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Ki Gong and REACH

By Ramona Wickstrom

REACH stands for Relationships, Education, Accountability, Character, and Hard work. It was created in the Hutchinson, MN high school and now spans school districts in MN and neighboring states. This is the second year in the Chisholm, MN high school, taught by Kim Yuretich.

It is an elective class for students in grades 9-12 with no pre-requisite for the class. The students learn to recognize stressors, cope with those stressors, and manage their daily lives in a variety of ways to reduce those stressors.

REACH is a class that supports social-emotional learning (SEL). The students and adult REACH Team share, journal, do grade checks, set goals, learn mindfulness, do personal growth activities, consider their overall health, volunteer in the community, and whatever else comes up in the class share time as a need for that group of students.

Kim has written and received a grant of financial support through the Essentia Health group. The largest part of this grant is for me through Range Martial Arts to be a part of the class as a ki gong instructor for 30 minutes every other Monday. Kim is presenting these days as Mindful Mondays. I visited the REACH class last year to share ki gong with the students and REACH Team. As a result of that visit, Kim felt the importance of ki gong for her students and wrote the grant with ki gong as the cornerstone.

I plan to focus the REACH sessions on ways the students can reduce their stress levels throughout their day through breathing and moving meditation methods, including arm swinging, silk reeling, and seated meditation.  As the school year progresses, I plan on adding other ki gong sets like shaking and basic ki gong exercises.

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