WORDS MATTER. This past week - as a recipient of Toyota's Everyday Hero Award in 2015, I was honored to attend EspnW’s Women + Sport Summit in Chicago as a panelist and have Sarah Spain of Espn and EspnW as our moderator. Watching Sarah and the team assembled, one thing was very obvious to me. It is critical for each of us to use the platform we are on to advocate and elevate the work of women and girls because as Kofi Annan says, "When women thrive, all of society benefits."
SO WHERE DO WE START? One place is to start with teaching our girls and boys how to use one of their strongest assets - their words. This was never more clear to me then when I saw this campaign (beware, there is harsh language not suitable for young children) featuring sportscasters Sarah Spain and Julie DiCaro. In this video, you see men reading hateful tweets to Julie and Sarah that had been written about them. These tweets display in full splendor the power of cyber bullying and the destruction words can cause.
In Mini Mermaids, our third curriculum specifically addresses the power of our words, and how telling our story and using social media matters. How every word we say, matters. In our boys program we explore how their own use of words and self -compassion affects how they treat others around them.
Kids learn how to listen to their own hearts and minds, and how to stand up for themselves and others. They will know at the end of six weeks the power of their words is strong, they can either move themselves and others forward or can hold themselves and others back and cause damage.
The old children's rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” falls short for me. Words matter - we matter - our voices matter. Collectively we can change this. We can teach our children how very valuable they are, that they have something to give the world around them and how they are actually accountable for the words that come out of their mouths or from behind a screen. We are proud to tackle bullying whether in person or in the cyber world and we are honored to have you along with us in this quest.
We’ve got a long way to go, this is not enough but it’s a start. We have more kids to reach and we need you to do it. Thank you to those of you who who’ve donated and volunteered in the past. Please consider donating again or for the first time. Know a potential coach or kids who need our curriculum? Send them our way! Thanks ahead of time for all you've done to keep our work moving forward.
-Heidi Boynton, Executive Director *Photo credit Robby Klein/ESPN Images
Mini Mermaids and Young Tritons start their session at Stoddard Elementary in Blackfoot, Idaho! Video courtesy of EastIdahoNews.com
Allison is a mom, fitness bootcamp instructor, mountain bike coach, administrative assistant at Mount Hermon in Felton, CA. She is also a 3rd year MMRC coach. Here is what she had to say about her experience:
"I am passionate about being active with my family and by myself. Whatever that may looks like- hiking, running, gardening, playing in a field, biking, living room dance parties. I am also passionate about helping others (and myself) live out the truth of who they are and who they are created to be. So of course when I first heard about Mini Mermaids, it was a no-brainer that it was a program I wanted to be a part of. I wanted to be able to show the girls that moving their bodies outside can be fun. They can do it with their friends, talk about their day, their dreams, their fears, all while running and walking. I wanted to be able to 'shine a light' on all the wonderful things that are true, special and unique about each of the girls. The story of Mini Mermaid and Siren was a perfect platform to get into conversations with the very same girls my 2 daughters go to school with. I loved the base that each curriculum was written off of; teaching the girls tools to handle and overcome all the thoughts and emotions that come with being a kid."
Would you like to help us expand? We are looking for volunteers to put up flyers and distribute marketing materials. You can be located ANYWHERE for this opportunity. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested!
Sessions begin the week of September 30 and
end at the Morgan Hill 5k on October 16
Sessions begin the week of October 3 and
end at the Mermaid San Francisco 5k on November 1
Thanks to these race partners for our current and upcoming sessions. Mini Mermaids and Young Tritons will discover the finish line is just the beginning because of you.