Description of Organization
Flourish has partnered with the Blaine County Public School District and local private education institutions to incorporate contemplative practices into classrooms to address individual challenges and larger societal injustices. Beginning with just one fifth grade classroom in 2009, their mindfulness education programs have grown to span offerings for all phases of life — from mindfulness-based childbirth and parenting to mindfulness programs for senior citizens. The mission is to impart contemplative based practices in communities for cultivating healthy habits of mind and promoting personal well-being, benevolent social action, and environmental stewardship. Their programs aim to build inner resiliency and understanding within students — expanding the traditional education experience to include the universal Buddhist values of compassion, mindfulness and wakefulness. The impact of their work has inspired other communities and a broadening of their reach occurs through training and the sharing of their skillsets.
In 2022, a grant in the amount of $5,000 was awarded to increase awareness of the digital version of the Mindful Awareness Program (MAP) for teachers and students, K-12. This course is designed as an interactive curriculum that teaches the skill of meditation, while always including an emphasis on how mindfulness interfaces with our social and emotional lives (SEL). A digital course for 6th graders was completed with a pilot program set for next year. The master plan is to create curricula all the way up to 12th grade. This is a big and costly endeavor, but it could have extraordinary results. In line with our mission, it is crucial to us that we offer this program free of charge to teachers in order to benefit students’ mental health in creative ways.
In 2021, a special COVID-19 Operational Grant of $7,000 was awarded to Flourish Foundation to support operational support for staff and programs. The COVID-19 Impact: Due to COVID-19, Flourish Foundation was unable to hold their two primary annual fundraising events that support daily operations. As their community became an early COVID-19 hotspot, Flourish Foundation realized the importance of continuing to support teachers, students and the general public. Due to the uncertainty and stress of living through a global pandemic, reducing anxiety and providing tools for students in the community to self-soothe and maintain purpose and meaning became more important than ever. To meet this need, they created an online course for building inner resiliency and exploring human values. They also have been hosting two meetings a week at their office for high school students to participate in meditation practice and provide engagement in local service projects and retreats.II
In 2018, a grant in the amount of $7,500 was awarded to Flourish Foundation to support Flourish’s growing Mindful Awareness Program, one of their school-based programs that introduces various forms of mindful awareness training to students and teachers in a classroom setting. During the 2017-2018 school year, this program is supported nearly 1,200 students and teachers on a weekly basis. The importance of the program grows more and more evident as news headlines continue to be dominated by stories of young people struggling with issues like bullying, violence, low self-esteem, and stress. Through this educational program, Flourish aims to create a new approach to these persistent challenges by giving students the opportunity to discuss and practice methods that empower them to recognize their self-worth and become more attentive and caring world citizens.