It’s Arizona Gives Day on April 5th, a statewide day of giving to local charities. With 900 charities registered for this event, it will prove to be an exciting day. There’s one in particular I’m hoping Arizonans will be supporting – award-winning, Scottsdale based non-profit, Mindfulness First (the charity I work with). Honored by Arianna Huffington as a ‘tremendous cause that will shape the next 10 years’, Mindfulness First has a vision of a ‘mindful Arizona’.

While Ms. Huffington has been a leader in this mindfulness revolution, she isn’t the only one to spot it. Mindfulness First recently created a partnership with the Aetna Foundation to create Arizona’s First Mindful School: Crockett Elementary School in Phoenix. Over the next academic year, every child, teacher and staff member will receive mindfulness training. Mindfulness is a group of clinically created lessons and exercises that introduce children and adults to their emotions, thoughts and impulses so that they can learn to regulate them. Kind of like a ‘user manual’ these lessons are scientifically proven to help improve lives in a multitude of ways. From decreasing bullying and violence to increasing concentration and happiness, mindfulness has the potential to not only positively transform school cultures but also entire communities.

We like to think of ourselves as a charity for everyone. These life-skills have the potential to evolve humanity; all of the major problems we have in society can be addressed by teaching people how to manage their own biology. And we don’t have to call it mindfulness, we can call it ‘lessons in me’ or ‘how to be a human’; it’s just a combination of biology, neuroscience and introspection. And those may be three big words, but we are teaching this stuff to pre-schoolers. It’s for everyone.

At our community center in Scottsdale folks of all ages can come and take part in mindfulness classes – from mindful eating and mindful art to mindfulness fundamentals. It’s our passion to help people take care of themselves so that they can bring their most full and best self to the world, everyday. Mindfulness equates to good mental health and is equally as important as physical exercise.

We hope you will help Mindfulness First reach their fundraising goals for AZ Gives Day – donations can be scheduled ahead of time or on the day at www.azgives.org (search “Mindfulness First”). For a mindful Arizona!

Mindfulness First is a non-profit based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Our mission is to educate and empower children, adults, and professionals in mindfulness based life skills that increase awareness, resilience, kindness, connection and creativity. www.mindfulnessfirst.org

 AZ’s First Mindful School is supported by the Aetna Foundation, a national foundation based in Hartford, Connecticut that supports projects to promote wellness, health and access to high-quality health care for everyone. The views presented here are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Aetna Foundation, its directors, officers, or staff.