“Earlier this morning, my daughter has asked me if I had meditated after I woke up, and it just so happens that I had, so I knew meditation was on her mind. As she sat at the dining room table, sobbing into her cereal, I told her that one reason I meditate is so I can practice choosing my thoughts, so I can get better at keeping the ones I want and getting ride of the ones I don’t.”
As vice chair of Neighbors for Kids, I have the privilege and opportunity to work closely with our staff and the children as part of my role as a board member for this amazing after-school program in Depoe Bay, Oregon. Our program is growing with many new kids registering for the start of the new school year and a very popular summer camp well underway. Our kids become very excited and busy with recreation and academic programs centered in a core learning curriculum known as “STEAM,” A Framework for Teaching Across the Disciplines. We are also an after-school site for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers project in collaboration with the Lincoln County School District (LCSD).
Our teachers and volunteers take a few minutes before each class to help students relax and refocus…a mindfulness exercise. The exercise is as simple as staying quiet for 3 minutes with some deep breathing and positive thoughts. Often children are distracted because of the challenges of socializing and sometimes from sad thoughts. I could easily see that taking a little time for meditation with the kids helps them get ready for a new learning experience. The short break between programs also helps us adults do a better job of mentoring and teaching kids as well.
I have written often in this blog about the topic of “mindfulness” (click highlighted text for video clip) in the context of life after trauma for adults. But the practice and benefits of meditation or mindfulness therapy definitely apply broadly as a way to relax for people of all ages. Children in particular get stressed out the same as adults. We all need a mindful timeout a few times a day to stay calm and focused on the joy of living, learning, and growing.
I have been away from my office and the joy of writing this blog for awhile… My day job and passion in retirement is vice chair of Neighbors for Kids in Depoe Bay, Oregon. We held our 5th annual charity golf tournament at Chinook Winds Golf Resort in Lincoln City, Oregon, on Saturday, July 19, 2014…The charity event was a fabulous success with over 100 players, including 12 top high school sponsored golfers. Dan Fouts, NFL Hall of Fame, 1993, San Diego Chargers played in the event again this year and urged safety in sports during an interview with the Lincoln City NewsGuard… (click highlighted text for more)
I was very proud and honored to have played in NFK’s 5th Annual Charity Golf event yesterday. The kids in the photo above in my foursome include, from the left, Logan, (Steve), Janie, and Gray. Logan is age 12, from Taft, and plays like a future Tiger Woods! Both Janie and Gray, HS seniors from Newport, are very good on the course. All three are exemplary kids and young adults… I was able to redeem myself from time to time with some great shots, especially on the 16th hole pictured above. It was one of the best times in my life on the golf course… The experience touched my heart deeply…
This year’s tournament was also a defining moment for Neighbors for Kids. The photos above make a powerful statement of who we are as we go forward making a huge difference for kids and the community we serve. We are so very grateful for the overwhelming community support for this event! There is so much to be thankful for as we celebrate and appreciate the heartwarming work we do for children and families in Lincoln County, Oregon.