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The Mind Body Awareness Project's (MBA) mission is to inspire and awaken the intrinsic value of young people. MBA teaches mindfulness-based lifeskills to at-risk and incarcerated youth.
Our aim is to empower incarcerated and at-risk youth with direct access to tools, competencies and emotional stamina needed to control impulses, manage aggression, and reduce stress. It is our experience that youth who possess more positive internal assets such as high self-esteem and self reliance, social and emotional competency, and positive values are more likely to lead successful, satisfying, and productive lives as adults in our community.
In an effort to cope with the formidable task of coming of age in toxic social environments, at-risk youth frequently turn to self-destructive patterns of acting out through gang-related violence, self-medicating with illegal drugs, or other "uncontrollable" behaviors to cope with the enormous stresses they face. These behaviors often result in youth being jailed where they are further acculturated to self-destructive patterns of survival, which can in turn lead to a life-long pattern of crime and incarceration. These destructive behaviors are often misguided expressions of an age appropriate search for vitality, autonomy, and a sense of self and belonging. Through the introduction of self-care practices such as meditation, yoga, and peer counseling, MBA programs address the root causes of this negative cycle and interrupt its momentum before it becomes hardened into habit.
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