By “planting seeds of compassion” in today’s littles, we can help them lead their communities with greater consciousness and love for all beings. As a parent and educator passionate about weaving mindfulness and compassion into my work with kids, I founded Mindful Littles. We’re a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children ages 3 to 11 be more compassionate and mindful through customized community service projects and creative educational programs. Our emphasis is on opening the hearts of youth by empowering them to put mindfulness and heartfulness into action to help the greater good.
How We Got Started
The Mindful Littles concept of mindful service began in the fall of 2016 with a pilot project that my friend and I hosted for 15 neighborhood families in my backyard. We partnered with a wonderful nonprofit organization called Youth Homes, which serves as a resource center for at-risk and neglected adolescents. In a backyard gathering, we talked to families about how simple things like toothpaste and shampoo are things many of us take for granted. Many children in the world, even some right in our neighboring towns, don’t have access to these simple amenities. The idea that sparked that day was to not only help provide hygiene kits, but also to do it with a lot of love.
To bring the focus to “love,” we practiced mindfulness and compassion activities together. We also learned about “Jackie,” a young girl who came to Youth Homes. We did a group brainstorm with the children, asking them what they would say to Jackie to make her feel better. The children, some as young as age three, came up with phrases to say to Jackie such as, “You are a bright star.” We used these words to decorate forty shower caddies; each family equipping them with bath and hygiene supplies. We concluded the day with a story to explain the basic brain science behind mindfulness and did some mindful movement, focusing on how to “have courage to be kind.” The response from the community was overwhelmingly positive with one parent commenting, “That was a really great event. I held more doors open for people in the last few days than I think I have in my life. Your words were heard.” Caddies were donated to the center to be given to youth upon their arrival to the center. We’ve heard the kids, when receiving caddies, often feel overwhelmed with appreciation.
We’ve grown from a small get together in our backyard to a nonprofit organization with volunteers on staff. We now regularly host projects in the East Bay in Northern California and have done projects to help kids in Haiti, local firefighters, senior homes, and more. We are also partnering with local schools, churches, temples to bring our service-project approach to those groups working directly with youth. We are very excited to see what unfolds as we continue to help youth live in their hearts.
More Mindful Activities
Below are a few more activities that we’ve shared with our community to spread kindness and compassion. Please explore and enjoy.
Tanuka Roy Gordon is the Founder and Executive Director of Mindful Littles, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. As the mother of two young girls, she blogs on Mindful Littles about creative ways to practice mindfulness and kindness at home. She lives in Orinda, CA and is a graduate of our Mindfulness Fundamentals, Mindful Educator Essentials and the Mindful Communication courses, and organizes a Mindful Educator Meetup in Orinda. She also trained through YogaKids and YogaFlowSF and teaches kids yoga as well as vinyasa yoga. You can reach her at: email@example.com.