Thich Nhat Hanh, whose core teaching is mindfulness, an ongoing group for adults meets bi-monthly in Sebastopol.  You can learn more about this group here.  

Finally, our next retreat for educators, counselors, and youth-service providers is now open for registration and slated for April 28.  More information is available here!

Thank you, everyone for your continued support.  I'm so grateful for all that you've given to Joyful Mind Project and look forward to practicing with you this spring.

With joy,

Chelsea True
Founder, Joyful Mind Project

January Retreat for Educators, Counselors, & Parents

Dozens of educators, counselors, and other youth-service professionals participated in our January event.

Dozens of educators, counselors, and other youth-service professionals participated in our January event.

We are happy to report that our 2nd quarterly Mindful Educators Retreat was a success with nearly 50 participants from around the Bay Area!

Presenters Pam Walton and Doug Lerch led mindfulness and experiential practices and explored the topics of working with difficult emotions, cultivating compassion, and meeting challenging student behaviors with skillful responses.

Sarah Wilmarth led mindful movement and dyad practices, while Chelsea True led a community building circle where participants practiced skills including mindful listening and emotional attunement.

We would like to thank the Napa County Office of Education for hosting this event, our guest speaker Doug Lerch, founder of Seeds of Awareness, and all of the attendees whose participation contributed to a rich and meaningful day.

Our next event is slated for April 2108.  The day will consist of short periods of meditation, mindfulness strategies for supporting your practice and your work, and ample time to connect with others around the growing needs of our students.

For more information, please contact us by clicking here.

 

This event was a Meetup project of Mindful Schools and was offered free of charge and by donation only.

“I loved it all! Pam’s, “Developing Empathy” will help me in the classroom while Doug’s, “Self-Compassion” will help me in my everyday life. This was incredible! Thank you for offering it!”
— January Retreat Participant

Keep Calm & Study On

Have you seen the new Sonoma Family Life Magazine?  We are delighted to have contributed a feature article to the February issue.

Here's an excerpt:

What is mindfulness?  What is the science behind it?  And can it improve the culture of our schools?  These are questions that a growing group of Sonoma County teachers, parents, and students have been asking.

For thousands of years, contemplative traditions around the world have used mindfulness to reduce stress and suffering and to help people of all backgrounds meet adversity with courage and resilience.

Thirty-five years ago, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, mindfulness emerged as a research-based intervention called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).  Mindfulness now has applications in education, professional development, cognitive therapy, and sports training — with benefits including reduced stress, anxiety, and depression and increased health, memory, self-regulation, and social connection.

But what is it really?  Mindfulness is a set of skills that allow us to respond rather than react; to see with an open, curious mind; and to engage in the world with greater understanding and compassion.

You can view complete article online here.

 

Strengthening our Communities; Directing our Resources

Dear Friends,

I founded Joyful Mind Project because I believe that mindfulness can empower young people of all backgrounds to define, understand, and reach their highest goals, to inquire and create, and to bring that quest for understanding into the world.

What’s more, with mindfulness we can learn how to be a voice for justice, understanding, and compassion in the world.

I am writing today to let you know that Joyful Mind Project has begun its year-end campaign and to ask for your support.

As I am learning, directing our time and resources with intention can help create a world of compassion, courage, and joy.

With your help, we can continue serving young people and cultivating resilience in our communities.

Your donations directly help mindfulness education to grow in our region and ensure that our programs will continue serving our community for a long time.

Thank you for all that you’ve done this year to help support Joyful Mind Project — and for considering this request.

With joyful enthusiasm,
Chelsea True
Founder, Joyful Mind Project

Donate now or learn about becoming a member with an annual donation >>