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Attendees enjoy activities as part of Brain Balance San Diego's 5th anniversary celebration on May 5 at Coastal Roots Farm in Encinitas. Courtesy photo/Brain Balance
Attendees enjoy activities as part of Brain Balance San Diego's 5th anniversary celebration on May 5 at Coastal Roots Farm in Encinitas. Courtesy photo/Brain Balance
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Brain Balance program to improve kids’ focus celebrates milestone

ENCINITAS — A program offering a drug-free approach to helping children with learning disorders celebrated its 5th anniversary this past weekend.

Brain Balance of San Diego uses holistic methods to improve things like focus, behavior and anxiety in kids with conditions including ADHD, autism and dyslexia.

The milestone was marked during a special event on May 5 at Coastal Roots Farm in Encinitas.  Students and their families gathered at the Jewish non-profit, which boasts a natural outdoor playground and a pay-what-you-can farm stand.

Jon Pak, executive director of Brain Balance, created the program from his personal experiences raising a son with developmental disabilities.

“We started pre-COVID-19, survived COVID and here we are,” Pak said. “We’re just celebrating the community being so supportive over the past five years.”

Jon Pak, executive director of Brain Balance, and his wife Kyung Pak at the program's 5th anniversary event on May 5 at Coastal Roots Farm in Encinitas. Courtesy photo/Brain Balance
Jon Pak, executive director of Brain Balance, and his wife Kyung Pak attended the program’s 5th anniversary event on May 5 at Coastal Roots Farm in Encinitas. Courtesy photo/Brain Balance

Brain Balance has around 90 centers nationwide, including Encinitas, and works with children with or without a diagnosis between pre-K and 12th grade. The program, which combines one-on-one tuition with at-home learning, utilizes sensory engagement, balance and core exercises, academic skills and nutrition.

15-year-old Marlee Telfor joined the program a year ago due to struggles with depression, school and friendships.

“I’m just happier and I’m more motivated to do things since Brain Balance,” Telfor said.

Telfor’s mother, Lisa, described the difference it has made in her daughter.

“It’s been life transforming. We‘re so grateful for the impact this program has had on our daughter. We feel like we have her back and there’s a lot more joy in our home,” Lisa said.

Brain Balance volunteers and staff gather on stage at Coastal Roots Farm in Encinitas. Courtesy photo/Brain Balance
Brain Balance volunteers and staff gather on stage at Coastal Roots Farm in Encinitas. Courtesy photo/Brain Balance

Another family for whom Brain Balance has been a blessing is 15-year-old Mohammed Alayam and his mother, Laila.

“(Mohammed) was very, very repetitive, very aggressive and non-accepting,” Laila said. Now, Mohammed has more balance and structure. He wants to go to the gym, eat healthier and has fewer absences from school.”

Mohammed agrees that the program has helped.

“Before Brain Balance, I had low serotonin; I was stressed more easily and less focused on the gym and other stuff concerning my health,” he said. “Now everythings cool and I’m going to the gym and I’m going to school more”.

Brain Balance has helped more than 50,000 children, according to the company. 

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