When we first met as a new Families for a New Tomorrow (FNT) group in the fall of last year, our families together decided that we want to collect food for those in need. It was really powerful when as families, we spoke about hunger.
To the younger children, we talked about what it meant to feel hungry. They all related to how it felt when they were picked up after school and said ” I’m starving!”
Some of the children wanted to ask all of those who did not have food to come over to their house to eat.
The elder children (7-8 year olds) spoke of actually collecting food.
The children then decorated grocery bags , took them to their classrooms and spoke to their peers about donating food / asking for donations. They seemed really proud to do it, and the teachers supported them as well.
After 2 weeks of food collections- we met again. This time we took out all of the food collected…and the children tried to imaging all of the delicious meals that folks could enjoy …putting the different types of food together. We tried to make sure the food was given in the spirit of love and caring.
Those who could go – went with a few parents and donated the food to the second harvest food bank!
We as an FNT group have done it twice and plan to make it a semi-annual event.
We started the FNT first meeting with Super Conscious Living Exercises followed by chanting Joy, Joy Ever New Joy. Nitai led the meeting. He explained that we can feel joy in the heart by picturing joy as a balloon that becomes bigger and bigger. Then he led a short meditation. Opening Activity: (~20 minutes)
We played the game “I love my Neighbor.” Everyone stands in a big circle in front of chairs. One person in the middle says “I love my Neighbor because …” for example they have brown shoes. Everyone with brown shoes stands up and has to go to a different seat. The last person who doesn’t get a seat has to stand in the middle. This was a fun game to play and was perfect for all ages.
Service Project: ( for the whole family) (~30 minutes)
We meet at the Living Wisdom School in Seattle. Nivritti, the head of our school, provided three different service activities. The younger children stuffed paper bags with a flyer. They loved doing this activity and were able to finish it in the 20 minutes provided for the project. Older children and adults assembled folders with information about the school. Those who wanted to work outside cleared the driveway of debris and mud with shovels. Many of the kids and parents chose to work outside.
Separate Activities: (for kids/parents)
Kids: Snack time for everyone (~10 minutes) – Each week a different parent volunteers to bring a light healthy snack. This week a parent brought hummus and chips, popcorn, and apples and almond butter.
After snack, the kids went to a classroom to play and were supervised by a parent as well as several older children who were ages 10 and 11.
Parents: Engaged in a discussion. Nitai led a brief guided meditation. He made some suggestions about possible topics to discuss such as:
- How to deal with temper tantrums
- How to get kids to help with chores
- How to get kids involved in the spiritual life
We talked about how to get kids to help with chores. Parents shared some interesting tips that have worked for them. Before the next meeting, one parent will gather topic ideas by email and see what everyone wants to talk about. Children returned to the group.
Nitai ended the gathering by telling everyone an inspirational story. The children asked questions about the story. We assigned a Snack volunteer and a Childcare volunteer for the next meeting.
Closing Circle: We ended by sending out our positive energy to the world.
We began the meeting in a circle, singing songs and doing simple yoga/energization exercises that the children were leading. We also played a version of “getting to know your group” game.
Opening activity: (~15 min)
We then read the book “Have You Filled a Bucket Today: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids” and talked about what it means to fill someone’s bucket!
The group was then divided in two groups. Each group did about 20 min of work around coming up with a team name and other related work. Our service task was to talk about the ideas around collecting food for Second harvest food bank – The two teams brainstormed how they would go about doing this and presented their findings to the larger group.
Children came up with ideas ranging from making posters to going to their classrooms to tell their class about their project. After about 20 minutes, the larger group came together and children presented their ideas and everyone rated their team performance to rate on how effectively they felt teams worked together and how this can be improved etc.. Service project: ( for the entire family) (~20-40 min)
Separate Activities: (for kids/parents) ~ ( 30-40 min)
Kids: Enjoyed some delicious cupcakes and played in the yard!
Parents: Enjoyed some yummy cake and strawberries and talked about the things we would like this group to do etc. we just chatted about how to talk to kids about this group etc…
Our first FNT service project – collect food for Second Harvest Food Bank. Children are going to make brochure to be given to their classmates – I have attached the starting template that you can print about 10 copies per child and have them write/draw on them. Each child should also decorate a grocery bag each to be put in their classrooms for collection. We agreed to leave the bags there for 2 weeks and bring them to the next meeting so the kids can sort and package them and talk about the experience before one of us drops the collection at the food bank.
- 3-5 years old- can pick up the bags after collection
- 6-7 years old can pick up the bags after collection
- 8-9 years old can pick up the bags after collection
Closing circle: OM and Good Byes!