Mindful Heart Programs (MHP), a nonprofit dedicated to providing free mindfulness meditation classes to the Santa Barbara community, has radically reconfigured its offerings to meet community needs during times of isolation and widespread anxiety caused by COVID-19.
With a range of online classes offered every day of the week via Zoom, MHP provides various types of guidance by highly skilled instructors, suitable for all levels, from beginners to seasoned meditators. Its most recent Elder Zoom Series ― available daily 10-11 a.m. ― gives a welcome refuge to elders who want to relax and connect with others.
“Elders might feel isolated from their families and friends in these difficult times,” said Radhule Weininger, founder of MHP. “Through meditation, it is possible to find deeper meaning, purpose, and a sense of connectedness in our lives.”
Understanding the complex challenges that come with remote learning, MHP has pivoted to Zoom and continued its Kind Mind School Program: teaching foundational life skills to students, teachers, administrators, and parents. Kind Mind draws upon evidence-based, secular mindfulness and compassion practices to create culturally relevant and nature-based lessons for experiential social-emotional learning. Currently it is providing teacher training and weekly lessons in classrooms at Santa Barbara Community Academy (SBCA) and Roosevelt Elementary School.
“I am forever grateful for the partnership we have created with Kind Mind,” said SBCA Principal Anna Scharfeld. “It was integral, not only in supporting our staff and students in being more mindful, but it was also helpful in solidifying and supporting us in developing a common language that is now used throughout all our classes and with our playground supervisors.”
This January, MHP organized a Think Tank to brainstorm with scholars, activists, and educators about supporting youth through social injustices and the climate crisis. This was not the first time MHP stepped up to address community needs ― in 2019 it offered psycho-spiritual support to those affected by 2018’s 1/9 Debris Flow.
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