In celebration of Women’s History Month, we are sharing the story of how Inner Explorer partnered with Girls Inc. to empower young women through the practice of mindfulness.
March is Women’s History Month – a time dedicated to recognizing, uplifting and celebrating the immense impact of women in American History. We would like to extend deep gratitude to the powerful women in our community: Educators, students and family members, who dedicate themselves to creating a better world through acts of empathy and kindness every day.
As an organization with two female founders, we believe in the importance of empowering women to recognize their infinite potential and providing them the resources to pursue their dreams.
In partnership with Girls Inc. , a nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be smart, strong and bold, we provided young women in their program with access to daily mindfulness. As a result, we witnessed just how much social emotional skills can impact the trajectory of a young woman’s life through a participant named Stephanie.
Stephanie was a middle school student who had been participating in Girls Inc. since she was six years old. At age 11, both of her parents were in jail and she was sent to live with her aunt, who was a known drug abuser. She suffered from chronic stress, food insecurity and was repeatedly exposed to a violent household; consequently, she was often angry and violent herself.
After efforts to help Stephanie proved to be ineffective, the Girls Inc. staff decided to implement the Inner Explorer program. Stephanie, along with 13 of her peers, participated in 10 minutes of daily mindful awareness practices.
In just two months, the director of Girls Inc. shared that while all of the girls who were participating in Inner Explorer were changing, Stephanie’s transformation was undeniable; so much so, that her peer group had unanimously nominated her to be “Girl of the Month,” for the first time in her five years of the program.
“It’s as if Stephanie found herself for the very first time,” said the Girls Inc. director as she held back tears.
Through mindfulness, Stephanie learned to rise above her life circumstances and discover who she was at the core. She found the inspiration to chart a new course for herself – no longer held back by the burden of a difficult and chaotic home environment.
Young women like Stephanie are history in the making. As we learned through her story, being equipped with social emotional skills at a young age can positively influence the life path of not only the young person who practices, but the lives of those around them. Through tools like mindfulness, young people everywhere are able to shine in their communities, academically and beyond.
ABOUT GIRLS INC.
Girls Inc. inspires girls everywhere to be strong, smart and bold. Their evidence-based programming focuses on healthy living, academic enrichment and support, and developing life skills. As a result of these programs, girls learn to value their whole selves, discover and develop their inherent strengths, and receive the support they need to navigate challenges. The organization works to tackle systemic barriers, particularly for girls with the fewest resources, advocate on behalf of policies that support girls, and help girls respond to toxic stress and trauma. Learn more at GirlsInc.org.
Last year we piloted one class with Inner Explorer’s mindfulness program. The one class who used it was the calmest class with the fewest incident reports (0 versus an average of 25 in the other classrooms!) and had the high estacademic gains in reading (initially 10 of 28 students werebelow grade level, at the end of the year 0 of 28 werebelow, including several special needs students!). We are expanding into all the classrooms this year.Principal, Sarasota, FL
Inner Explorer is very user friendly and easy to implement. We have seen a dramatic increase in the positive behaviors of the students in the classrooms where the program is donewith fidelity. The investment of 5-10 minutes daily, comes back to you exponentially! Programs such as this should berequired in all schools! Ileana Mellan, Principal,Mater Academy.
We had just started IE a few months prior to the marathon bombing in Boston. Third grade was particularly traumatizedas that was the grade that lost Martin. By continuing toparticipate in IE each day after the bombing, IE served asgood trauma first-aid for several reasons: Maintaining familiar routines and rituals Ongoing teaching of calm down strategies. A safe space and sense of security. Helped teachers and students with self-care Director of Special Ed and Student Support.
Inner Explorer has empowered our students to handle stress, anxiety, and negative emotions in a constructive manner. The 5-10 minute guided audio practices are long enough toprovide immediate positive effects and short enough as tonot disrupt instructional time. Teachers have said that they themselves have used the mindfulness strategies to reduce their own stress. Inner Explorer is simple to use, empowers students and teachers to self-regulate their emotions, and their team is always readily available to answer questions/address concerns Aida Trujillo, AssistantPrincipal