Mente Group COO Richard Emery talks about his experience as a new member of the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, a civic organization made up of local business leaders which owns and operates the Momentous Institute.
Momentous Institute reaches 6,000 children and family members through education and mental health services each year. “The vision of Momentous Institute is to ensure social and emotional health for all children so they can reach their full potential,” Richard explains.
The nonprofit’s primary event fundraiser is the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament the Salesmanship Club holds annually (Byron Nelson was an honorary member of the club). Richard says, “Last year we netted $5.7 million for Momentous Institute. Every dollar raised goes to Momentous Institute. Since the tournament first played in Irving in 1983, the Salesmanship Club has raised over $150m for our education, therapy, research and training, which is more money than any other charity golf tournament on the PGA TOUR.”
An important lesson at Momentous Institute teaches children how to “settle their glitter.” Richard expands, “The children learn about the different regions of the brain – which regions control emotions and how you deal with those regions. When they get stressed, they shake a glitter ball, and that represents the chemical brain being shaken. To settle the glitter, the kids have learned breathing and meditation techniques so when they get into a high-anxiety situation, they literally know to stop, close their eyes and take deep breaths to get their thoughts and feelings back under control.”
Momentous Institute teaches each child differently depending on their situation, believing this will help them maximize their potential. “At first sight,” Richard says, “you can’t tell the difference between children who had their parents read to them the previous evening and children whose parents didn’t come home all night, but they’re going to react to things very differently.”
What the nonprofit is doing is clearly working. Richard points out, “98% of the kids who attend the Momentous Institute school graduate from high school. 82% enroll in higher education and 81% spend more than one year pursuing a degree.” Momentous Institute has also trained over 10,000 educators and administrators from 29 states and has helped transform more than 100,000 lives.
He admits being involved with the nonprofit far exceeded his expectations, but acknowledges there’s still a long way to go. “Michelle Kinder, Momentous Institute’s executive director, stood up at an event recently and said, ‘This is all great, but I want to emphasise something. If we had 20 kids standing in front of us today, seven of them would have a mental health issue of some sort, and five of them would not be getting any help.’ That’s very sobering.”
Not only does Richard have two glitterballs on his desk at work, but what he’s learned at Momentous comes to the office with him too: “What being involved with Momentous Institute has taught me is that you can’t tell just by looking at someone what is going on with them – you have to be prepared to deal with each individual by understanding what is happening to them.”
To find out more about the Momentous Institute, click here.