Time for some more good news!

Today we would like to share positive news!  May these serve as a reminder that good things are always happening all around the world. 

Our reporters are: 

Unikids- Madeline Morrill and Emilio Collazo-Falcon
Uniteens- Gabriel Trahan and Omar Collazo-Falcon
Youth of Unity- Gabriel Collazo-Falcon

Remarkable Teen Leads Peaceful Detroit Protest, Gets Call From Mayor: ‘I saw your leadership; I’m in tears.’

16-year-old Stefan Perez began marching into downtown Detroit with 15 people. More and more joined him until he became an unwitting leader of a large crowd. Above all else, the Michigan teen vowed to keep everyone in line and get them back home safely.

At the end of the march, after no looting or fights, he urged the protesters to comply with the city’s 8 p.m. curfew so that no one would get hurt. With a megaphone thrust into his hand, he kept the protesters calm, even though he said “they were scared,” and some of them tried to defy his peaceful intentions.

“I tried to keep everybody together, I tried to keep everybody as a collective group, and we marched,” he told The Detroit Free Press. “I’m surprised people listened to me. I’m glad they did because they’re not hurt right now, ‘cause they could be.”

While the reporter was interviewing the young activist, Mayor Mike Duggan called on someone’s phone and the call was broadcast via speakerphone on Facebook Live.

“Son, I was watching the video and I saw your leadership. I have tears in my eyes, said the mayor. “You are everything that’s special about the city of Detroit… We’re going to fight this injustice because of people like you.

The previous evening, the first night of the curfew, things had become tense in the Motor City as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets when protesters refused to disburse. Stefan, whose ancestors are African-American, Mexican, Puerto Rican and Nicaraguan, was more interested in taking a knee in peaceful solidarity when the crowd reached Michigan Avenue on Monday.  WATCH the LIVE interview (and hear the mayor’s call at around 5:00)… https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2436955199929932

Teen Invents Wristband That Could Curb Infection by Warning Users Against Touching Their Face

This teenage entrepreneur is responsible for inventing a simple, yet brilliant way to help curb coronavirus infections. 15-year-old Max Melia designed and developed a wearable wristband which alerts users whenever they are about to touch their face.

He first came up with the brilliant idea two years ago as a means of reducing the spread of the cold and flu. After both of Max’s parents contracted COVID-19 four months ago, however, he threw all his efforts into developing a working prototype.

“Watching this pandemic unfold on the news, it was clear the devastating effect it was having on people’s lives’ across the world,” says Max. “However, it wasn’t until I saw the severity of the virus first-hand, when my parents both contracted COVID-19, did I truly appreciate just what we were dealing with.”

It uses position-sending technology algorithms to distinguish between predicted face touching and other hand motions. A vibration on the device then alerts the user to hand gestures that are dangerously near the face. “Any profits made from early sales via the crowdfunding site will be reinvested into providing free devices to organizations that help people such as NHS staff and nursing homes.

When Black Man Was Afraid to Walk in His Upscale Community, 75 Neighbors Walked With Him

The 29-year-old has lived in the 12 South neighborhood of Nashville his whole life after his family moved there 54 years ago. But over the course of his life, Shawn Dromgoole has seen the neighborhood change dramatically. Rising home values priced out many of the black families who lived there. As they moved out to find more affordable housing, new families moved in, most of them white and more financially well-off—leaving Shawn feeling out of place in his hometown.

“Growing up in my neighborhood, I could always feel the eyes, the looks, and the cars slowing down as they passed by me,” Shawn told the Washington Post.

Along with a barrage of news reports of looting, and protests raging over George Floyd’s death, came Facebook posts warning neighbors to watch out for “suspicious black men,” which added a new layer of fear to Shawn’s discomfort. So, three weeks ago, he took to Facebook and the online community bulletin board, NextDoor, to express his fear of walking alone in his own neighborhood.

