Meditation Pillows for 8th graders & foster youth

Dear Prospective Donor,

My name is Demetrius Napolitano, and I am the founder of Fostering Meditation (F.M.), a Wellness nonprofit based in Harlem, NY. We teach underserved youth and those in foster care how to use meditation and yoga to jumpstart their healing. I started F.M. after spending 22 years in NYC's foster care system, where I was in 30 different foster homes, adopted twice, abused, on various medications, and in a juvenile and mental institution. I could have easily ended up dead or in jail; instead, through multiple mentors and my unrelenting desire not to become another statistic, I graduated from NYU in 2019 and continued to chart a different path for myself.

When my adoptive father introduced me to meditation in 2019, I gravitated towards the practice to learn how to begin to heal and better regulate myself from ADHD, anxiety, and what felt like crippling PTSD. After visiting various meditation centers throughout NYC, I started my first GoFund Me, raised approximately $17,000, and then traveled to India for nine months to learn how to use meditation and yoga to further my healing. Once I returned to America in June 2020, with the pandemic at its peak, I founded F.M. to teach others how to use the contemplative practices to help regulate their emotions, manage their breathing, and foster greater self-love.

I then began teaching at my alma mater, PS 108 in East Harlem, teaching grades K-8th the practices at a time when the children were (and most are still) struggling with maintaining their attention, regulating their emotions, and centering themselves. After two years of teaching online and in-person, I noticed the children continued to find it challenging to practice stillness, given there was no space entirely conducive to their wellness. So, the teachers, students, and I spent four months transforming a former locker room (my detention room when I was at 108) into F.M.'s first Wellness Room.

Since its finalization in May 2022, over 300 students come to our Wellness Room weekly to practice meditation, yoga, and writing to release built-up emotions in a safe, welcoming, and calming space. Our Meditation Room has been so successful the kids are no longer sent to detention but to our wellness space to recenter themselves before returning to class. Further, starting in September 2023, we'll begin transforming the second locker room within the school to serve a small population of "special needs" children so those kids have a Meditation Room they can go to when crisis strikes.

As you can see, Fostering Meditation is revolutionary in our approach to combat the rising anxiety, stress, and depression in our youth. Our next mission is to supply over 75 8th graders at P.S. 108 with meditation pillows for their graduation on June 22nd. These 108 students have been following the F.M. journey and practicing with me since 6th grade, so I know they will be not only profoundly grateful for your support but, as they transition to high school, will continue to develop their practice of meditation.

In a time such as this, where war, anxiety, violence, depression, and stress are at an all-time high, how much more essential is it for us to combat the chaos by fostering greater peace within? J. Krishnamurti, an Indian philosopher, once said: "The chaos without is only a reflection of the chaos within. So, if we want to address the world's turmoil, we must first address our internal chaos." Freddrick Douglass also noted how "it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."

Please join Fostering Meditation in our mission of bringing greater peace to the world by helping our youth cultivate greater tranquility within. With your support, we will supply the 8th graders at P.S. 108 and the foster youth we serve throughout NYC with a meditation cushion so the students can continue fostering meditation at home. I can't promise they will use the ZaZen pillows, but I can say that the young person will remember their practice and their breath every time they see it, thereby increasing the chances they will continue meditating. If you can't donate, please share this page with another so we can help spread the word about our revolutionary work!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping F.M. nurture more peace in the world by helping our youth first cultivate harmony within.

In Service,
Demetrius T. Napolitano
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Demetrius Napolitano
New York, NY

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