Helping Kids Cope with Big Feelings: Spotlight on Spirituality for Kids International

Guest Blogger, Genevieve Lowry 

As children return to school in the fall they may be experiencing more than just the first day of school jitters. Social isolation, institutional strain, and economic hardship have contributed to increased mental health challenges among children and adolescents.  After a year of changing school environments and routines, isolation, loss, and uncertainty children will require time and space to recover and relearn to trust not only in the systems and adults who care for them but also in themselves. Children will need opportunities that build confidence and self-esteem lost to a year of unprecedented challenges that have left them unsure of their own light that shines from within. 

Spirituality for Kids International Inc. (SFK) is an educational non-profit that builds social-emotional learning (SEL). SEL content and programs equip children with the tools to adapt, grow and learn the life skills needed to face adversity and challenges. After a year like no other children need opportunities to explore interests, identify strengths, and tap into the support that will help them to feel safe again. Through evidenced and asset-based curriculum, videos, and hands-on activities, SFK teaches children viable ways to tap into their inner strengths and see their true potential. Using a unique and immersive learning experience, SFK strives to support children and those who care for them in home, school, and community settings by strengthening relationships, developing self-awareness, and teaching tools for responsible decision making. 

Over the past two years, I have had the opportunity to work with the team at SFK reviewing materials and videos that help children trust in themselves, learn to recognize their own gifts, and identify helpers who encourage children to become all they can be. I have found them to be innovative thinkers and always open to fresh ideas. Their new short-form video series is no exception. SFK wants to know what parents, caregivers, and professionals think about their videos and accompanying materials. They are requesting you watch the following videos and answer a short survey in hopes to acquire data that will help the organization to know if they are hitting their mark

A shooting Star

This is an inspiring small story about big feelings and a loss of a loved one. And how to find the power within to overcome, stay true to yourself, and find inspiration.

The concepts in this lesson covered in the video and activities are:

  • Loss of a loved one
  • Managing big feelings
  • The Light is always present
  • What others say or do is not in our control
  • Being my true self

Click Here for the Shooting Star Activities: PDF

Take the Survey and let us know what you think.

Learn more at SFK.org and follow on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

 

Humor Helps for Children Coping with Cancer: Spotlight on Andrew’s Laughing Gas

We all know how much laughter can help when we are feeling defeated. Children battling cancer can use an emotional boost and humor can help. I’m thrilled to feature a wonderful nonprofit, Andrew’s Laughing Gas that has a mission to “make warriors laugh one toot at a time.”

Andrew Mercier was diagnosed with Leukemia 2 days before his 10th birthday. This came as a surprise to his family and friends, as he had always been a high-energy, adventurous and active kid. He was known to many as the class clown, and thoroughly enjoyed that title. He loved to make people laugh, creating his own jokes and playing practical jokes on whomever he could. He was smart and enjoyed showing off what he learned in school.

Throughout Andrew’s battle, he rarely complained. He took every poke, every pill, every procedure like a true warrior. He sometimes got frustrated and would ask, “why me?”, but never let it pull him down for too long. He loved to joke with his nurses and doctors and loved it when they joked back. He binged watched Sponge Bob and must have seen every single episode during his hospital says. He loved Stranger Things and watched all 3 seasons multiple times. He went to The Great Room at his hospital to craft and create new things to display in his room. He was so proud of his crafts and showed everyone what he made.

During Andrew’s hospitalization, he was given a “farting unicorn” that he named Dookie. Dookie was a large, stuffed unicorn with a remote-controlled fart machine sewn inside. Andrew would hide the remote under his sheets and hit the button to catch his unsuspecting victims off guard. Andrew found joy in making others laugh, and Dookie was a great source of laughter for Andrew.

Sadly, Andrew didn’t make it until his next birthday. His cancer was an extremely rare type of Leukemia. His doctors said only 12 cases worldwide of his specific type, have been reported. Andrew fought hard, fought gracefully, and was an amazing source of smiles and laughter until the end. Andrew passed away from his Leukemia on December 15, 2019.

To carry on his love of laughter and practical jokes, we are starting Andrew’s Laughing Gas. We want to give every child fighting this awful disease a reason to smile and laugh, and just be a kid. We are making stuffed animals that, like Dookie, remotely “toot” to hand out to as many kids as we can reach, to spread Andrew’s laughter to others. We know Andrew would love for his laughter to continue.

Where to Order

Andrew’s Laughing Gas works closely with child life departments serving oncology patients. For a hospital donation, please send a direct emailFamilies can also request a stuffed animal from the ALG website. 

Show Your Support

Andrew’s Laughing Gas is a nonprofit that is primarily run by volunteers. Make a donation today to help bring laughter to children coping with cancer.

Learn more at AndrewsLaughingGas.org and follow on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Related Articles

NEGU Jessie Rees Foundation 

Dancing While Cancering 

Puddle Jumper’s Guide to Kicking Cancer 

One Child’s Mission to Bring Joy to Hospitalized Children: Spotlight on NEGU Jessie Rees Foundation

“How can we help them?” Jessie Rees asked this simple question to her parents as they drove home from her cancer treatment appointment. She was dealing with her own diagnosis of a brain tumor (DIPG) but still wanted to help other children. She ignited hope and shared it. The motto, NEVER EVER GIVE UP (NEGU) was coined by her. 

The Jessie Rees Foundation was quickly formed with a mission to encourage kids fighting cancer. Jessie began to create JoyJars, a container filled with activities, games, and comfort items for children. They have been shipped to all 50 states and over 40 countries. 

Jessie courageously fought cancer from March 3, 2011, to January 5, 2012. She lost her battle, but her life is forever honored through her mission of NEGU. 

I have personally seen the positive impact on children when they receive a JoyJar. The smile on their face and excitement in their voice says it all. They feel the pure joy of being a kid and are inspired by Jessie’s mission.

Get involved with ClubNEGU

If you have a child with cancer, then sign them up for ClubNEGU. They will receive monthly JoyJars that will help to boost their spirit during treatment.

Make an Impact

Join Jessie’s mission to Never Ever Give Up by making a donation today or volunteering. They are always looking for compassio0nate hearts to help spread joy to others. Be sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.