BARNEGAT, NJ – Without question, addiction at any age represents much more than a local issue. While a great deal of time and money is spent on recovery, one Ocean County non-profit organization believes in a different approach.  With that in mind, the Maximillian Foundation just donated to the Barnegat School district for the second consecutive year in a row.

 Founded in 2014, the Foundation’s mission statement focuses on support programs, “designed to strengthen individuals, build character and confidence, thus allowing Children and Adolescents to better cope with life’s challenges, develop strong life skills, and learn to believe in themselves.”

 Don Myers, Board Director of the Foundation, shared the roots of the non-profit organization. It began after a couple lost their grown son, Maximillian to addiction.

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“Instead of hiding their head in the sand, literally and figuratively, they decided to do something,” said Myers. “They set up a program that would educate and hopefully prevent addiction of all kinds in young people grades K-12.”

According to Myers, he believes the Foundation is the only non-profit organization in the state that focuses on education and prevention. Most money goes to recovery, and other factors subsequently affect families. There is also the fear of relapse.

“Common sense tells us that it’s certainly easier to prevent a problem than correct one,” Myers said. “If you can educate a child, you can possibly save an adult.”

The Maximillian Foundation first became aware of the MIST (Mindfulness-Infusion for Students & Teachers) program two years ago. Alison Greco, a school counselor at the Cecil S. Collins School, approached the Foundation’s Board and shared the goals of the MIST program. Greco also presented the idea to other faculty members and the administration within the Barnegat schools.

Mindfulness is an achieved mental state to reduce anxieties and stay calm which helps kids prepare for learning, build self-awareness and self-esteem. The Foundation’s $1,996 donation provides the funds for the district to purchase the Mind Yeti program for Cecil C, Collins, Joseph T. Donahue, Lillian M. Dunfee, and Robert L. Horbelt Elementary Schools.

Mind Yeti will give the school communities with a library of guided mindfulness sessions. The concept focuses on helping children stay calm and focused. It also allows them to be prepared for “what’s next.”

Barnegat Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Latwis thanked the Maximillian Foundation for their donation. “This is the second year in a row that the Foundation has helped us run some of the programs here. They are very impactful.”

Stephanie A. Faughnan is a local journalist and Director of Writefully Inspired, a professional writing and resume service. Feel free to contact her at