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Friday, September 12 • 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Changing Minds at Concord High School

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This is a real story of change, remarkable change in a group of young people.
Concord High, in Staten Island, NY, is what is called a ‘transfer school’—a last hope, 
last chance to graduate high school for teens. Most of its students have histories of 
academic failure and trauma. The film Changing Minds at Concord High School follows 
these students over the course of one semester as they take part in a mindfulness-training program. 

The amazing twist here is that the students both helped to film the experience and 
conduct a scientific study – of their classmates! – comparing the effects of mindfulness 
training with that of a placebo group. The study also included a science curriculum on 
the neuroscience of mindfulness – how it can change our brains for the better. Tracy 
Dennis, Ph.D., professor in the psychology Department of Hunter College was the lead 
scientist on this project, so the students were her “research assistants.” 
Inspired by the concept of ‘neuroplasticity,’ – that you can change the brain’s neural 
pathways and synapses through repeated new experiences – the young researchers 
posed the question: Would mindfulness practice for just three minutes a day help them 
and their peers?

At the start, the students, many of whom had experienced tremendous obstacles in life, 
didn’t believe that change for them was really possible. 
But slowly, the program gained momentum. Students who had habitually cut school 
started showing up. Typically rowdy kids urged their friends to sit down and be quiet so 
the class could begin mindfulness practice. Teachers were wasting less time exhorting 
students to calm down and get to work.  Said one reformed skeptic: “Even though you can’t control most of what happens in life, you can change your mind.”"If this can help me, it can help anyone," a student struggling with ADHD confided.Many of the students, when we first met them, were failing high school. Our film ends on the day of their graduation. 
“I’m not a quitter,” a young graduate announced to us (and himself).


Website: www.changingmindsprogram.com
Run Time: 30 Minutes

Friday September 12, 2014 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Heal One World 3503 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90019