Bringing Mindfulness to Students Suffering from Trauma

JG Lachorette began practicing mindfulness as an antidote to his own anxiety. Today, he provided mindfulness trainings in schools nationwide through the Mindful Life Project

Robert Kneschke/Adobe Stock

JG Larochette’s first word—“ball”—was an early sign that he would find presence not in stillness but in motion. As he grew up, the baseball diamond and soccer field were his refuge. And after playing Division I baseball in college, Larochette joined Playworks, a California nonprofit that fosters recess play in low-income schools. A two-week assignment at an inner-city elementary school in Richmond, CA, began ominously: One afternoon, when Larochette was on the basketball court, students pelted him with rocks. He was determined to respond with love.

Making spaces safe and loving became his passion, first on court, then as a classroom teacher. But as a full-time teacher, Larochette lost the habit of daily physical activity through which he had previously channeled stress. He struggled with insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Just as he began to contemplate leaving the classroom, after eight years, he found a lifeline: mindfulness. Within weeks, Larochette was sharing mindfulness practices with his students; within months, he was sharing with other schools in the community. Today, Larochette is the founder and director of the Mindful Life Project, a nonprofit that now provides intervention programs—including mindfulness—for 22 underserved Bay Area schools, and leads mindfulness trainings in schools nationwide.

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