From day one, I knew that it was going to be a different kind of mindfulness class. But I was ready. I could handle this. I had years of teaching teens under my belt, a number of which were in inner-city schools. But I was an experienced-enough teacher to know that I was going to have to be on my toes--the whole time.
As an agency of inclusion, change and empowerment, the YWCA Greater Los Angeles echoes the sentiments of our very own Cheryl Boone Isaacs. We respect her determination to draw positive change from the "heartbreak and frustration" occasioned by the lack of diversity in this and last year's Oscar race.
We get so caught up in testing that we're forgetting to nurture kids. We forget that school isn't just a place to learn, but a place to grow and become a person. That person in charge of that classroom, who kids are looking up to, needs to be a nurturer and a caregiver, a counselor and a relationship guru.
The Odyssey Project, now in its fifth year, is using the arts to combat recidivism for juvenile offenders in a completely unprecedented way: by creating an arts-based "intervention" at that critical point near the end of a juvenile offender's teen years, when, like Odysseus, they have life choices to make that will indelibly determine their future's path.
Research has found that privileged kids are, as a whole, more self-centered, depressed, and self-destructive. They're more narcissistic, but struggle to develop a sense of self. And yet, they excel, often quite notably, in academics, sports, and other pursuits. So what we have is a generation of paradox: Bright, talented, increasingly troubled children.