homepage logo

Opening Minds and Hearts

By Staff | Jun 20, 2014

With the mindfulness movement on the rise, some local folks are looking at ways to promote well being in area children and young adults.

“Open Minds,” a nonprofit formed recently by Shepherdstown resident Jan Hummer and partner, Amanda Adkins will assist local youths in learning positive ways to approach everyday stressors and challenges in and out of school.

Hummer said the pair will begin teaching kids as part of the “Upward Bound Program,” at Hagerstown Community College on June 24.

About 60 kids will participate in classes dedicated to yoga instruction, mindfulness techniques, reflective journaling and art.

In addition, the group plans to work with the local Boys and Girls Club on a similar coarse, with plans to hold two local mindfulness camps for children later this summer.

The second camp session will be held Aug. 11 to 15 here in Shepherdstown at “the Folly.”

Hummer said the camps will explore self-esteem building skills, self-regulatory techniques, creative writing, music, nature education, and mindful eating.

According to Hummer, the work Open Minds is doing is patterned after similar programs targeted toward at-risk inner city youth in bigger cities like Baltimore.

“There’s a lot of data to support this kind of work,” Hummer said.

“Even if we only reach a couple of kids in he beginning, that’s enough,” she said.

A “Wine and Unwind,” event will be held tonight, Friday June 20, at 7 p.m. at the Harmony Healing Arts Center as part of the fundraising effort for the organization.

The program will begin with a guided Vinyasa Flow yoga class led by instructor Gina Rockwell and will culminate with a social hour featuring donated wine and local chocolate confections.

Participants in the event are asked to donate $15 dollars to the organization as well as at least one new or lightly used yoga mat, to be saved for future use by a child.

“Eventually we’d like to have a yoga mat for every kid,” Hummer said.

Hummer said the event is one of two local efforts to bring public awareness to the group’s cause and help find much needed funding for program materials and administrative costs.

A second event is in the works for Friday, July 11. A benefit concert and silent auction, the event will be held at the Shepherdstown Opera House and will feature several local bands.

The cost is $15 for adults and it’s free to children under 12. Another $16 “Good Cause,” yoga class will be held at Jala Yoga prior to the benefit show, at 6 p.m.

Those who participate in both the class and benefit show will receive a special rate of $25 for both.

For more information about Open Minds, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/openmindsfoundation.

Cost To register children for the mindfulness camp is $155 per session and $255 for both. Cost includes program craft supplies and daily snack.

There is a 12-child limit. Those interested are asked to register by July 18 at heronontheriver@gmail.com or 304-839-5128.