The Khyentse Foundation recently awarded a special grant to the Mind Body Awareness Project (MBA) recognizing this unique program as a possible “new national model for the rehabilitation of incarcerated youth.”
The foundation, started by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, awards grants to initiatives it believes will have a long-term dharmic impact on society. Continue for the full story. MBA, founded in 2000, is based partly on cofounder Noah Levine’s experience in Santa Cruz Juvenile Hall, which he chronicled in his book Dharma Punx.
MBA’s training program combines mindfulness meditation, emotional intelligence exercises, and movement disciplines such as yoga and tai chi, to teach incarcerated and at-risk youth methods to counteract destructive patterns of addiction, violence, and crime. Based in inner-city Oakland, California, the program serves 1,500 young people in nearby prisons, juvenile halls, detention camps, group homes, schools, and teen centers. The ten-module program begins with learning to appreciate one’s true nature as good, and proceeds through a variety of skills that focus on transforming how participants work with their own mind states and interact with others. MBA also trains staff in other youth-assistance organizations and emphasizes attention to youths during the critical period following their return to the community from prisons and detention facilities.
The MBA’s advisory board includes Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction founder Jon Kabat-Zinn, emotional intelligence specialist and author Daniel Goleman, and George Mumford, who trained the Los Angeles Lakers in mindfulness meditation and helped develop the MBA curriculum.
For more on the Mind Body Awareness Project, visit http://www.mbaproject.org/