Teens Unite to Prioritize Mental Health and Stop Violence
TGR Foundation recognizes the importance of mindfulness in youth education and incorporates the practice into our curriculum at our TGR Learning Labs. We’re proud to recognize Adam Avin in his quest to spread awareness and best practices for implementing mindfulness in daily activities. At 14 years old, Adam has founded the Kids Association for Mindfulness in Education and an upcoming online Mindful Kids Peace Summit, a 5-day program for teens ages 11-17, offered in schools internationally.
Launching in February, the inaugural Mindful Kids Peace Summit will focus on health, wellness, peace and positivity. We’re teaching kids how to cope with stress and emotions, how to communicate and interact with kindness, and how to be mindful. Science has shown that these skills can help students be healthier, happier and do better in school and in life.
I launched this peace summit because there has never been one geared toward teens before, and mindfulness is so important right now with everything going on in the world. Statistics show that bullying, depression, anxiety, anger, suicide and homicide have risen in the past few years in kids under 18. If we can teach coping and mindfulness skills in schools, like we do reading and math, then my hope is that kids will grow up to be happier, healthier and more peaceful teens who know how to deal with life in productive ways – and we can stop the violence.
Our summit will include more than 50 well-known experts speaking on subjects such as diversity, inclusion, communication, social-emotional learning, coping with stress, anti-bullying, positivity, interacting with others, and more, as well as, celebrity role models with positive messages. Teachers will receive discussion points, suggested activities and projects so they can continue an open dialogue with their students after the Summit.
I’ve been practicing mindfulness for years when I’m listening to music, doing breathing exercises, or when I’m on the golf course. I’ve also been teaching the practice to young kids through fun, games, music, videos, apps and the dog character I created, Wuf Shanti. The Wuf Shanti mascot travels to schools and hospitals to visit with the kids, bringing comfort and a simple way to connect to the practice of mindfulness.
As I grew up and started high school, so did our curriculum. I wanted to offer something to help teens, but I knew it had to be much more serious, and without the dog character. With the support of Helen Maffini, of MindBe-Education, I launched the Mindful Kids Peace Summit.
The Summit will take place Feb 11-15, the anniversary of the Parkland, Florida shooting, as a way to honor the victims and survivors. I live close to Parkland, and our entire community and surrounding communities were deeply affected by this tragedy and stand with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Others are working on getting rid of the guns, and this is the only way I know to help. I want to arm teachers with what they’re supposed to be armed with, teachable moments and education.
The Mindful Kids Peace Summit’s daily themes include:
- Day 1: We Are All One: Diversity, Inclusion and Communication
- Day 2: Living Together in Peace: Kindness and Anti-Bullying (Stop the Violence)
- Day 3: Mindfulness Matters: Tools for Kids to De-Stress and Cope with Emotions (Yoga, Meditation, Breathing, Positivity)
- Day 4: Doing Good: Things We Can Do Together to Make the World a Better Place and Collaboration
- Day 5: Social-Emotional Learning, Interacting with Others, Positive Psychology: More Mindfulness for Kids and how Teachers and Parents can help
Offered online and at no cost on the days of the summit, the Peace Summit is accessible to students, parents, teachers and healthcare practitioners around the world. My hope is for students to watch together and create a common goal of inner and outer peace through these mindfulness tools.
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