Community Love: The Blue Heart Foundation
Photo courtesy of the Blue Heart Foundation
The Blue Heart Foundation began in 2013 to provide young African American males in San Diego mentoring, personal and professional development opportunities.
In 2021, The Blue Heart Foundation launched a new program focused on mental and emotional health, called The Mindful Heart. The program addresses issues that are normally taboo in the Black community, including anxiety, depression and emotional stability. The goal is to equip youth with the tools to implement a mindfulness practice that supports their emotional development and growth by surrounding them with a village built on the pillars of love, empathy, and grace.
“I learned mindfulness was a purposeful act and I will use some of the breathing techniques I learned in the workshop,” said Josiah J., a program participant. “I’m excited to start meditating…30 minutes a day. Just me and my thoughts.”
The 45 boys in the program also participate in mindfulness cooking classes and connect with an assigned mentor who checks in on each young man’s well-being, during Mental Health Month and beyond.
For Mental Health Month, they wanted to share mindfulness tips for your teen including:
To do this, focus your attention on your food. It doesn’t matter if it’s a meal, snack, or chewing gum. With your eyes open or closed, simply notice how your food feels in your mouth or in your hand. Does it have a smell? A particular taste? Chew slowly and notice how you feel after each bite.
For this practice, you’ll focus on how it feels to inhale and exhale. Breathing normally, can you feel the air entering your nostrils or your mouth? When you inhale, visualize how the air fills your lungs and notice that silent relief you feel when you exhale.
Whether you’re on a walk, at the gym, or working out at home, you can cultivate mindfulness in exercise. Start in slow motion and take a moment to acknowledge how your body moves as a cohesive unit and how this exercise impacts your arms, chest, legs, and feet differently.
When speaking mindfully, take time to choose your words. What words seem calm or soothing to you? Say them silently and with intention in your mind. Now, try saying them out loud. Notice how your voice sounds, in your head and out loud.
Learn more about how The Blue Heart Foundation in investing in these young adults’ lives. Click here to learn more about The Blue Heart Foundation and for more mindfulness tips in its blog called “Try Mindfulness if your Teen is Feeling Overwhelmed.”