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What is CAP?

CAP stands for Community Attachment Purpose. We have built upon the work of Gordon Neufeld epitomized in his quote,

“We need to win their hearts to open their minds”

CAP is a part of Mental Health Capacity Building supported by Alberta Health Services, which aims to build capacity and resiliency in the students of Black Gold Regional School District. CAP is focused on Targeted and Universal Programming for students in Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 with the ultimate goal of keeping students engaged in school. CAP works alongside school staff, community partners, students and parents in a vision to have students in truly meaningful relationships, to in turn positively impact student engagement, school practice and high school completion. CAP supports the unique context of each school community in order to create a hub of support where all partners work together for students and families built on trust. A consistent focus is sustainability of practice and the building of a legacy that will remain and a future where all students have a sense of Community, Attachment and Purpose. CAP consists of a provincial coordinator and nine Family School Liaison Workers.

Why Mindfulness?

We are constantly thinking about the past and the mistakes that we made which leads to thinking about the future and avoiding making mistakes.  This is the human condition.  Constantly looking for ways to maximize the positive and minimize anything that we perceive as negative or threatening.  We spend a great deal of our time judging ourselves, let alone others.  Add to this the 'business' of our lives and the high level of connectivity to each other and the world through the internet and you create a toxic mix the results of which is, in the least, anxiety.

The result of anxiety - reduces your productivity, gets you caught in old patterns and restricted choices,  and creates a reality that is not optimal.  These results likely increase your anxiety.  The impact is the same for adults and children/youth. 

Mindfulness can help.  What is it you ask?  According to Jon Kabat-Zinn Mindfulness is "paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment in a non-judgmental fashion."  I know what you're thinking.  What?  In my experience developing an understanding of Mindfulness is clearer with experience.  I am often asked, "Paying attention to what?".  In the end it doesn't matter, but the work I do with children and youth focuses on the body and the breath.  Many of our children have difficulty connecting their emotions to their bodies.  Having them feel what breath entering the body and calming the body is an important first step.

Quieting the breath, calming the mind helps us create that calm state and actually strengthens our neuro-pathways.  We learn how to calm ourselves.  A great deal of Mindfulness research has been done demonstrating improved brain ability to process information, strengthening of the immune system, lifting negative mood, decreasing stress, and reducing brain related problems in old age.  Mindfulness is now used in a variety of settings including business, hospitals, prisons, courtrooms, schools, and colleges/universities.

So we can all benefit from the practice of Mindfulness.  When you start to pay attention to how your mind moves all over the place you begin to recognize how distracted we actually are.  Ideas, opinions, judging ourselves and others about the past, planning/worrying about the future.  Really the only thing that we really have is the present moment where we can learn anything, express any kind of love, the only time that we can experience our senses, or communicate is now.  Mindfulness practice is a way to reclaim your body and your life.  Mindfulness is not a technique, but a way of being.  Mindfulness can support us is dealing with our thoughts.  Mindfulness helps us create a calm state and as a result improving our creativity, our ability to try new things, and ultimately improving our quality of life.

The next time your find yourself mindlessly surfing through the internet, be intentional around seeking for Mindfulness tools that will start you on a new path towards improved quality of life.  Mindfulness is waiting.


MindUP™ teaches social and emotional learning skills that link cognitive neuroscience, positive psychology and mindful awareness training utilizing a brain centric approach.

MindUP™ is a research-based training program for educators and children. This program is composed of 15 lessons based in neuroscience. There are three books broken down into grades Pre-K-2, 3-5 and 6-8. Students learn to self-regulate behavior and mindfully engage in focused concentration required for academic success. MindUP™ lessons align with all provincial standards and support improved academic performance while enhancing perspective taking, empathy and kindness as well as fostering complex problem solving skills.