By Eric Michael B.
Every May, members of the iBme community commit to meditating each day and seek out donors to sponsor their month-long commitment — like a meditation marathon. All funds raised are used for scholarships to help teens attend iBme’s evidence-based, powerful, and transformative mindfulness retreats. Last year, 135 sitters and over 400 donors raised a remarkable $80,000. This year, we’re aiming even higher: $100,000 in scholarship funding.
In 2017, 75% of the 454 young people who attended iBme’s mindfulness retreats across the US, Canada, and the UK were able to attend on full or partial scholarships that totaled $387,010. Our commitment that no teen be turned away due to lack of funds is made possible through the generosity of those who believe in our mission and in the power of young people to create a more compassionate, connected global future. Our annual Commit to Sit program helps us maintain this promise. A significant portion iBme scholarship funds rely on gifts, large and small, from hundreds of Commit to Sit community members; including parents, teens, volunteers, friends, and family.
Why Commit to Sit?
For Tori Cahill, an experienced Commit to Sit and iBme teen retreat participant, Commit to Sit “raises money for the iBme scholarship program, but also benefits everyone involved. By committing, you are seizing an opportunity to deepen your own practice while also raising funds for a cause that will undoubtedly make a difference in the life of a teen.”
For anyone seeking a supportive community to help establish regular mindfulness practice, Commit to Sit helps you begin as well as “refresh or even recommit to your meditation practice.” notes Tori, by establishing “the sense of community that comes with sharing your practice with others, while also passing on the gift of retreat on to a teen who might not have otherwise been able to attend.”
Describing her experience as a member of team “Teenage Metta Ninja Turtles,” Tori says: “My daily practice typically would consist of 10 minutes of sitting meditation in the morning. On the days I couldn’t manage a proper sit, I would at least attempt 10 to 20 minutes of outdoor walking practice. It was especially comforting knowing that I had the option of attending an online group sit with my team one evening a week if all else failed.” Reflecting on the ways Commit to Sit supports her own mindfulness practice, Tori says, “By the end of the month I had returned to an almost daily practice with the added benefit of contributing to a cause that is close to my heart.” She notes that even beyond the individual opportunity to begin or strengthen personal practice, you are also “giving teens the gift of emotional intelligence and I believe that is in the best interest of society as a whole.”
As a recipient iBme scholarship support, Tori reflects on her participation in Commit to Sit: “I’ve sat alongside my teachers and friends for the last two years knowing that the people participating before me are what made all three of my retreats a possibility.”
Ways to Support Commit to Sit
There are many ways to support Commit to Sit and make a difference in your own mindfulness practice, in the lives of teens, and in our wider communities. You can donate directly to iBme, register and raise funds as an individual sitter, or join a team of sitters!
This year, to help us reach our ambitious $100,000 goal, a generous donor stepped forward with an inspiring challenge grant. All gifts of $2,000 (the cost of a full scholarship) will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $20,000. Every contribution plays an important part in achieving this goal; and whether or not it is possible to contribute financially, Commit to Sit welcomes you. For Tori, this program is “the very reason I have been able to attend the three teen retreats that I credit to changing the direction of my life. I would not be the person I am today if I had not been exposed to mindfulness as teen. Mindfulness meditation has been an absolute gift in my life and it brings me so much joy knowing that I can pass that on to other teens by fundraising even one cent.”
We invite you to join the 2018 Commit to Sit community and contribute as generously as possible; whatever that means for you. As Tori says: “Every teen deserves a chance to build those same special bonds and memories that come from practicing together.” We couldn’t agree more. Together, we can reach our $100,000 goal and share techniques for cultivating awareness, authenticity, and connection with as many young people as possible. We can’t wait to sit with you!
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