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.