When a child is able to connect an experience in their life to the broader world around them, something magical happens!
There is a moment. An expression. A pause. A light bulb turns on, and a child who is struggling no longer feels alone. They feel safe. They feel understood. That is the moment in which we as counselors and educators can truly make a difference. When that moment combines with laughter, play, and creativity, then the possibilities for healing are endless.
Don’t get me wrong, these experiences are rare. Those of us who work with at-risk youth focus all efforts on creating those kinds of moments, but the truth is that you can’t force them – all you can do is create the space for them to happen. This work is what CareFirst and all of the other Garden of Fire partners are trying to accomplish in our summer programming. In the recent Rain Stick Making workshop led by CareFirst’s Tara Chapman, these moments were abundant.
You can see the look in their eye as they were able to connect their emotional experiences to the world around them, and specifically, to this year’s theme of water. The children were able to talk about their life, times when they had difficult things happen, and how they cope with the intense emotions of life we all feel. They used the symbol of water and created rain sticks that allowed them to create music and express themselves in a new and unique way.
These kinds of activities are what help young minds grow.
When we as humans combine nature and creativity with a chance to process our emotions and focus on our own well-being, it creates fertile ground for healing, growth, and endless possibilities.
There is no greater blessing than to see this in our youth and to know that the future of tomorrow is being left in the hands of children who have not only expanded their minds, but healed their hearts.