Niroga Institute

One Million Mindful Children: Transforming the World in One Generation!

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Escalating chronic stress is at the root of the key issues of our time, including children with chronic traumatic and post-traumatic stress who can’t function at school, epidemic chronic illness, and a disconnect in forming healthy relationships that contributes to increased violence within communities and across borders. Current neuroscience, trauma and somatic psychology research suggests that Dynamic Mindfulness practices like Niroga’s DMind programs heal trauma and enable emotion regulation, through vertical integration of body, brain stem, limbic system and prefrontal cortex, for optimal information processing. This proposal seeks to develop a robust online and mobile platform to scale our programs nationally. Imagine a society where most people learn stress resilience, and act with self-awareness and self-control most of the time. This proposal will create mindful schools and mindful communities; thus enabling the possibility of one million mindful children in just five years. We could change the world in one generation!

Problem Statement

Chronic stress is the most significant public health issue of our generation and the root cause of several serious problems in education, healthcare, public safety, and more. Chronic stress is a significant risk factor for many common chronic diseases, affecting over 160 million people and accounting for 85% of the U.S. healthcare budget. Multiple studies have conclusively demonstrated that childhood trauma, including chronic stress and structural violence, is the key driver of most adult illness, death and disability. For example, those reporting four or more categories of adverse childhood experiences had twice the rate of lung and liver disease, three times the rate of depression and alcoholism, over four times the rate of intimate partner violence, over five times the rate of rape, eleven times the rate of intravenous drug use, and fourteen times the rate of attempted suicide. Neuroscience shows that chronic stress impacts brain functioning and disrupts our ability to focus, which impacts learning. Currently, one million inner-city youth struggling with disproportionate rates of chronic stress drop out of school every year and enter the school-to-prison pipeline, costing over $300 billion annually. The most vulnerable children in our society are not served by current solutions because they largely focus on addressing symptoms of the problem and their external environment, rather than investing in developing a child’s internal resiliency and capacity for achievement. Only an education that gives students internal skills to combat the negative impacts of their external environment will provide them with true opportunities for success.

Solution Overview

Our solution is Dynamic Mindfulness (DMind), integrating three components validated by the latest research in neuroscience, trauma, and somatic psychology:Mindful movement – for dissolving stress and traumaBreathing techniques – for evoking the relaxation response and enabling emotion regulationMeditation – for enhancing attention and empathy.All 48 lessons in our Transformative Life Skills curriculum, a DMind program, are available as 15-minute practice lessons, used by over 100,000 at-risk youth and their teachers. We propose to build DMonline and DMmobile, on which to port our existing video library and add health-related videos with practices for chronic conditions and for special populations. DMonline will be a learning platform for educators to receive training, ongoing coaching, and supervision, so we can partner with them to develop and implement school wide DMind programs across the nation. DMmobile will enable interactivity, customization, and communication, and drive our multimedia curriculum and our health videos library into a powerful, globally-accessible tool. Making our programs available to anyone, anywhere will increase accessibility to youth, parents and teachers, social workers and mental health providers, juvenile justice workers, and anyone seeking to improve their health and quality of life, through a highly efficient and extremely cost-effective dissemination model.We will also create DMhub, an online Dynamic Mindfulness hub to create a global community of users who can interact and share learnings and best practices, as well as barriers and solutions to Dynamic Mindfulness personal practice and professional application.

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