Description of Organization
In 2013 Mission Be piloted a mindfulness project at Islip High School in Long Island, NY. After receiving feedback, Mission Be began working with elementary school students and recruited seven volunteers, women with Master’s degrees in social work, psychology and education, and backgrounds in mindfulness, to implement the program in 17 classrooms. After receiving positive feedback, Mission Be has cultivated mindfulness, compassion and altruism at more than 60 schools in California and New York and has trained thousands of teachers and reached over 50,000 children.
In 2022, a grant in the amount of $14,000 was awarded to support activities that bring mindfulness practice to underserved communities who may not otherwise have access to these contemplative methods. The proposed activities are examples of initiatives that seek to expand the practice of mindfulness in BIPOC communities, addressing issues of inequities in education.
Systemic racism is deep and destructive, most profoundly to its victims but to all to the detriment of a thriving, diverse society. COVID-19 laid bare racial disparities in the history of healthcare in the United States, educational inequities, and the criminal justice system.
While these social and educational issues are complex and multi-dimensional, Mission Be believes the activities proposed here can start to address them by bringing mindfulness practice directly to BIPOC children and increasing the pool of BIPOC mindfulness teachers.
PROGRAM: In response, Mission Be will provide the following activities:
- Mindfulness training for system-involved youth: Mission Be provides Mindfulness training to young people who have been charged with committing an act of juvenile delinquency and/or who are charged as people in need of supervision. Clients may be on probation or waiting for court dates. Mission Be provides 45-minute sessions, once a week for 42 weeks, based on Mission Be’s 8-week training series.
- Mindfulness training for underserved, low-income children: Mission Be provides mindfulness training for children who attend the Summer Program of Pronto, a nonprofit in North Bay Shore on Long Island, NY with a mission to provide basic human services to people in need. Mission Be will offer 40-minute sessions twice a week for the six weeks of the summer program. Mission Be’s sessions will be adapted for the summer camp environment, with breath work and mindful games.
- Scholarships for Online Mindfulness Teacher Training for BIPOC educators and those serving BIPOC students.
In 2021, a COVID-19 Operational Grant of $8,000 was awarded to Mission Be to implement online mindfulness education to K-5 and Middle and High School teachers throughout California, New York and elsewhere to facilitate mindfulness activities. 3,750 Middle and High School students and 750 Elementary School students were recipients of this program. Given the increased disruption and anxiety caused by the impact of COVID-19 on parents, students, and educators, Mission Be has been overwhelmed with scholarship requests from teachers.
The COVID-19 Impact: COVID-19 increased student, faculty, and parent stress levels, and introduced challenges because of social isolation, and barriers related to technology access needed for all schoolwork. Mission Be offers two six-week online Mindfulness courses for educators — one targeted to elementary educators and the other to middle and high school educators. The online courses meet 90 minutes once a week for six weeks and give educators opportunities to develop a mindfulness-based, self-care and relaxation practice and to learn how to use mindfulness practices to create more compassionate and thriving classroom and school environments.
In 2018, a grant in the amount of $9,000 was awarded to Mission Be to implement two 6-week online mindfulness training for educators, providing them with the skills and knowledge to effectively implement mindfulness activities and exercises to their students. The training will reach 60 teachers so that they can facilitate mindfulness activities to 1,500 students. The goal is to broaden the pool of educators who are prepared to bring mindfulness training to young people, mitigate the impact of stress for students, and give them the tools to self-regulate.