Coutesy Holistic Life Foundation
Courtesy: Holistic Life Foundation

Some Baltimore City public schools are singling out students, bringing them into one room and…teaching them to refocus their negative energy.

The Baltimore-based nonprofit Holistic Life Foundation has implemented its “Holistic Me” after school program in at least 14 city schools since 2002. Student meditate and learn other mindfulness concepts that to improve their conflict-resolution, anger management and other personal skills.

As first highlighted by Upworthy late last month, the program operates of Robert W. Coleman Elementary in West Baltimore’s Mondawmin neighborhood. It began as a pilot project in 2002 at Windsor Hill Elementary/Middle School just down the Gwynns Fall Parkway and moved to the Druid Hill YMCA before moving settling at Coleman Elementary, according to the foundation’s website.

Pre-K through 5th-grade students gather to meditate in Coleman Elementary’s so-called Mindful Moment Room. Kirk Philips, the school’s program coordinator, told Upworthy their performance is “amazing.”

“You wouldn’t think that little kids would meditate in silence,” he said. “And they do.”

Wellness activities for “Holistic Me” pupils also include yoga and breathing. They don’t just still, though. Coordinators balance out their quiet time with other activities, including sports, environmental education and extra tutoring in daily school subjects.

The foundation has brought its wellness gospel to least a dozen other schools in the city at some point, including Patterson High School, which also has its own Mindful Moment Room. Patterson students can drop into the room of their volition or can be sent by a teacher if they are “distressed or disruptive”, according to the nonprofit’s website. Inside, they undergo a few minutes of one-on-one discussion with an instructor, followed by breathing or yoga for 15 minutes before they head back to class.

The programs have served thousands of students over time and helped to reduce suspensions. “It’s very popular with our principals,” Baltimore City Public Schools spokeswoman Anne Fullerton said.

Click here to read more about the Holistic Life Foundation and its work in city schools.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...

One reply on “Nonprofit Teaches Baltimore City School Students to Breathe Easy”

  1. I heard someone involved with this interviewed on the radio last week, and it really does sound like an amazing program — apparently at the school where it was implemented, they didn’t have a single suspension last year. And by reaching the children at a relatively tender age, they may take these skills with them to high school, and beyond. Thanks FB!

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