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Holistic Me: An Afterschool Program To Teach Underserved Children The Benefits Of Yoga And Mindfulness

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May 10, 2022
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Students in Holistic Me learn a combination of yoga, mindfulness practices, meditation, which empower them with skills for peaceful conflict resolution and greater control over their body.

“[Holistic Life Foundation] love the children, they love the community, and they are an asset to Robert W Coleman. There are some children who have anger management problems. The yoga program has enabled those children to do meditation techniques and instead of them reacting and getting angry, they’ve learned how to meditate and redirect their anger.”

— Carlillian Thompson

Principal, Robert W Coleman Elementary School

The Holistic Life Foundation’s after school program, Holistic Me, was created to give children a better sense of their center, their mindfulness, and to provide a confidence in their ability to have control over their emotions as well as body.

Holistic Me was piloted in 2002 at Windsor Hills Elementary School, then hosted at the Druid Hill YMCA for 7 years.

Currently, the HLF after school program is facilitated at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School.

The program serves 120 male and female students, from grades Pre-K through 5th. This multifaceted after school program’s Program Partners provide enrichment activities such as Makers Space, Woodworking, Environmental, Team Building, Art & Entrepreneurship, Basketball, Martial Arts, Dance, Steel Drums, and STEM.

Students in Holistic Me benefit and grow in many ways from their participation.

“I learned how to control myself doing yoga.”

– 2nd grade boy

They learn a combination of yoga, mindfulness practices, meditation, centering, and breath work that empower them with skills for peaceful conflict resolution, improved focus and concentration, greater control and awareness of thoughts and emotions, improved self-regulation, anger management, as well as stress reduction and relaxation.

Students in the fitness and sports fundamentals portion of the program learn the basic fundamental sports skills as well as learning exercises and skills for overall fitness.  What’s more is they develop teamwork and leadership skills, and build the foundation for leading a healthy lifestyle.

“It’s like karma. If I do something bad like punch somebody in the jaw, something bad is gonna happen to me. But if I do something good, good stuff will happen.”

– 5th grade boy

Interconnectedness to the entire world is also a major facet of the program as students are taught to focus on the bigger picture and not just their neighborhood in environmental education program.

Learning the importance of stewardship, environmental justice and sustainability, students see how the environment impacts them and vice versa. Students also receive supplemental instruction in their core classes including math, language arts and science through homework assistance and one-on-one tutoring.

“When I first started I was kinda bad…now the breathing has calmed me down”

– 7th grade boy

Holistic Me maintains an average daily attendance of at least eight-five (85) percent. Students who have graduated out of the program into the Holistic Life Foundation Mentoring Program come back to volunteer as tutors and yoga instructors.

 

“Meditation calms me down and stuff”

– 4th grade girl



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