End of Year Gratitude❤️

Dear Community,

As I sit and reflect on this last year, I don’t know where to start. It has been a devastatingly complex time for so many. The horrific effects of the pandemic on every level of our society has been tragic, but specifically for our already most vulnerable communities. For our youth and their families, their lives have been turned upside down with virtual learning. Our educators have had to completely reimagine engagement with students and families and pivot their lessons while balancing their own personal lives. Within the year, we have seen the continuation of social injustices and so much pain and suffering. All this to say is that the amount of challenges are impossible to put into words, and at the same time, the resilience, courage, and overall power of our youth and families and educators has been beyond amazing to observe and be a part of. Mindfulness is about fully welcoming the full internal human experience in the present moment with deep compassion. To say the need for this transformative practice has always been critical and important is an understatement, and this year just amplified this more.

I am extremely proud to share that Mindful Life Project was able to transition to distance learning, show flexibility, adaptability and perseverance as the pandemic began changing every aspect of the way we live. Our team was able to not only sustain our programs but increase the impact dramatically. We increased our direct service partner schools from 22 to 25 and in doing so, our deep partnerships with schools helped increase the amount of service days per week from 62 to 93. This meant that the average school had our services about 3 days per week in the 2019-2020 school year and this year we averaged close to 4 days a week of service. This deepening of programming at our schools proved to be a huge support to our youth, school staff, and families. We have received the best feedback from our communities ever, and that is an amazing thing to celebrate in a year that was beyond challenging.

This year we were able to serve our 25 schools through our direct service programming across 9 Bay Area cities and were also able to provide trainings and virtual programming to schools in Stockton, Salinas, Monterey, Vallejo, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Kansas City. We provided weekly programming to our most in need students through Rise-Up, mindfulness for every student and teacher through Mindful Community, weekly sessions for school staff, and families (both in English and Spanish) and delivered virtual services and trainings to partners across the state. In total we had the honor of serving over 20,000 students in about 20 different cities.

It’s hard to believe this completes our 9th year! I am deeply grateful and proud of the way MLP has continued to show up day in and day out to support the mental and emotional well-being of our school communities!

In gratitude,

JG Larochette

Founder and Director

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