Mindfulness, as a means of stress reduction, has been around for many years. Recently, mindfulness practices have entered the mainstream, providing opportunities for implementation in a variety of settings. Knowing this, in 2016, Emmaus House began to incorporate mindfulness practices into its program. We did this in response to parents who said that dealing with stress is one of the issues with which they need the most help. In partnership with Dr. Andy Roach, Associate Director at the Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University we taught simple mindfulness practices to those who attended our Great Start for Parents program. The project was funded by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning,
This pilot program was so successful that we decided to move further with mindfulness as an intentional practice. In 2017, with a grant from Trinity Church, Wall Street, to support social-emotional development, we plan to incorporate mindfulness practices into some of our other programs: Youth on the Move, the Road Episcopal Service Corp, and our Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program.
Susan Kaiser Greenland, mindfulness educator, defines mindfulness as “the capacity to be alert and open to life experience as it occurs in a non-reactive, resilient and compassionate way.” We at Emmaus House are very excited about this latest development in our journey to becoming a more impactful, transformative presence in Peoplestown and beyond.
To facilitate this work, Emmaus House engaged with Mindfulness Without Borders, a leading provider of best practices and evidenced-based programs on secular mindfulness and social-emotional intelligence to youth, educators, health and corporate professionals in communities around the world. On Monday, February 6, 11 members of the Emmaus House staff, along with nine people from Georgia State University, took part in the first of three days of training to become certified facilitators of the Mindfulness Ambassador Council (MAC). The MAC program “offers youth a forum to meet face to face and learn about constructive ways for addressing personal, social and community challenges.”
Stay tuned for updates as we participate in the remaining two days of training and begin to practice greater mindfulness as a staff and with our neighbors in Peoplestown whom we serve.