Yesterday Mindful Littles had a wonderful opportunity to lead a mindful service project at one of our local elementary schools. We partnered with Julie Atkinson of Center of Hope Haiti (COHH) to teach some littles about the world abroad. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, COHH built a school for now almost 100 impoverished children including some orphans. The school in Hinche, Haiti is a sanctuary for many of these kids and provides these children with access to education and opportunities they would not have otherwise had.
During our event, we spoke to 81 4th graders over their lunch period about life in Haiti- much like we did during our previous Haiti initiatives. We talked about the culture, language and lifestyle in Haiti and in particular this village of Hinche where the COHH school is. The kids were extremely engaged during the talk eagerly answering questions and participating. I ended the talk with a short loving-kindness practice, where all the kids wished happiness, health and peace first to themselves, then to a loved one and then to a child in Haiti.
After the talk the children had an option to write a kind letter to the kids in Haiti. We made the letter writing optional over recess. If kids wanted to go play and not do our activity, then that was completely fine. The majority of children chose to write a letter. The letters that these kids came up with are awe-inspiring to say the least- written with so much heart and love.
Each letter started with “Dear Friend”. The kids shared fun facts about themselves- favorite hobbies, favorite colors and more. And then came the kind wishes- my favorite part of all our events. Some cards repeated the loving-kindness wish we had recited over lunch. Others wished the friends in Haiti love, hope and opportunity in their own words, writing paragraphs, drawing beautiful rainbows, hearts and peace signs. Many students spent the entire recess on this activity. Some of us bigs were moved to tears just watching the whole experience unfold.
There were so many fascinating reflections from this event. Here are just a few:
1. Kids have a HUGE (I mean ENORMOUS) capacity to care and give back.
Even after doing so many of these events now, I’m always still blown away by the profound capacity children have to care and give back. As parents and educators, we just have to tap into it in the right ways. That is what Mindful Littles is all about- tapping into that inner light that shines so bright in children and helping it stay bright so that these kids could go share their love with others.
2. We are connecting hearts from a suburb in Northern California to a small village in Haiti. That is so powerful.
In Hinche, Haiti there is no way to receive mail. Julie Atkinson’s family who built the school will be taking the 4th graders’ letters down to Hinche on their next visit there- as they did with our hygiene kits. They are then going to be bringing back return letters from the kids in Haiti so that we can provide a reciprocal letter to the 4th graders. We are connecting kids in two different countries, who live in two completely different worlds. It’s such a simple activity but the power and beauty in that is immense.
Mindful Littles is grateful to the principal and parent club members who welcomed us with open arms yesterday. We are excited to be partnering with several local institutions to bring our projects into churches, temples and schools over the coming months. As the old African proverb goes, it takes a village to raise a child. We are so glad we can band together with the whole village to help create more open hearts and more mindful littles.
A special note: As I write this post, Hurricane Irma is pummeling through the Caribbean. Our love, light and prayers are with all those that live in the area, and we hope our friends in Hinche, Haiti are hanging in there.