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Ohio State University Extension


Congressman Tim Ryan Discusses Mindfulness with Students

Sep. 16, 2016

Congressman Tim Ryan Discusses Mindfulness with Rayen Students

U.S. Rep. Tim RyanU.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, northeast Ohio’s 13th district, visited Rayen Early College Middle School, Youngstown, on September 12 to meet with students regarding mindfulness. He discussed his book, “A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance and Recapture the American Spirit.”

Over the hour-long session, Ryan talked about stress and the different ways to alleviate it. He also directed the students through breathing techniques and thought processes they can use when they feel anxiety and stress. Students discussed their concerns including school and interactions with friends and classmates. Ryan shared with the students he was burned out and wasn't sure he wanted to continue to be a congressman. “I wrote this book for you because I wish someone had taught me how to do this when I was sitting in your seat. I believe all my relationships would have been better, that all my professional life if I knew then what I know now."

As part of the curriculum, the students will travel to Washington, D.C. in April to meet again with Ryan and discuss what they have learned over the year. Students will also go to the chapel in the Capitol with Ryan where members of Congress practice mindfulness.

The event was sponsored by Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences, and was coordinated by Beth Stefura (Mahoning County), and partially funded through the Ignite Grant, located in Ohio.

The 5 year Ignite Grant, a multi-state project with Kansas Stare, South Dakota University and The Ohio State University is focused to promote wellness and healthy living for students in grades 6-8. This is a community participatory grant, where the community is involved in the strategies to promise health and wellness. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) fund this $2.5 million research grant. Susan Zies (Wood County) is program director of the Ignite Grant.

Rayen Early College Middle School Principal, Deborah DeFrancesco said each student received a copy of the book, "A Mindful Nation." Throughout the school year, students will study the book as part of the English Language curriculum as part of the Ignite Project to promote health and wellness. DeFrancesco wants her school to be a safe place for students to come learn, practice mindfulness and become the best adults possible.

For more information contact Stefura at