So he posted a time and place letting everyone know, in case they wanted to join him on his next walk. When he arrived, 75 people were waiting there to join him. “I was so overwhelmed, I still can’t find the words. I never wrote that post thinking people would want to walk with me,” Shawn said. He was especially awed at how the whole thing seemed to transcend racial barriers. “Everyone was in masks, so you just saw a sea of people, and you couldn’t even tell what color skin they had.”

He also envisions honoring the memories of Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, and Tamir Rice with walks in their hometowns: Brunswick, Georgia; Miami Gardens, Florida; and Cleveland, Ohio. Eventually, his dream is to walk across the whole country giving hope to all those who are scared to walk alone. Here is the news video: https://www.air.tv/watch?v=VSL7iPSbR3CJn4EtF04xLw

Senior Home in Brazil Creates ‘Hug Tunnel’ So Visitors Can Embrace Their Loved Ones

The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard on elderly people, who have been advised to strictly adhere to stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines. For those living in care facilities, this has meant that friends and loved ones cannot even visit them in person. But, a care home in Brazil has come up with a creative solution, allowing seniors to connect with their loved ones while still keeping them safe from infection.

For 28 seniors living in isolation since March 17 at the Três Figueiras home in Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, Mother’s Day came and went without any visitors—and the loving staff noticed that spirits were at an all-time low.“We noticed that our senior residents were feeling sad,” Rubia Santos, the care home’s administrator told CNN. “We thought they would be much happier if we found a way for them to hug their relatives.”

So they put their heads together and created the ‘hug tunnel.’ It gives people the opportunity to feel the warmth of human contact without risking coming into contact with the coronavirus. To keep it extra safe for the residents, the staff at Três Figueiras makes sure the plastic is disinfected in between visits, which are all scheduled in advance. And visitors also have their temperatures checked and are asked to use hand sanitizer beforehand. The idea came from a viral video showing a woman in the US hugging her mother using a plastic curtain with arm enclosures in the backyard.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0oV7y6eM9A  

9-Year-Old and Friends Have Raised $100,000 for African American Businesses Selling Homemade Bracelets

Some unlikely heroes in Minneapolis have raised $100,000 to support black-owned businesses and neighborhoods—and they’re only 9-years-old. It all started one day when Kamryn Johnson and five of her friends were bored. So, in order to have a little bit of fun, they had the bright idea to sell some bracelets. Rather than just keep the money for themselves, Kamryn’s mom suggested it would be nice to do something positive for others—and the kids agreed. “Kamryn & Friends: Bracelets for Unity and Justice” was born.

The kiddos hoped to make a small impact with their enterprise, but since May 30, these altruistic children have managed to raise almost $100,000. Just in time for Father’s Day in the U.S., Kamryn’s dad is super proud. “She made over $800 the first day,” her dad, former NFL player Ron Johnson, told WCCO News. “She has blisters on her fingers now; she’s been working hard.”

The money raised by Kamryn and her friends will deliver welcome aid to those trying to get back on their feet. Even though the bracelets cost $5, people have paid $20, $50, even $100 to support the cause. In addition to selling bracelets—each woven with different colors—they have collected online donations on a GoFundMe campaign that has tallied $46,000. It just goes to show that, even in times of adversity, we can all make an impact and do our part to create a better world—and children can be the exceptional example.

‘Extinct’ Harlequin Toad Rediscovered; Such Survivors Are Bringing Hope That Amphibian Apocalypse is Abating

A researcher from New Brunswick has rediscovered a species of harlequin toad presumed extinct, and the details of the discovery offer hope not just for the species, but for the entire atelopus genus, which was nearly wiped out by the amphibian epidemic.

Caused by bacteria, the fungal disease chytridiomycosis has wreaked havoc on amphibians worldwide, with harlequin toads (atelopus) proving particularly susceptible.

However,  Canadian herpetologist Melissa Costales’s sighting of the Mindo harlequin toad (atelopus mindorensis) in Ecuador could mean the epidemic of chytrid may be subsiding; evidence supporting an already established and hopeful hypothesis. Watch video here:https://vimeo.com/409208914

 Source: Good News Network 

Today we will focus on the importance of kindness and on simple ways we can make a difference in our world. As parents and teachers, we have all probably told our kids to“play nicely” or “be kind to your sister.” And most of us agree that we want to raise caring children. But is kindness something you can really teach?

