Monday, December 12, 2016

Macy's Santa Project

When I was a little girl, believing in Santa was always a big deal, especially having three sisters. I can barely remember it all, but I can still picture putting out the cookies and milk out the night before, waiting at the top of the stairs for my parents to give us the O.K. to come open our presents. They were always organized by sibling; we would each have our own section where our gifts were under the tree. It was special, and to be honest, it still is. Even if I know my Mom and Santa have the same handwriting, believing in Santa as a child was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything.

DuBois Sisters Christmas 2009; Most recent picture I have of all of us in front of the tree.

One of my biggest fears that I have as a woman who majored in Youth Development is children not making these memories for themselves the way I did when I was young. At my current job, I watch children sit in carriages watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or playing some Angry Birds Toss game while their mothers are shopping for gifts for the holidays. Although it seems convenient, there's something about this that really urks me. There's this funk I get in when see my friends looking down on their phones when we are all out, nevermind seeing a three year old using their father's Snapchat. 

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I plan on writing another post similiar to this post about my childhood in the '90s versuses the childhood our youth have today, a post that won't be as festive. However, in the midst of my thought process on this concept, I always think about what children could stumble upon while browsing the web. These children's brains are developing, but technology is allowing them to exercise their brain ever more; they know they can look ANYTHING up, including "Is Santa Real?" Today, I want to share something I saw on T.V. the other night; a commercial about a project that warmed my heart. The Macy's Santa Project, a social media campaign promoting children believing in Santa, is asking you to post a video, like, share, or tweet with #SantaProject to show children that you believe in good old Saint Nick. On their page (link at the bottom of this post), they have a link that allows you to post a video. Below is the lengthened commercial that is promoting the cause.

Another link on Macy's page talks about why Santa is real, on an emotional and psychological level. Not only does this cause help children keep the magic in their childhood and their hearts, but it also donates to Make-A-Wish Foundation. If you write a letter to Santa through their website, it donates one dollar to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This campaign feels right. It feels festive. It feels magical. I know it's a long while from now, when I watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, I will look at Santa from a whole new light. This campaign is so much more than keeping the faith and belief of Kris Kringle himself. It feels like there is a magic in the air that is bringing our country. Now that this post election nightmare has past, it is times like the holidays to not come together with friends and family, but "say hello to friends you know and everyone you meet." I am aware that not all children celebrate Christmas, but I hope the magic goes through all of us this holiday season.

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Back to School

This past week, I went to my mom's school with her while we were running errands. When I first switched my major from Elementary Education to Youth Development, I felt a sense of relief. I knew that state testing would be my worst nightmare, and I wouldn't have the chance to teach children the things I truly wanted to teach them or do the activities I always dreamed of doing. However, when I walked into the school and saw how teachers decorated their classrooms, my eyes began to widen.
The picture above, as most Youth Development students at Rhode Island College would know, really stood out to me. One of the first things we learned in our YDEV courses was that students can be teachers, too! It was so nice to see this phrase from another person's perspective. It made me reflect on this past summer with my campers at Camp Broad Rock. I taught them how to do things such as braid hair or make gymp boxes, but they also taught me things like how to use Pokemon Go! 
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As for the picture below, I really felt like this board spoke to me in more ways than just academically. The way my mom's school is set-up, the classrooms are divided by these boards, and this particular one is set-up right outside of a classroom. This way, all children can see this and possibly try to have a better outlook on schoolwork the next time they want to give up or the next time they feel something is too hard. I also really like that the negative statements are in black and white, and the positive statements are colorful. I am constantly being reminded every day that your mindset defines how you live your life, and starting this way of thinking at a young age could help so many children.

Just from simply looking at decorations in a classroom, we know that: 

01. You can learn something new every day, whether it is from your teacher, your students, your campers, your siblings; anyone can learn, and anyone can teach.
02. Your mindset and your environment is everything. If you are surrounded by people that have a positive mindset, then you can have a more positive mindset yourself!

I hope everyone has a great first week
back at school!!