Updated: Oct 15, 2020
When I was around 10 years old I learned about World Hunger in school. Even as a young girl, the thought of other children my age dying of hunger impacted me deeply. I remember crying tears of sadness knowing that there were children in the world suffering. It was then that I decided to start an End World Hunger campaign. I decorated large coffee cans with construction paper, cut a slot in the lids and started a mission throughout my school to collect pennies in order to save the starving children of the world. I certainly didn't end world hunger but I did feel a sense of empowerment in taking action to try to bring about some change and help those children I felt so connected to and so called to help.
This is Yoga in Action. Recognizing our interconnectedness to others and doing what we can to support and care for others in need.
"It's not so much the feelings of sadness or empathy that are most impactful, it's the act of DOING something to help others that can help mobilize those strong emotions."
This is an important lesson to teach our children and youth. When we feel worry about the suffering of others, taking some kind of ACTION to help can not only ease some of that worry but also empower our youth in knowing that they CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD.
3 WAYS TO EMPOWER YOUTH DURING THESE UNCERTAIN TIMES
1. Make drawings or paintings or write letters/cards to send to the local elderly homes.
With the impact of the COVID-19, many of the elderly in living homes who are some of the most susceptible during this time are being even more socially isolated from family and visitors. Look into local elderly homes in your area and have children draw uplifting pictures and write supportive cards or letters. This small act of kindness could bring joy in times of loneliness and uncertainty.
2. Help sort canned and packaged food to deliver to a local food bank.
Many of the local food banks are struggling right now to get food out to those who need it. Have your child participate in looking through your food in the home that you can share with others in need. You can turn the activity into a learning experience by having the child sort the food into categories by fruits, vegetables, grains, etc. or by alphabet letters. They can decorate paper bags that the food will be delivered in with messages of love and support and help pack the bags to be delivered.
3. Do Extra Chores around the House to Earn Money to Donate to the Local Children's Hospital or a Local Charity.
Your local Children's Hospital and Local Charities rely heavily on the contributions of others as well as organized fundraising events that bring substantial donations in. They are being greatly impacted by the cancelation of events and reduced donations. Every little bit counts.
Let's teach our children how to turn their compassion and empathy into action. Empowering them to be the change in the world!
Shawnee Thornton Hardy is a C-IAYT, Certified Yoga Therapist, M.Ed. Intermediate Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, the founder of Asanas for Autism and Special Needs and the Founder/Director of Yoga Therapy for Youth. She is the Author of Asanas for Autism and Special Needs - Yoga to Help children with Their Emotions, Self-Regulation and Body Awareness and the creator of the C.A.L.M.M Yoga Toolkit. She leads training throughout the US and internationally in Yoga for The Diverse Child, C.A.L.M.M Classroom (Yoga in Schools) and a 100-hour Yoga Therapy for Youth with Complex Needs training. Shawnee is in the process of writing another published book Yoga Therapy for Children and Teens with Complex Needs - Embodying a Whole Child Approach for Mental, Emotional and Physical Wellbeing.