Yes — but most of the teaching is done by example.

According to Mary Gordon, founder, and president of Roots of Empathy, a K-8 classroom program designed to instill emotional and social competence, and to reduce aggression: “Kindness isn’t taught, it’s learned. In order to be kind, you have to experience it at home. If you want your child to be kind, you are wasting your breath lecturing them.” 

In a recent study, researchers at the Harvard graduate school of education found 80 percent of youth say their parents care more about their personal achievements or happiness than whether they are kind human beings. Of the 10,000 students surveyed, they were three times as likely to agree than disagree with this statement: “My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my classes than if I’m a caring community member.” This is food for thought. 

Simply put, kindness is being nice to others. As you examine kindness further, a number of important dimensions begin to unfold. Kindness is being generous with others, giving your time, money, and talent to support those who are in need. Kindness is being compassionate, which means to really be there for someone, listening intently to their suffering or just sitting with them and silently supporting them. Such compassion involves a deep concern for the welfare of others. Kindness is also being nurturing and caring to others — to enjoy doing favors for them, to take care of them, and to perform good deeds.

Kind individuals believe that others are worthy of attention and affirmation for their own sake as human beings, not out of a sense of duty or principle. There are three traits of altruistic personalities:

  • Empathy/sympathy
  • Moral reasoning
  • Social responsibility

How can we make the most of kindness in your everyday life? In the moments that matter the most? 

Here are some ideas:

Perform a random act of kindness each day (ex: slowing to allow a car in front of you, complimenting a co-worker, buying a treat for your partner). By being consistent, we make kindness a habit in our everyday lives.

Say kinder and softer words to people when interacting through email, writing letters, talking on the phone. Smile when answering the phone and sound happy to hear from the person on the other end of the line.

Smile at strangers. You could be making their day by just smiling!  We never know what people are going through. 

Be an example. Join service projects. Donate time and/or money to organizations that help those in need. 

We often tend to think that we have to do something big to make an impact but small, every day acts of kindness have a huge impact and do make a difference. 

Kindness Rocks!

I had the opportunity to visit Unity Village last summer. It was a wonderful experience. They have a beautiful Kindness Rock garden. They were in the process of cleaning and restoring their garden. I quickly volunteered to help! Making Kindness Rocks is one of our children’s favorite Sunday School activities at our church. Since we do not have a garden, we place our rocks in a basket for people to take, receive inspiration, share with others, and help spread positivity and kindness to the world. In today’s video, I will teach you how to make Kindness Rocks! It may sound too simple but we never know when we are making someone’s day by giving them something as small as a Kindness Rock. Watch today’s video to learn how to make them! 

May we continue to spread kindness to our world, remembering that our future generations are learning from our example. We are powerful seeds of change. 

Namaste,
Janice

In today’s video, you will hear two of our Youth of Unity (Y.O.U.) leaders share their thoughts and feelings about the recent events that have taken place in America. We have been actively involved in a powerful, open conversation with our youth of all ages during our weekly virtual meetings. It is fascinating to hear what they think and feel. I believe that the future is in good hands. After sharing our feelings of despair, shock, and anger, we have been looking for ways to contribute, now. 

There is so much to learn and I know many of us have been faced with this question: Where do I begin? When we are faced with these violent acts, it can make us feel like there is nothing we can do to fight the enormity of it as one person. This is natural, but it should not stop us from taking action to do our part. Some of the world’s most important achievements were done by regular people who decided that inaction was simply unacceptable. We all collectively contribute to what is happening in our world. It’s our choice to do our small part to improve society or to just sit and watch as things get worse, hoping that the problem does not come to our own door someday.  

Our Youth of Unity leader, Lauren Garcia, gives us great advice: Educate yourself, do research, join groups, join peaceful protests, watch documentaries, make friends with people from other cultures and races. 

