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Mind and Motion 2020 (August 4 - 14th. 2020)

2020-11-23 13:05

Mind and Motion is a summer volunteer program for youths to connect, gain leadership skills, and start looking for occupations that may be of interest to them in  the future. Due to current circumstances with COVID-19, the youth were not able to volunteer with different organizations or go on their overnight leadership camp retreat. Instead, throughout the span of two weeks, they learned about various topics to help them to better understand themselves and those around them. They learned about mental health issues and the prejudice linked with them, their emotions and how to control and release them, and how simple exercises can result in good mental health. Besides the learning aspect, there were a variety of games and activities such as rock painting and team building exercises, where they could make mistakes, laugh, and try again. Although communicating on an online platform through Zoom was tiring for them, three sessions were held where they gathered together, and close relationships were formed.

To love the world, you must first learn to love yourself. My name is Arina Selvadurai.I am 16 years old and have a half Korean, half Sri Lankan heritage. I attended the Mind and Motion program from August 4th to August 14th, 2020. For me, the quote in the first sentence means that changing yourself is not easy, and trying to communicate with others and make a change in our world is even harder, but with small steps, together change is possible. This message perfectly summarizes how my experiences with Mind and Motion made me think differently, educated me and also made me laugh.

I found the Mind and Motion program enjoyable because of the many activities incorporated into presentations to make them more interesting. When we were learning about our emotional quotient, the organizer and group leader Tyler included many small online quizzes where we could compare test results and see how good we were in reading people’s emotions and communicating with others. For resilience, we were shown a funny video titled “The Monkey Business Illusion” to see how attentive we were to change. As well, there was at least one activity for everyone to enjoy with a rock painting session, a presentation on the mental health benefits of exercise, a music therapy session, and team building exercises. We could all try out something that our friends liked and see how it impacted us all differently. Group discussions were also interesting, but more importantly, it gave us a chance to talk about our own emotions and experiences and let go of what we were holding back while learning how to manage our emotions. It was a subtle group therapy where everyone could participate and no one had to
be embarrassed.

Through Mind and Motion, my perspective on relationships and leadership grew with knowledge and experience. While we worked in two groups to write a report on what planning to volunteer as a group would be like, I took the leadership position, which seemed to be wide open for me, and helped split up tasks and divide them among our group. I was astonished by what we achieved together, particularly with some members whom I thought would not cooperate. I cannot explain how it felt to be so proud. I had to learn how to be a good leader, and through applying what I had learned in business class this year, I found that a good leader wins people over by using a balance of fun stories, breaks, encouragement, praise, and just a little splash of tyranny. I also saw how people opened up easily, communicated and formed new memories within such a short amount of time with a little bit of effort. It was as if I was watching a flower blossom and strengthen its roots deep into the ground. Getting to listen to other people also gave me an insight into their lives and the hardships they went through. One person told me about her “friends” who pushed her around and talked about her behind her back, which made me want to go back in time and be there to listen and understand.

I believe others should participate in this program because of how much you can learn and gain from this program. We were taught how to handle our emotions, how to be resilient, how to listen to others and help them, and how to improve ourselves. The one thing I will remember most is when we were told “Our mind is like a dam. We can close it to hide our pain when we need to, but once in a while we have to let everything flood.”

Another skill that I gained was building relationships with others. With some people I did not get to communicate as much as I would have liked, but I always found joy in trying to break the silence in a quiet room, and finally hearing the silence filled with the sound of chattering. I hope in the future we will be able to gather together and communicate in the same way, with smiling faces and excited eyes. Through the two and a half weeks we were together, I saw how some people jumped at any chance to voice their opinion, while others were simply silent and obedient, but slowly opened up to a couple of people. I learned how to communicate with both types of people and how to approach them differently.

Joining Mind and Motion will be an enjoyable, emotional and educational journey for anyone who decides to participate. This was a summer I will never forget. During this program I had the opportunity to be among another group of people and be myself without feeling like an outcast. I only hope that everyone else who has a chance to participate will also have vivid and vibrant memories to take with them into the future.
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