Building Bigger

Find Your Center: Mindfulness Zen Room

To support students with emotional trauma and mental health care needs to achieve school success.

Our school is a public center school for Severely Emotionally/Behaviorally Disabled students. My students have a mental health diagnosis, have experienced major trauma, abuse, abandonment, and neglect in their lives. Most live below the poverty line, in group homes, or foster care and have limited support outside of school. My students have experienced tragedies in their lives that will have an everlasting impact. Currently 92 students out of our 122 students (75%) are coded in BASIS as having moderate to chronic absenteeism. 8 students are currently homeless. 58 of our students (47%) are listed as having chronic health issues. 36% have been retained once or more times. Our students need to be physically present with us and suffered the loss of the human connection during COVID. Many experienced a decline in social/emotional well-being due to remote learning. Having a safe nurturing space to call their own on our campus and participating in creating the Zen room we can support healing.

Funding will be used to transform a run down portable into a hub for mental health well being for students and staff. The aesthetic space will feature a multi-sensory approach to create a therapeutic atmosphere where services will be provided. Mindfulness, gardening, therapy groups, and a safe space are some of the features of this cathartic room. Behavioral difficulties, chronic absenteeism, and poor grades are a result of not only trauma, but also the COVID slide that our students have faced while learning remotely for 2 years. Although they were educated and provided therapeutic services during remote learning, it was not the same as being present in our supportive environment. Many experienced a decline in social/emotional well-being due to remote learning. These research based techniques will support the healing that is so desperately needed and accelerate our students' abilities to thrive.

This project is needed for my students who have experienced so much trauma in their lives. They will learn mindful breathing, guided imagery, autogenics and biofeedback, mindful eating, and drawings as ways to heal emotionally and physically. The Zen room project will help my students gain the skills needed to achieve a healthy balance of well-being that will help to improve grades, attendance, and reduce behavioral incidents. These goals are part of our School Improvement Plan and this project directly aligns with our District plan. The far reaching impacts include: brain health, problem solving, college and career readiness, and basic life skills for our fragile population of youth. When faced with stress, a deep breath, and a moment to Find You Center can prevent the emotional dis-regulation that has previously plagued our students and build the confidence to overcome life's challenges using these healthy coping skills.

Back to winners