In doing my own research, I have learned so many things that I can do to help my own children and our youth ministry children. Today, I would like to share some of them with all of you:

Did you know that even babies notice differences like skin color, eye shape, and hair texture? Here’s how to handle conversations about race, racism, diversity, and inclusion, even with very young children:

  • Don’t shush or shut them down if they mention race.
  • Don’t wait for kids to bring it up.
  • Be proactive, helping them build positive awareness of diversity.
  • When a child experiences prejudice, grown-ups need to both address the feelings and fight the prejudices.
  • You don’t have to avoid topics like slavery or the Holocaust. Instead, give the facts and focus on resistance and allies.

The following is the best, most inclusive list of steps and actions we can take as parents and educators that I have found so far. I have personally joined this movement and encourage you to find one to join. 

What inspires me the most about working with our youth is being a witness to their connection to God. I wholeheartedly believe that one person who is connected to God, to Spirit, is more powerful than millions who are not. As Gabe said: “The path to improvement is never a straight line”.  These two “mantras” have helped us a lot during these challenging times. I hope they help you as well. 

In Unity we stand.

Namaste,

Janice

It’s Youth Monday!

For this week’s video and blog post, we invite you to join us in taking a moment to honor the lives of all the people who have made their transition in this intense and difficult time. Every life matters. Our youth of all ages, in all parts of the world, are watching closely and learning from our example. In the midst of all this pain and sorrow, may we be sustained by faith and inspired to do our part. 

Photo Credit:
Taylor Debnam, senior at Enloe High School, photographed Sunday, April 5, 2020. Ethan Hyman EHYMAN@NEWSOBSERVER.COM

Our youth leaders and I have been actively supporting and listening to our youth as they express their feelings during our weekly virtual meetings. Their wisdom inspires us and sustains our vision for equality and justice in our world. 

Today, we are honored to feature our dear 2020 Senior and Youth of Unity (Y.O.U.) member, Taylor Debnam. She shares how she has been able to navigate through the cancellation of prom and graduation by focusing on the present moment and letting go of what she cannot control.  She was also featured in this News and Observer article: https://www.newsobserver.com/living/article242029611.html

If you know a 2020 graduate, please find a way to honor him/her/them! Our support, acknowledgment, and recognition mean more than we will ever imagine during this difficult time. 2020 graduates, you have my full admiration. Congratulations and blessings to all of you! We will all get through this together. 

Namaste,

Janice

Happy Youth Monday! 

Hello! I’m always looking for new ways to exercise and have fun with my kids. I find that they become interested when they see that I am having fun. Today we have a great alternative for you and your family! A Zumba class lead by my friend, Socary Rodriguez. 

Here are some of the benefits we get from practicing Zumba:

  1. Improved Endurance
  2. Better Body Coordination, Gross Motor Skills & Control Over Their Body
  3. Develops leadership, respect, teamwork, confidence, self-esteem, memory, creativity, balance and cultural awareness skills in the children
  4. Strengthens their bodies
  5. Provides social opportunities to make new friends
  6. Teaches kids to incorporate fitness as a natural part of their lives
  7. Promotes an overall healthier lifestyle

It is also a really fun way to spend some quality family time together! Crank up that music and have fun showing each other different moves and experimenting with different routines together.

A big THANK YOU to our Zumba Kids Instructor, Socary Rodriguez!

Learn more about Socary and her online classes HERE.

https://www.zumba.com/en-US/profile/socary-rodriguez/1689058?fbclid=IwAR1NpBbiewCU7itjv9z6ilQp1BQh1cOxHFrjqQk8fYWad6A6iTpYn2YdzXM

Have a great week and thank you for watching!

Janice

Happy Youth Monday! 

Did you know that positive news stories lead to an increase in hope and optimism? This in turn makes us more likely to notice positivity all around us and become more solutions-oriented, creating a ‘positive feedback loop’. They can also boost self-efficacy; a person’s belief in their ability to make a difference. Are you ready?

