What Happens When Meditation Replaces Detention

This is the story of how the Holistic Life Foundation brought mindfulness and yoga to school children in West Baltimore, forever changing lives and building a community based on love and compassion.

Jared Soares

One afternoon in May, sitting on the floor in a small, private room at Fort Worthington Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore’s Clifton-Berea—one of the poorest urban neighborhoods in America—Kamaya, ten years old, in fifth grade, and Jahlil, ten, also in fifth grade, are talking about something new. It’s the role of mindfulness in their lives.

Kamaya’s father is in prison (“I don’t have my dad right now—he’ll be home next year”) and her mother has her own house; Kamaya lives with her grandmother. A natural chatterbox, Kamaya quickly mentions uncles and cousins and a great-grandmother, a big extended family. Sh