This last weekend we were very excited to host another Mindful Littles community service event. This time we partnered with a wonderful organization called Center of Hope- Haiti (COHH). COHH has built an orphanage and school in the small town of Hinche in Haiti and has an incredible mission: “To foster livelihood and hope for the future of orphaned children of Haiti by providing shelter, education, nutrition, emotional security, healthcare and life skills to the children and their caregivers.”
The children who attend the COHH school have an ongoing need for hygiene supplies, so during our event we put together hygiene kits and created personalized cards for the schoolchildren. We also taught the littles (and their bigs) at our event about the country of Haiti, about the children in Hinche, and about some mindfulness and compassion practices.
Here are just a few key aspects of our program from Sunday:
- Learning about Haiti: One of our core objectives was to make sure that our participants left the event learning something new about Haiti. We played Haitian music and had children create Haitian flags. We educated our families about the Haitian culture including aspects of the language, food, day-to-day living and more. Music and dance is also a big part of the Haitian culture, so we incorporated that into a game for the families.
- Practicing Mindfulness & Compassion: An integral part of all our events is spending some time practicing mindfulness and compassion exercises. We wanted our participants to feel the collective power of being centered and calm as a group. We focused on the feelings of compassion by first sharing kind thoughts for one other, and then for the children in Haiti. The littles at our event wished the Haiti children things like “clean water,” “food” and “friendship.” To see young kids come up with such profound wishes for other kids never ceases to amaze me, and consistently is one of the best parts of our events.
- Creating Personalized Cards in Haitian Creole: We wanted to turn our kind wishes into something concrete, so each family wrote out personalized cards. The kids in Hinche can’t speak English, so we translated several wishes into Haitian Creole. We also took photos of every participating family with a polaroid camera to attach to their card so that the kids in Haiti could “meet” the families in America that were sending them these gifts.
- Assembling & Decorating Hygiene Kits: We then had the families assemble and decorate the hygiene kits filled with toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mirrors, brushes and more. The kits needed to be small as it is difficult to ship hygiene kits to Hinche. Julie Atkinson from COHH will be putting all the kits in one large suitcase on her next trip to Haiti. We inserted our personalized Haitian Creole cards into each kit, and in total put together 42 hygiene kit gifts for the Haiti children.
The response from the participants at our event has been overwhelmingly positive. Several parents said that they found our event to be educational, engaging and inspiring for both the littles and the bigs. We are hosting a second “Helping Haiti Kids” event on January 8 so that we can fulfill our goal of reaching all 84 kids at the COHH school with personalized hygiene kit gifts.
If you are interested in participating in our next “Helping Haiti Kids” event, you can register here:
If you are interested in partnering with us for Mindful Little events or learning more about our community service work, feel free to contact us. And a special thank you to Lamorinda Toothbuds for their generous donation of dental supplies for our hygiene kits!