Chicago cops, teens learn meditation, yoga to deal with stress

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some teenagers took part in a very special meditation and yoga session alongside Chicago police officers Wednesday morning on Chicago's West Side.

"Last year was a very tough year for everyone and with this teaching our children, and even us as officers, teaching us how to get the big sigh out through meditation is, is just great," said Officer Belinda Galdo.

This select group has been part of the Chicago Housing Authority and CPD Neighborhood Youth Corps summer program. The six-week program aims to engage youth through education, field trips, community projects and workshops.

"I never been in a program like this, that would teach me stuff like drills, and just listening skills-it's a very big opportunity for me and I really appreciate it," said Miracle Dobine.

On Wednesday, the program partnered with the We Just Breathe Foundation to teach the teens how mindfulness can help them better deal with stressful situations.

"I feel like yoga allows us to release a lot of the things that's going on in our lives, able to actually forget, to become one with ourselves," said Khalil Everage, an ambassador for We Just Breathe Foundation.

"I feel like the breathing will help me in like a really bad situation," Dobine added. "Just to slow down."

The NYC program has been around for more than a decade. Beyond teaching teenagers life skills, participants say it has also helped to foster better community relationships between youth and law enforcement.

Dobine, 16, said getting to know the officers in this program has helped her to bridge a gap and form a bond that is much needed these days between police and the community.

"It has changed my perception of like police and how they just deal with things," Dobine said. "I feel like they just want to try to protect themselves and protect the city."

"We're trying to build these bonds with the community so that we can all work together for a better Chicago," Galdo added.
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