May you be inspired by this video created by our awesome Youth Ministry reporters: Unkids Alexander Trahan (10), Madeline Morrill (6), and their Uniteen brother, Gabriel Trahan (11).  Here are the positive news stories they found:

Conservationists Rejoicing Over Discovery of ‘Ultra-Rare’ Blue Bee

It has been almost a decade since this ultra-rare species of bee was last spotted in the Florida wilderness—but conservationists are now rejoicing after it was rediscovered this spring. First described in 2011, scientists weren’t sure the blue calamintha bee still existed. The species had only been recorded in four locations totaling just 16 square miles of pine scrub habitat at Central Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge.

Those apprehensions changed to delight in March when a Florida Museum of Natural History researcher rediscovered the metallic navy insects—a first step to conserving this understudied and imperiled species. “I was open to the possibility that we may not find the bee at all so that first moment when we spotted it in the field was really exciting,” said Chase Kimmel, a postdoctoral researcher.

Kimmel and his adviser, Jaret Daniels, director of the museum’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, are working on a two-year research project to determine the blue calamintha bee’s current population status and distribution, as well as nesting and feeding habits.

Florida’s State Wildlife Action Plan lists the bee, Osmia calaminthae, as a species of greatest conservation need, and this project could help determine whether it qualifies for protection under the Endangered Species Act. A US Fish and Wildlife Service State Wildlife Grant administered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is funding the project.

The bee is thought to live only in the Lake Wales Ridge region, a globally recognized biodiversity hotspot and one of the nation’s fastest-disappearing ecosystems, according to a 2015 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report. As a pollinator, it depends on another threatened species, a blooming plant known as Ashe’s calamint. “This is a highly specialized and localized bee,” Daniels said.

The blue calamintha is a solitary bee, creating individual nests instead of hives like honeybees. While no nests have been found, the species is part of the genus Osmia, which tends to use existing ground burrows, hollow stems or holes in dead trees as nests. To test whether this bee does the same, the research team made and deployed bee “condos,” 42 nest boxes, in locations where the bee or Ashe’s calamint have been found. Each box contains reeds and sand pine blocks with holes drilled in varying diameters and depths to reveal the bee’s nesting preferences. Researchers will periodically check the boxes over the next year.

“All of this work is a collaboration,” Daniels said. “It takes an army to make it happen, you couldn’t do it without all the broader community of assistance that makes a project work to generate good results.”

Portable Sinks for the Homeless

Portable sinks are being installed across the United States as a means of helping homeless people wash their hands amidst the novel coronavirus outbreaks. Over the course of the last two months, Love Beyond Walls—a Georgia-based nonprofit dedicated to helping the homeless—has been setting up dozens of hand-washing stations in areas popularly visited by rough sleepers.

Terence Lester, the founder who had been homeless himself as a teenager, told Katie Couric on her new YouTube show, The Bright Side, that he started the “Love Sinks In” campaign with the hopes of supporting neglected people living in poverty during the pandemic. “People would say things like ‘I’m fearing I’ll contract the coronavirus because I have nowhere to wash my hands’,” said Lester.

Thankfully, the group has been able to scale up their operations thanks to their support from Grammy award-winning hip hop artist Lecrae, who is also a friend of Lester’s. Since Lecrae joined forced with the organization in March, several dozen sinks have been installed across the city of Atlanta—all of which are sanitized three times every day.

Love Beyond Walls has also teamed up with other homeless charities to install sinks in cities like Birmingham, Austin, Columbus, San Bernardino, New Orleans, Baltimore, and New York City. Couric surprised Lester during their interview, by making a $10,000 donation that will pay for the installation of 50 more portable sinks.

11-Year-Old Skater Makes History During Quarantine!

While many people have been left twiddling their thumbs for the duration of the novel coronavirus shutdowns, this 11-year-old athlete took advantage of his free time spent in quarantine to make skateboarding history. This week, Gui Khury became the first skateboarder to ever land a 1080-degree turn on a vertical ramp. 

For perspective, the Brazilian youngster had not even been born when 22-year-old Tony Hawk completed the first 900-degree turn back in 1990. Gui completed his first 900-degree turn at just 8 years old.

