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 Sarah Balthrop, center, from Meditation Works, conducts a meditation session with West Bloomfield High School staff Feb. 12 at the school.

Sarah Balthrop, center, from Meditation Works, conducts a meditation session with West Bloomfield High School staff Feb. 12 at the school.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Mobile Meditation workshops to give peace of mind at high school

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published February 21, 2019

WEST BLOOMFIELD — With stressors on the rise in the lives of today’s youths, what better way to combat them in school than with a little mindfulness?

That is the goal of a partnership between LaFontaine Automotive Group, the Greater West Bloomfield Community Coalition and a mobile meditation clinic called Meditation Works.

The trio partnered up to foster positive mental health in local youths through a mobile meditation clinic coming to West Bloomfield High School for a number of weeks.

Lisa G. Berkey, the executive director of the coalition, said she spoke to Kelley LaFontaine,  the vice president of LaFontaine Automotive Group, about looking to fund a meditation program at the high school to provide another healthy coping mechanism. LaFontaine became interested and decided to sponsor it, Berkey said.

The Mobile Meditation program began Feb. 4 and will continue for 12 weeks, teaching meditation in two ninth-grade health classes, with about 35 students per class and one group of staff. The first week took 15-18 minutes, and afterward, it will take 10 minutes to do.

Josh Leider, the chief marketing officer for Meditation Works, said the company was founded in Huntington Woods in 2016 and travels to businesses, schools, corporations and organizations. It was started by Leider’s aunt and his cousin because they wanted to bring meditation to people “right at your doorstep” he said.

Since then, the company has worked with over 100 businesses in the metro Detroit area and has engaged 3,000-4,000 people in meditation, Leider said.

“Schools are some of the most gratifying programs for us these days,” he said, because students today are under more stress and are shouldering “way more expectations” than he ever had to handle in school.

“We’re so excited to give them a tool to deal with that stress,” he said.

Berkey, who has meditated with the mobile clinic at West Bloomfield High School, said that meditation is proven to help production and output.

“I found it very helpful,” she said, adding that people can’t always find 10 minutes to sit down and just relax. “It is very, very difficult.”

She said meditation is about putting tools in your toolbox.

“Use the ones (that) work best for you — we all have a toolbox; we just have to pick which one works for us,” she said.

“Making a positive impact in our local communities, especially with initiatives that better the lives of kids, is a longstanding cornerstone of LaFontaine Automotive,” LaFontaine said in a statement.