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 

Happy Youth Monday, everyone! 

I am excited to share this video with all of you! Gabriel Lopez has been part of our Youth Ministry since he was 7 years old! He is now a senior in high school and one of the two Southeast Regional Representatives (Regi) for Youth of Unity (Y.O.U.).

The Southeast Y.O.U. region consists of high school teens from the following states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennesse, and Florida. The Regis elected by the teens. They are in charge of planning and leading three annual regional rallies. These events enable our youth to experience spiritual awakenings through creative workshops, small group sessions, spiritual performances, concerts and social interaction with others who share a love for Unity. To me, the most powerful aspect of these events is the level of acceptance and absence of judgment we all get to experience. This enables the teens to truly be themselves and many of their lives are forever changed. I have had the privilege to witness the spiritual transformation of so many teens. Honestly, this is one of the things that inspires me to continue to lead this Youth Ministry!  

Spring Rally had to be canceled this year. Gabe and his co-Regi, Dougie Landhan along with the Regional Leadership Team, have managed to create virtual activities where we have all been able to connect at a time when we all need it the most! Our Y.O.U. chapter continues to meet weekly through Zoom! They use this time to support each other, share their feelings and our chapter co-leaders, Lauren Garcia and Taylor Debnam, lead wonderful lessons every Sunday!  I am so proud of all of them. 

In today’s video, Gabriel is sharing an analogy that he recently discovered as he watched a documentary about John Coltrane’s life. He was a very famous saxophonist. This analogy has helped him further understand what it means to be happy and at peace regardless of the conditions around him. He says: “If it wasn’t for the teachings of Unity, this analogy wouldn’t have resonated with me nearly as much.”

Thank you for watching! Please remember to subscribe, comment and share our posts. This helps us spread this message! Feel free to email me at janice.falcon@unitytriangle.org if you would like more information. 

Namaste,

Janice

On today’s video, Janice Falcón – Youth and Family Ministry Director, shares a few calming techniques for the whole family. These are easy to do and everyone can participate!

Take a look at these Coping Skills for some ideas!

Better yet, save the images here and create a new list just for you and your family!

Hello everyone!

We hope that you and your family are doing well.

In the spirit of staying connected and finding ways to be mindful even during difficult situations, our Youth & Family Ministry Director, Janice Falcón, is sharing a series of calming techniques that will help everyone remain focused.

Also included is a printable sheet with a list of more activities and techniques that can be very helpful, especially as we navigate through this situation. Feel free to share this material with others! Don’t forget to join our Facebook page!

We hold you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.
Namaste,
Janice