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Monday, November 3, 2014

Mindful City: Winooski, Vermont

When you go on a retreat, there's always a talk near the end about transitioning back to "the real world." You've been in a place where people are mindful and intentional, less stressed by the details of daily life. You're about to re-enter the rat race, and you're not up to speed.

But what if life could be more like retreat? What if people in ordinary life were mindful -- present and attentive and grounded in the situation ... how would life be different?

Winooski, Vermont, is out to find out.

The Vermont Community Foundation has awarded a grant to the Center for Mindful Learning to teach mindfulness to core institutions in the city, Vermont's public radio reports.
Mindful City Project Consultant Lindsay Foreman said community support is the key to the project. “Mindfulness gives us the skills and motivation to care for ourselves, each other and the planet." she said. "It is not easy to do, so we need a community to support us."

The Center for Mindful Learning will work with the Winooski Police Department, the Winooski School District, and Centerpoint Adolescent Treatment Services to implement the citywide mindfulness initiative. Mindfulness training -- does that mean meditation? -- will also be available to parents, community members, and businesses.

The initiative came about after CML did a yearlong mindfulness training program at one elementary school in Winooski.The Modern Mindfulness program uses an online curriculum that guides teachers and students in a five-minute daily mindfulness practice, CML says. One third-grade teacher told CML the program has been "life-changing for my students and myself.” 

The middle and high schools wanted to follow suit, and the idea came up to extend the program citywide.

The effort started in October. You can follow its program on CML's blog.


Image shows a poster at JFK ELementary School in Winooski, Vermont