HomeBensalem TimesMatthew’s Mindful Moment teaches meditation to youth

Matthew’s Mindful Moment teaches meditation to youth

Classes have been taught at several Bensalem Township schools, including Cornwells and Valley

A furry friend: Matthew’s Mindful Moment, which has taught classes at Bensalem schools, has found that teddy bears help children during meditation. Source: Matthew’s Mindful Moment

Ricki Jacobson and Louise Okin are best friends who’ve known each other for 50 years and who co-authored a book on parenting.

The two, who live in Dresher, Montgomery County, are also co-founders, along with Okin’s husband Michael, of Matthew’s Mindful Moment.

The nonprofit was formed after the Okins’ adult son, Matthew, died in a car accident in 2016. When Matthew was younger, meditation helped him with anxiety issues.

“That really changed his life,” said Jacobson, executive director of the nonprofit.

Matthew’s Mindful Moment has 26 meditation teachers based all over the country and offers its services for free, thanks to grants and donations from corporations. It will give a presentation in June to the local chapter of 100+ Women Who Care, with hopes of earning a grant to teach meditation in Bucks County schools.

“We have a pretty large support community,” Jacobson said.

One of the services offered by the nonprofit is teacher training. The training can take place in assembly settings, and principals and superintendents are welcome to request the service.

In addition, there are support groups for parents. One agency that has a support group is the Wycombe-based AJ Foundation for Children with Autism, which offers a comprehensive learning center. Jacobson has been a supporter of the foundation for more than 20 years, and her son is on the board of directors.

“The school means a lot to me,” she said.

Matthew’s Mindful Moment also offers 10-week in-person and virtual programs in schools in the tri-state area. The nonprofit targets elementary schools. Classes typically take place twice a week, for 30 to 45 minutes each.

A pilot program at Meadowbrook School, where Matthew Okin attended for seven years, proved to be successful.

More recently, teachers have been at Norristown’s Eisenhower Science and Technology Leadership Academy and the Benchmark School, a Media-based independent, co-educational school for bright children in grades 1-8 who have been identified as having dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, auditory processing or other learning differences.

Teachers were also in fifth-grade classes at Cornwells, Valley, Benjamin Rush, Samuel K. Faust, Russell C. Struble and Belmont Hills elementary schools in the Bensalem Township School District.

“We’re really focused on ‘under-resourced’ schools,” Jacobson said.

According to Matthew’s Mindful Moment, there is a decrease in anxiety in students who practice mindfulness training. Through consistent practice of mindfulness, research shows a marked enhancement in student’s understanding of others and empathy for others. Recent information has shown marked improved ability for students who practice mindfulness in their ability to utilize resolution skills.

The service isn’t just for elementary school students. Free meditations are available to people of all ages, emailed to the nonprofit’s subscribers and also found on its website, YouTube channel and Instagram page.

“All these tools last a lifetime,” Jacobson said.

For more information, visit matthewsmindfulmoment.com/, go to the Matthew’s Mindful Moment page on Facebook or email info@matthewsmindfulmoment.com.

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