We are continuing to provide 6 ongoing weekly groups at the Alameda County juvenile hall as well as a weekly group at Camp Sweeney. We are also providing 3 ongoing groups at the San Mateo YSC, in addition to a regular cohort group and individual sessions in our San Mateo Camp location, Glenwood. We’ll be wrapping up an ongoing research project at Camp Glenwood next month, where we’ve been studying the positive effects of our mindfulness based curriculum on the outcomes of youth in the camp—focusing on things like self efficacy, interpersonal effectiveness, and and self esteem. This is an exciting opportunity, and in line with a larger movement to focus on positive aspects of psychology as opposed to the traditional focus on reducing negative symptoms such as violence and negative emotions.
Our work in the schools has continued this year with 4 weekly groups at Dewey Academy in Oakland and 2 ongoing groups at Bridgepoint High School in Newark. Additionally, we expanded our services to work with Leadership Public Schools where we are delivering our 10 week mindfulness based curriculum and day long program at their San Jose campus. Working in the schools has given us the opportunity to provide mindfulness, meditation, and social emotional learning tools to youth before, and sometimes after, they encounter the juvenile justice system. Our school based programs have allowed us to more effectively help youth develop the tools and skills needed to navigate increasingly complex and stressful environments where they are often faced with extremely tough choices.
In one school based program, a youth recently shared that she was finally off of probation. While discussing her success and what had enabled her to accomplish this task, she shared that juvenile hall was “like a second home”. Understanding this stark reality for many of the youth we serve, the MBA Project is looking for ways to more accurately and effectively measure the desired outcomes of our work, taking into account that often the safest place for them is inside juvenile hall. The MBA Project is working to empower youth to increase their ability to navigate the various aspects of their lives in more positive, connected, and healthy ways—whether inside juvenile hall or in their own communities. Wherever we encounter the youth we serve, the simple act of turning inward, and taking the radical and courageous step of encountering oneself with authentic awareness and acceptance is helping transform lives, one youth at a time.