Children of the Night: giving girls a safe haven – within

One year ago, I arrived in Los Angeles on a bright, sunny February day with a directive from the great film director David Lynch: Teach the Transcendental Meditation/Quiet Time Program at Children of the Night—a school/shelter dedicated to assisting homeless children and teens who have been involved in prostitution.

As a recent university graduate from the cold and pretty much “out-in-middle-of-nowhere” Iowa and a newly trained teacher of the TM technique, I will admit that I was a bit nervous. I had absolutely no clue what to expect when I arrived.

In fact, prior to learning about Children of the Night, I will admit I had no real clue that the problem of child prostitution even existed on such a large scale in the United States. I think most of us don’t, and if we do, we don’t want to believe that such horrific things could happen right here in our own backyard.

When I arrived at Children of the Night, I found myself in a large room surrounded a widely diverse group of beautiful girls ranging in age from 13-17. From the start, they were quite open to the idea of meditation.

Annie was one of the first I taught to meditate. She was a tough girl, she had to be in order to survive and make it out of life on the streets alive. In the beginning she wanted to keep up her tough exterior and didn’t want to tell me that she liked meditating, but now she says, “The first time I did it, it was the most calming experience I had ever had in my whole life… TM is something that helps you with your mind, your body and your soul.”

Mary described her experience during the TM technique: “The deep silence that I have when I do TM is something I look forward to just about every day, because I don’t get that throughout the day. When I am in meditation, I just have a deep silence that I can’t replace.”

Dr. Lois Lee, the founder and president of Children of the Night said, “Transcendental Meditation has given our children a tool that they didn’t have before. Because of the abuse that they have incurred, they always react, they are never in control. Even if it’s goodness, they may push it away.  Transcendental Meditation provides a pause that allows them to stop, listen, think and then act—it gives them the opportunity to take control of their lives.”

Over the past year, I have spent almost every day with these girls, teaching them to meditate, playing softball, helping drive on their outings, listening to their stories, being a friend. I have seen first hand the strength and resilience of the human spirit as each girl blossoms to be more powerfully centered in her self and in control of her life and destiny.