Donors Choose for Funding

Donors Choose can fund your professional development.

I was thrilled to see a flyer for the collaborative workshop, Moving into the Zone: Implementing Move Mindfully® and The Zones of Regulation®. As an occupational therapist and a mindfulness and movement advocate, I knew I needed register for this professional development opportunity! However, working in public schools, I knew my funds were limited.

I decided to write a request on Donors Choose. They not only fund classroom resources, but also professional development. I knew that this unique offering would be of interest to many donors. I wrote up the course description and hit submit. I was shocked a week later when I received an email that my project had been fully funded! I was very fortunate to post at a time when donations were matched 50%. Donors Choose is the perfect way to fund your Move Mindfully® Workshop!

Move Mindfully® Workshop

Can I use Donors Choose?

To post a project on Donorschoose.org, a teacher must be employed full-time by a public school district or or the Office of Head Start and be a front line educator working with students at least 75% of the time. Front line educators include classroom teachers, therapists, librarians, guidance counselors and school nurses.

Once you determine your position is eligible for Donorschoose.org you may register for an account. Before posting your first project, I suggest reviewing the Rules & Responsibilities regarding posting a project and accepting a funded project. As a project receives funding, the educator is required to post a quick, online Thank You note to the donor. Once project items are received, the educator is required to upload photos of the project in use and create Thank You cards for each donor. Donorschoose.org offers clear instructions for each step of the project process.

Donors Choose project process

Tips for Your Project

  • Use the search engine to find projects similar to the one you are posting. Reading other projects might be inspirational when you sit down to write your request.
 Search “mindfulness” or “yoga” to see what else has been funded.
  • Review current Promotions & Funding Opportunities BEFORE beginning your project. Often companies offer to match funds if a project meets certain criteria (i.e. Technology, Early Childhood, Literacy, etc.).
  • Start small. In my experience, projects with needs in the $400-500 range (or less) seem to get funded within the 6 month timeline.
 Maybe start for a smaller ask of mindfulness and movement products from the 1000 Petals store.
  • Share your project with Family & Friends via social media.

Donorschoose.org offers a unique opportunity for educators to request supplies and professional development that pertains directly to our work with youth. I am truly grateful for the Donors Choose organization and all of the generous donors that support educators.

Have you had a mindfulness and movement project funded on Donors Choose? Leave a comment!

Written By, Amanda Block

My name is Amanda and I am a pediatric occupational therapist. I have worked in school settings in Minnesota and Wisconsin for almost 21 years. I have had several projects funded through Donorschoose.org over the last ten years.

Mindfulness and Technology

It’s a love/hate relationship with technology.

On the one hand, we want our kids to learn, connect, create, and participate fully in 21st century life with technology. On the other hand, we worry. We have power struggles. We reminisce about the good old days.

Navigating this is getting beyond the “lock down” or “hands off” approach and parenting towards digital citizenship. While it is easy to name all of the things we do NOT want kids to be doing in digital spaces, it can also be helpful to be clear about what we do want.

A couple of recent studies point to two important places to start:

LOOKING IN

“I just feel exhausted” a 9th grader told me after a talk a couple of months ago. “There are always things to be doing, updated, responding to. I mean don’t get me wrong I love it…Most of the time. But it is exhausting.”

Children and youth today are consuming and responding to streams of information at unprecedented rates. Some young people are starting to articulate just how tiring it can be to be “always on, always connected.”

Many of us think that we are either paying attention or we aren’t. Research over the last ten years, however, has revealed that we have two different attention systems: a “looking out” system and a “looking in” system. Looking Out we use when we play video games or read a text from a friend. Looking In we use when we reflect, remember, feel social emotions, or daydream. The challenge for us humans is that we can’t use both attention systems at once. Instead, we toggle back and forth between them.

It turns out that “looking in” is important for our social emotional health. For example, the more often we reflectively pause when confronted with an emotional story, the better we are at abstracting the emotions and morals from one specific event and applying them to others. The challenge today is that in a media rich world, our looking in attention is increasingly pulled to looking out at sound bites, snippets, and clicks.

The takeaway from this research is that media and technology are not inherently bad. Instead, balancing this time with introspection and rest is what is important. Try some of 1000 Petals Rest Activities.

LOOKING UP

We’ve known for a long time that little children need live social interactions to learn effectively. Dr. Marjorie Hogan, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, reminds us “that need doesn’t go away” as children grow up.

Indeed, we’ve written before about the late Clifford Nass’ research with heavy media multitaskers. He found that face-to-face time counterbalanced negative social and emotional impacts of heavy media use among tween girls. Our kids might be born into this world hardwired for empathy and connection, but research shows that they need a lot of in-person interactions with peers to fully develop these skills.

