John Orr received his bachelor's degree and his master's degree from Xavier University. John is currently licensed by the State of Ohio as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC).
Outside of his work with Mindful Youth, John has served at-risk populations at St. Joseph Orphanage–Altercrest, where he focused upon enhancing programming and clinical care by incorporating mindfulness – the results being inspiring and amazing.
In addition, he has received training from expert sources to develop practical and effective strategies for teaching mindfulness to children, adolescents and the adults in their lives. John has conducted programs at Hamilton County Juvenile Court Youth
Center, YouthBuild in Northern Kentucky, the Hamilton County ESC Learning Center at North
Norwood, and Happen Inc.
I have been practicing mindfulness meditation since 2003. After seeing the benefits of the practice in my own life, I began to share what I knew with others, and wanted to continue to do so with anyone who was interested.
While I explored the path of mindfulness, my best friend of 23 years continued down a more destructive path that ended in his death at the young age 26. Profoundly impacted by the loss of my closest friend, I felt I could no longer ignore the problems of this world.
In 2007, I began working in a professional capacity to have a positive impact on the group that was most at need – at-risk youth.
I remain driven by a sense that, with the right set of tools, I might assist youth in choosing a path that is different from the one my friend experienced.
I believe young people are capable of great things. But when considering the world that our youth currently face, I am quite concerned. Many of them have to navigate very difficult times, with countless negative influences, and often without the personal skills to assist them in effectively managing adverse situations. I have witnessed, both personally and as a professional counselor working with at-risk youth, the quick loss of amazing, smart, and talented people. Because the situation is so dire, I feel it is my obligation to respond.
Mindfulness meditation has served me well in my personal life; I attribute much of my positive growth to it. Without the foundation of my mindfulness practice, I fear I would still be one of the lost ones.
Successful, youth-oriented mindfulness programs are springing up around the country, and I am inspired to create such a program here in Cincinnati. Our youth, especially our at-risk youth, could benefit from a skill that allows them to better understand themselves, to better manage stress, to improve decision-making, and to build empathy, a skill that they can practice privately or publicly, a skill that requires no props, and no gimmicks. I believe they are ready and in need of mindfulness – the skill that can provide all of the above and more.
I have put considerable effort into developing and testing the best methods for teaching mindfulness to young people. Our programs are delivered in a format that is not connected with religious or spiritual traditions, making them broadly inclusive. I have utilized honest feedback from youth participants, clinical insights gained from discussions with colleagues, and received training from expert sources. Integrating such resources, Mindful Youth has crafted a mindfulness education program that is particularly effective for youth.
The participants in our groups have been both enthusiastic and engaged. Our preliminary clinical research indicates self-reported improvements in key areas. I am so encouraged by these results, as well as the increasing interest from diverse sectors, that Mindful Youth is now reaching out to you, the broader public.
John Orr MA LPCC
Mindful Youth Inc is a registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit organization based in Cincinnati, Ohio. We are driven by compassion, respect, and commitment to the youth of this world.