The Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) is partnering with Emmaus House, a ministry that provides education, assistance and advocacy in the Peoplestown community, to lead mindfulness initiatives for three programs that focus on children, youth, and parents in Atlanta neighborhood.
The collaboration is the result of a $50,000 grant from Trinity Church Wall Street to expand Emmaus House’s implementation of mindfulness meditation as an avenue to assist participants in building social-emotional competencies and learning ways to reduce anxiety associated with stress.
Josephine Mhende, MPH, a Research Coordinator for CLD says the three programs will start in spring and summer 2017, and will target children from ages 3 to 16 and parents of young children. “Stress is very real for children of all ages. The goal of this initiative is to teach children mindfulness techniques that they can use any time to decrease anxiety and minimize stress,” added Mhende.
This is the second collaboration between CLD and Emmaus House. Last year, as part of a Family Engagement Opportunity Grant from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), Emmaus House partnered with CLD to evaluate the impact of integrating a mindfulness curriculum into an existing parenting education program to address parent’s concerns of increased levels of stress.
Fifteen parents were invited to participate in the sessions that included mindfulness practices, opportunities for group- and self-reflection, and home assignments. The 8-week interactive program was a modification of the Mindfulness Ambassador Council Interactive curriculum developed by Mindfulness Without Borders. The modified program aimed to increase levels of mindfulness among parents, decrease levels of stress, anxiety and depression, and improve participants’ sense of parenting competency, parent-child attachment, and overall family functioning. The results from the study revealed that the mindfulness training was correlated with lowered levels of anxiety and depression, and increased levels of parental mindfulness.
“The mindfulness tools and strategies that were part of the program gave participants a better way to cope with stressors, which may have contributed to parents’ improved well-being. We also believe parent mindfulness has the potential to improve parent-child interactions and subsequent child outcomes,” said Andrew Roach, PhD, Associate Director of the CLD. “There is increasing evidence to support the mindfulness-based interventions in a variety of contexts. We’re grateful to our partners at Emmaus House and Mindfulness Without Borders for the opportunity to implement and evaluate mindfulness programs in the Peoplestown neighborhood.”
“Emmaus House is very excited to continue our work with Dr. Roach and his team as we integrate mindfulness practices more completely into our programs,” said Greg Cole, CFRE, deputy director of Emmaus House. “We are using mindfulness to change our organizational culture, believing that it will result in greater impact as we work with clients in an often stressful environment.”