Now two decades after Hawk’s accomplishment, Gui says he was able to complete the jaw-dropping 1080-degree feat by using his time off from school amidst the pandemic to train. Upon expertly landing the triple-turn earlier this week, Gui says he could hardly comprehend his achievement.

“I was like, oh my God, what did I just do?” Gui Khury told Reuters. “I was just like OK, I landed it. Now I am going to celebrate.” Gui later told reporters that he celebrated by sharing a bowl of macaroni and cheese with his family.

I hope you are inspired to look for more good news every day!

Namaste,

Janice

Source: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/

Happy Youth Monday!

Today we will continue our yoga practice by adding two powerful relaxation techniques and one new yoga pose to our routine. I encourage you to make this a family practice. If your children see you practicing and having fun, they will want to join you. It works for me every time!

First, make sure you practice on a soft surface. A yoga mat is ideal. Wear comfortable clothing. Consult your healthcare provider if you are not sure if you should engage in this type of physical activity. 

Tension/Relaxation Technique:

This is a very effective way to release physical tension. We often do not realize how much tension we are holding in our bodies. This, in turn, maintains stress in the nervous system and depletes the body’s energy levels.  When we consciously tense and then relax each body part, we are able to release it. Here are the steps: 

1- Begin in Savasana or Corpse Pose. Flex your feet and leg muscles. Lift them 3 inches off the mat. Then, release and drop your legs on the floor. 

2- Lift your hips, tense, then release. 

3- Tense your abs as you push your lower back closer to the mat. Release. 

4- Lift your chest up high and release. 

5- Inhale as you bring your shoulders up to your ears. Release.

6- Gently push your shoulders down toward your feet and release. 

7- Move your head from side to side, releasing tension from neck muscles.

8- Contract your facial muscles toward your nose. Try to kiss the tip of your nose! Release.

9- Lion’s Breath- Open your mouth, stick your tongue out, open your eyes wide, and look upward to give your facial muscles a good stretch. Exhale through your mouth and relax.  

Take a moment to feel the difference in your body after this exercise! You may do this several times a day.  

The Fish Pose– (Matsyasana)

The Fish acts as a gentle counter-pose to the Shoulderstand. You will feel a renewed sense of balance and deep relaxation throughout your body as you come out of this pose. It increases the vital capacity of the lungs, reduces bronchial congestion, brings flexibility to the upper spine, revitalizes the thyroid gland, and stimulates the pineal gland. This promotes wellness and helps with feelings of depression and anxiety.  

From Corpse Pose or Savasana, bring your legs together. Hide your straight arms under your torso (palms down). As you inhale, lift your chest as high as possible, bending your arms, arching your back, and carefully bending your neck backward. Place the top of your head gently on the floor. Keep your mouth closed as you take full, deep abdominal breaths. 

To release the asana, push firmly on your elbows, lift your head slightly and lower your back to the floor. Release the arms and go back to Corpse Pose. 

Final Relaxation:

This is the most rewarding moment of our yoga practice. It increases the benefits of each asana and brings your body and mind to a state of balance through three levels of relaxation: physical, mental, and spiritual. We will consciously relax each part of our body by sending “autosuggestion” messages starting with your feet. Gradually move up until you reach your head. Example: Focus on your feet. Mentally repeat “I relax my feet. My feet are relaxed. I relax my legs. My legs are relaxed”, and so on. With practice, you will feel your body parts relax and recharge as you consciously rest. The aim is to remain awake throughout the practice. Make sure to take your time to gently stretch before you sit down. 

I trust you will feel rejuvenated and energized. Have a great week!

Namaste, 

Janice

Happy Youth Monday!

I hope you had a beautiful Mother’s Day. It is definitely one of my favorite days of the year. I am the mother of five boys and this was my first one away from my eldest son, Daniel. He is following his calling to serve our country in the military. I am extremely proud of him.