Researchers with the Children’s Media Center at Los Angeles likewise found that pre-teens who spent five days at an overnight nature camp without access to technology showed significant improvement over that time in recognizing nonverbal emotion cues compared to the control group that retained normal media habits. Time in the natural world, an experience known to have cognitive benefits, may have laid a productive stage for more meaningful interactions but this factor alone doesn’t explain improvements in emotional communication.

The takeaway from this research is that spending time with peers in positive social interactions can help balance out time spent with screens. Try some of 1000 Petals Social Emotional Games to build community.

The digital world in which our children are growing up is complex and changing quickly. As adults, we need to advocate and model balance. How do you bring this balance to your students or your own children? How have you addressed these concerns. Leave a comment!

Written By,

Erin Walsh, M.A.
Mind Positive Parenting Speaker

Erin cares about parenting and teaching for courage and connection in the digital age. She combines brain-science-made-simple, storytelling, and practical strategies to help families, schools, and kids build on their strengths. She has addressed a wide range of audiences throughout North America and has consulted on issues related to digital media, children, youth.

sparkandstitchinstitute.com

Funding Your Move Mindfully® Program

Funding allocation within a school budget is complicated.

Usually funded items are justified by having a direct impact on academic achievement. However, we now understand trauma, mental illness and positive relationships do in fact impact academic achievement. Our school began the quest for a grant to address contributing factors of student trauma and staff secondary trauma. What if we could address overall wellbeing? Here’s our story!

wellbeing and academic achievement

Finding Our Funding

In December of 2017, our grant writer for South Washington Schools and Park High School began our application for the Prairie Care Child & Family Fund.

PrairieCare Child & Family Fund, which launched in March of 2016, has awarded $360,000 to a total of seventeen school districts across the state of MN to support mental health education and training to those who support or provide educational services to youth.

Once we identified our area of focus, we dove into the research. Our team utilized the Minnesota Student Survey.

This voluntary survey asks students about their activities, opinions, behaviors and experiences. Students respond to questions on school climate, bullying, out-of-school activities, health and nutrition, emotional and mental health, relationships, substance use and more. Questions about sexual behaviors are asked only of ninth- and 11th-grade students. All responses are anonymous.

Here are some of the data, highlighted by our team, from the 2016 MN Student Survey results.

  • About 1 in 5 students reported experiencing symptoms of depression.
  • The percentage of 11th graders who said they seriously considered suicide in the past year increased from 9.7 percent in 2013 to 12 percent in 2016.
  • Ninth grade students who reported mental health concerns lasting six months or more increased from 12.5 percent to 17.3 percent in 2016.

Our grant writer helped us package a grant that focused on stress reduction with tier one mindfulness and movement interventions. We worked collaboratively with the 1000 Petals team to develop a school wide implementation model that would fit the needs of the students and staff in our district.

Hoberman Sphere from Yoga Calm® Curriculum

Receiving Our Funding

We received a grant for approximately $18,000 to fund our program! We coined this work “The Resiliency Project”. The rollout was intended to be simple and facilitate staff buy-in. Staff participation would not only create sustainability, but also address the element of staff wellness.

We worked with 1000 Petals staff to develop a Move Mindfully® scope and sequence that was customized for our students. We began with a staff workshop, then classroom consultations and finally visuals for classrooms and hallways.

Move Mindfully Workshop

Here are some data to summarize our year of implementation:

  • 18 staff members completed a mindfulness book study and set individual implementation goals.
  • >7 teachers received coaching in the form of 30 minute mindful lessons with students and the teachers.
  • About 85% of all Monday’s this school year had a Mindful Monday announcement.
  • 85% of staff agree that the Resiliency Project increases awareness to pause throughout the day.

Students, staff and families were talking about mindfulness. I know that this model was a  success because our staff chose to continue this learning at our final end of the year staff development. The grant served as the catalyst for a sustainable cultural change.

Note from 1000 Petals:

Here are other available grants that have a history of funding Move Mindfully® programming.

  1. Action for Healthy Kids
    1. Action for Healthy Kids provides a variety of tools and resources to help schools implement health and wellness programs that can help your school become a place where kids learn to lead healthier lives, eat nutritious foods, are physically active and better prepared to learn each day. Get started today!
  2. Statewide Health Improvement Partnership
    1. The Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) supports community-driven solutions to expand opportunities for active living, healthy eating and commercial tobacco-free living.
  3. Title 1
    1. “Safe and Healthy Students” describes physical activity, emotional supports and community building as allowable SSAE uses of funds.
    2. Move Mindfully® programming falls within the scope of School Wide Positive Behavior Interventions (PBIS) funding options.
  4. Education Minnesota
    1. Education Minnesota offers a variety of grants and grant writing supports, many of which focus on physical, mental and emotional supports.
  5. PeaceMarker MN
    1. Read our blog post for details on obtaining this guaranteed funding from our amazing partners.

PeaceMaker MN

Have you received grants to receive your programming for mindfulness and movement? Share your experiences in the comments!

Written By,

Tanya Holub and 1000 Peals Team