Cultivating Awareness, Living Mindfully, Enhancing Resilience

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Calmer Choice, a grassroots community-based nonprofit organization, was founded in 2010 by Fiona Jensen, a Cape Cod resident and Registered Occupational Therapist. As a community member and mother she was responding to the emotional devastation experienced by her high school aged daughter and her friends after the tragic deaths of several of their Barnstable High School classmates. Having personally benefitted from a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program, her goal became finding a way to bring the benefits of mindfulness to children and teens of Cape Cod to bolster their emotional coping skills and enhance their inner resiliency.

Calmer Choice teaches skills which help youth manage and reduce the impact of stress and enhance their ability to regulate their own emotional responses. Supporting, promoting and integrating these skills into the school environment gives students the tools and practice they need to better cope with the complex pressures and stressors present in their lives today. The application of these skills increases emotional well being and stability while also decreasing impulsivity. Applied to real life situations, these tools can empower and protect children and adolescents against the negative effects of violence, bullying, and the emotional turmoil that can lead to a host of behaviors that can end with tragic results.

The organization’s mission statement is as follows: Calmer Choice exists to address the issues of violence, suicide, and self-destructive behaviors in young people. We do this by providing them with mindfulness training, which builds skills to manage stress, resolve conflicts, and develop inner strength to lead happy, healthy, meaningful lives.

The Calmer Choice program teaches students and classroom teachers “mindfulness” – giving them techniques by which the student and teachers can calm themselves when upset, relax their bodies and minds, and enhance their attention skills. Students learn practices that will help them pay attention, stay focused, make better choices and have greater compassion and empathy for themselves and others. In-service programs for teachers and guidance counselors provide understanding of how stress affects emotion, health and performance. Classroom teachers also participate with their students to experience mindfulness practice and learn self-care tools to effectively manage their own stress, as well as how to implement them in their classrooms. Parents are invited to experience the program during an evening workshop offered by Calmer Choice.

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