Today’s video is very special to me. It actually took me by surprise when I received it! I told Daniel about my idea to make a video where our youth could share about ways in which Unity teachings have helped them overcome obstacles or situations in their lives. He said: “I’ll send you a video!”. Knowing how busy he is, I thought it would take him a while to send it to me. Within a few days, I received this video! 

Here at Unity, our children learn about positive affirmations, meditation and prayer from a very early age. By the time they graduate from our program, they have so many practical tools and spiritual knowledge! I see each and every one of them as a Beacon of Light. Their presence makes the world a better place and for this we are so thankful.

Sending my son to boot camp was one of the most challenging things I have had to face as a mother. I knew he was ready, focused and following his heart’s calling. Knowing he had the spiritual tools that Unity gave him gave me peace. That is where our true strength comes from. As you will hear as you listen to his own words, Daniel was able to develop his own way of applying these spiritual tools when he needed them most. Thank you, John Stringer, for sharing your powerful message with our youth at Unity events and Y.O.U. Rallies! 

I trust you will be inspired to use this powerful technique! I believe this is the perfect time for all of us to begin this practice. Let us ALIGN, ALLOW, LET GO as we affirm that whatever it is that we intend to release is GONE. 

I love you, Daniel. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your heart.

Until next time,

Janice

Hello, everyone! 

I hope you are enjoying our Youth Monday videos. This is definitely a new adventure for me and I am having a lot of fun in the process.

For this week, I asked several of our teens to send me a video of themselves answering this question: How have the Unity teachings helped you overcome obstacles in your life? I received four beautiful videos and could not be happier with the things they shared. Tune in for another one next week!

Our Youth Program welcomes children from 8 weeks through 12th grade in high school. Most of our Youth of Unity (Y.O.U.) teens have been part of our Youth Ministry since they were in preschool or elementary school. Regardless of when they start attending, by the time they graduate from our program, they have received many valuable tools and spiritual teachings that make them peace ambassadors in our world. Watching them evolve and grow is the biggest reward I get from my work as Youth Director.  

May these testimonials help you find inspiration and joy as you hear what they share! They are the present (gift) and the future of our world and for that, I am so thankful.

Sending appreciation and blessings to all mothers on Mother’s Day and every day! Thank you for all you do. Stay strong, joyful, and healthy! 

Namaste,

Janice

Hello! Today I would like to share some ideas that will help you and your family connect to nature through art and creativity. 

  • Take walks as often as possible

I love going on walks with my kids every day. This activity has been so beneficial during this quarantine time! Sometimes we do silent walks where we meditate on what we see and listen to nature sounds. We call these Walking Meditations. 

Other days they all get a stick and have fun pretending they are lightsabers!  Other days we talk about our day or play games as we walk. 

We also gather little treasures we find along the way, and we save them to make Nature Art!

  • Get creative with Nature Art

There are no rules to this! Just gather materials that you already have around your house and let your inspiration guide you. You can make mandalas, collages, leaf prints, collect rocks in a jar and add to your collection as you find more!

These are some of the projects we have enjoyed the most:

  • Here are some ways we can all help Mother Nature:

◊Put out birdseed for the birds.

◊Plant butterfly-friendly flowers in your garden.

◊Stay on the path when you go hiking

◊Be sure to clean up your trash when you have a snack outside

◊ Plant a tree

◊ Clean garbage from a local stream or pond. Pick up trash you see around your neighborhood. 

◊ Turn off the lights when you leave a room

◊ Recycle any glass, plastic, metal, paper or cardboard that’s used at your house

◊ Turn off the water when you brush your teeth.

◊ Make a bird feeder (I will be sharing a cool craft soon!)

◊ If you climb a tree, be gentle on the branches

◊ Learn aboutecology and how people can help the environment

◊ If you have a garden, help to water the plants. 

◊ Fill the birdbath with water — those birds need baths too!

◊ Let the bees be! 

◊ Use less water when showering.

◊ Read a book about someone who was nice to nature.

Have fun! I would love to see your creations. You can share them on our Facebook page.

Stay well, healthy, and creative!

Namaste,

Janice