"This program means a lot to me because it helped me get rid of my depression. Thank you for that!" ~7th grade student
Adolescents growing up in the 21st century are faced with an unprecedented amount of global challenges involving environmental degradation, social injustice, economic distress, and political corruption. These challenges are further compounded by school, extracurricular, and social pressures that have created a society of stressed out teens, who are now susceptible to a wide array of mental disorders that hinder their human capacity to learn, thrive, and constructively engage with the world. It is now estimated by the National Institute of Mental Health that 20% of 13-18 year olds either currently or in the past have experienced a severe debilitating mental disorder. Unfortunately in an attempt to cope, young people often turn to drugs, alcohol, violence, and other destructive behaviors that exacerbate the experience of distress and dissatisfaction.
To address these issues and to promote a nurturing environment for learning, the Clear Mind and Caring Heart program aims to support students in an in-depth exploration of ethics and values, emotional awareness and meditation. This exploration is guided by games, respectful dialogue, group activities, dyadic work, contemplative practice and the principles of subjective ecology.
Through this immersion students are encouraged to discover for themselves what qualities of the heart/mind are beneficial or antithetical to their own and others well-being. In addition students can realize the world is not simply happening to them and have a choice for how they show up.
Ultimately, through fostering positive relationships and deliberately cultivating the heart/mind, students are inspired to transform the world from the inside out through human values such as kindness, compassion, empathetic joy and impartial care.