When one of the kids at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in West Baltimore acts out, chances are she'll be sent not to the principal's office but to the Mindful Moment room, a soothing space with comfy cushions and beanbags, lit by glowing pink Himalayan salt lamps. It's part of the Mindful Moment program run by the Holistic Life Foundation, a nonprofit started in 2001 by brothers Atman and Ali Smith, who grew up in the neighborhood, and their friend Andres Gonzalez. Longtime meditators, they wanted to give kids better tools to cope with stress and anger in this low-income, high-crime neighborhood, which was at the epicenter of the riots that followed Freddie Gray's death in police custody. They began by teaching mindfulness first at another elementary school, then at a local YMCA. Now, thanks to their efforts, the day at Coleman starts with a breathing exercise over the PA system and ends with an after-school program where, in addition to sports and tutoring, students can learn yoga.
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