William and Catherine Krame Co-founders, Krame Center for Contemplative Studies and Mindful Living, Ramapo College of New Jersey
Mindfulness, a purposeful way of focusing attention in the present moment, had been part of the Krame family lifestyle long before the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., but the tragedy did help to crystallize the way in which William and Catherine Krame could use the approach to better serve the community.
“When the Sandy Hook massacre occurred, there was a huge shift for me,” Catherine says. “The shooting was on a Friday, and my daughter, who was writing something for school about bringing mindfulness into education, bounced ideas off me that [following] weekend.”
While debates raged in the U.S. over changes that needed to be made to prevent similar tragedies, it occurred to Catherine that incorporating mindfulness into education could help solve the problem of violence in schools.
“Teach children emotional resilience and how to cope, so that they don’t turn to violence – this is the change that has to come,” she says. “We have to bring more mindfulness to children.”
With that goal in mind, the Krames sought a location for a spiritual wellness center and soon discovered that Ramapo College – located near the couple’s home in Mahwah – was a willing collaborator. The Krame Center for Contemplative Studies and Mindful Living at Ramapo College was opened in 2014 to serve students, faculty and the community at large.
“For the past 15 years I’ve incorporated principles of mindfulness into my everyday life and my business,” says William, a real estate developer by vocation. “I’ve seen the benefits myself and wanted others to see the benefits of a mindful approach to living life.”
The stated mission of the Krame Center is to “support faculty, staff and students while serving the greater community as a distinctive center for learning and research in contemplative and mindfulness practices.” Toward that end, classes and programs – including a speaker series, weekly meditation sessions and an eight-session Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course – have been made available to the Ramapo community and the public.
The objective during the Krame Center’s first two years, William says, has been to “build a strong foundation to ensure the highest quality of programs.” The long-term goal, Catherine adds, is to introduce contemplative studies as part of the curriculum and, ultimately, a degree program.
“We are hoping to create a model that will be used across the country in other educational institutions,” she says.
– Joseph Ritacco, (201) Magazine.