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Relax, Heal, Learn by Dale Mezzacappa – The Notebook

The Inner Strength Teen Program just received some insightful coverage in the April 11th issue of The Notebook, Philadelphia’s Education weekly. You can read the article Relax, Heal, Learn by Dale Mezzacappa @dalemezz in its original with comments and more on The Notebook’s coverage of Behavioral and Mental Health initiatives in the schools here. Images by Darryl Murphy of The Notebook. I encourage you to make your comments …

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ISF at the Haverford Middle School Diversity Conference

This year’s Haverford Middle School Diversity Conference focused on the theme “Brave or Blind.” Over four hundred students came together from four states – Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware to meet each other and practice dialogue across difference. In sessions that role-played common scenarios between friends that created racial tension, students were asked to model alternative ways to …

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Teenage Brain: Risks, Peer Pressure & Our Modern World

Being in high school is challenging. I remember the awkwardness and the bigness of the world to my smallness. And in my smallness trying to be big and sometimes getting away with it. Being one of two thousand students in my city high school didn’t help. I wondered if any of the teachers knew my name and I remember going …

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What Do We Say to Our Children?

Many of the images we’re shown these days are of fractures between peoples. The unexpected but unambiguous results of the US election is confronting many of us with the challenge of seeing our own silos, our own lack of interest to hear the pain points and the dreams of others who are different from ourselves. It is a time for …

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Insights from Inmates

Everyone can present themselves well in the right circumstances. The question is, when the human being is at rest, what is our essential nature? And how much does our conviction about our potential and inherent nature depend on those who touched us early on in life? I teach a mindfulness class in a prison just south of town. It’s not …

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Racial Stress & Mindful Spaces

It’s Fall. Back to school. Reconnecting with my teacher friends who have been out on summer break. Most of them hold summer jobs, in part for the extra cash to make ends meet, and in part because teachers just like to engage. They’re “people” people. I was having brunch with one of my best teacher friends. A delightful person, someone …

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Teen Respect & Classroom Mindfulness

How do you win the respect of teenage African American girls when you’re a soft-spoken, sensitive African American male teacher, educated at Columbia and UPenn, a musician, social activist, cultural commentator with hipster leanings, note the dreads and plaid poncho perfectly draped? You got it. Not easy. The more postmodern pluralism you allow in the classroom, the more challenges you …

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First Day of (Mindfulness) School

The phone rang, and it was a number I needed to take. Awkward. I was rushing out of the subway, bundled against the cold, my eyes darting around for a place I could duck into to be able to hear over the cavernous echo of the concrete halls. Dunkin’ Donuts. Perfect. I leaned against the counter, gingerly balancing my bags …

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Teens Discover Context and Compassion

Teens Discover Context & Compassion Posted July 2, 2015 By Amy Edelstein I’m sitting at a café having miso-mushroom soup, processing my meeting with an inner city high school principal about expanding the Mindfulness and Cultural Development program next year. The pilot was so successful; she would like it to see it reach the entire freshman class. “I want them …