Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Session 18 Goodbyes

Throughout the week prior to our last session on Thursday group members had been asking me about this session. Although I had reminded them for the past several weeks about when the last meeting would be, they continued to comment about it and when doing so seemed to hope I would extend the program or change the ending. J

As we started our meeting I gave an outline of what the plan was and started with a discussion about the movie. Several group members who had missed the previous session were able to attend and this was a good opportunity for them to get a review. H3 thought it was a good idea to get animals to help the kids. S1 mentioned that she noticed that the animals in the movie were similar to that of the Manadoob. L1 who had been sick participated whole heartedly and shared that she found the movie to be very inspiring.
Previous to this week the group seemed united in the interest to always keep reading, they loved the book and wanted to read extra each meeting, however today felt a little bit different. Several mentioned as we began to read chapter 28 that it was the last and made sure I noticed their sad faces.

We completed the Manadoob survey and celebrated with some snacks and mask making. While creating our masks I asked if anyone would like to talk more about Manadoob and their experience, and after everyone expressed interest we each took a turn. H2 said that Manadoob was really fun for her and she learned a lot about others. L2 shared openly that at first he wasn’t really sure about the program but chose to stay and got used to it. T said she liked it from the start, she made friends which is something she shared she usually doesn’t do easily and got the chance to share things she didn’t feel she could outside of group. S1 wasn’t too sure at first and didn’t really like Manadoob, she didn’t really know anyone and now is more comfortable and didn’t want it to end. K simply said that “It was awesome!” H3 did a drum roll on the table, making the group laugh, and agreed with K, that Manadoob had been awesome! H1 seemed very genuine in his response that he thought the story was good. He shared that Manadoob meant a lot to him and it taught him a lot about himself. I appreciated hearing this from him as I feel he is hard to read at times. L1 liked the group, she was able to build trust and share openly. She enjoyed being part of a group where everyone was there because they wanted to be.

We had a great time working on our masks and had fun taking several pictures. I handed out certificates of completion to the group and when it was time to go many thanked me for the snacks and the program. I had an amazing time getting to know these Club Members on a more personal level and I am excited to watch the friendships they have created in Manadoob continue to develop. I have no doubt this group of kids will do great things and spread the word about Manadoob throughout the Club. Several expressed interest in going through it again next year; I told them this wasn’t a possibility but that we could further discuss the opportunity to help with the group. I hope to have this year’s Manadoob graduates assist at times next year and think it would really add to the program if we were able to do a project benefitting out local humane society or something similar. We will see what next year brings!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Session 17 Patience

This week each of us shared our favorite Manadoob character to get started. I thought this might be a good way to prepare for our next session when we create our masks of a favorite character. I reminded our group that next week is our final meeting and heard from several that they weren’t happy about this. T and H3 like Griff Bob best because of his humor, K likes Uma Lily because she is part dolphin, and S1 agreed adding that she thinks Uma Lily is honest and wise like herself. Yama Cruz is L1’a favorite because of the patience he shows with Wella. H2’s favorite is Latona Maya because of her unique mix of a pig and a pony.

Last week we left off before doing chapter 26: Patience in the workbook, so we started there discussing the Nairi stone and its meaning. We each shared one thing to be patient about. For T and K they both feel they could be more patient about their birthdays. S1 wants to be more patient about earning money; H3 admitted he could be more patient about waiting for Thursdays. When I asked him why Thursdays, he replied that he looks forward to Manadoob! H2 wants to show more patience towards others, especially when they interrupt. L1 shared she is feeling impatient about an upcoming memorial on spring break for her bunny that passed away; each year her family gets together to hold a small remembrance of her bunny at this time. We agreed that keeping the Naira stone close may be helpful and after reading the moobiki hint L1 and S1 whispered to one another and smiled. When I looked toward them L1 smiled and asked why they only get one stone to share, that she needs several in her family. Everyone in group started laughing about this and agreed that at times multiple stones may be helpful in this area. I appreciate the relationship L1 and S1 are creating; they have been sitting next to one another and sometimes whisper amongst themselves during breaks in group. I hope to see this friendship continue to develop after Manadoob as well.

We read through chapter 27 together and watched the video Kids & Animals – A Healing Partnership. Next week will be a very busy session as well, and I hope to discuss the video and finish chapter 28. The last part of our session will be spent working on our masks and having some snacks to celebrate our group. J

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Session 16

Today was Valentines Day and the kids seemed very aware of this fact so I chose to tie a bit of that into the lesson; we each shared one thing we LOVE about our lives to start off the day. S1 loves that she has a good mom and dad, T loves her family, H3 loves his awesome time in Manadoob, L2 still loves the courage he showed to express his feelings to dad, and M listed the Club, Manadoob, and her family. I shared my love for my job and K chose to forgo sharing at this time.

We worked through chapter 22: Thankfulness, which many of the group thought would be more appropriate at Thanksgiving. Interesting that so much of a person’s feelings and habits can be tied to a holiday or any specific day for that matter. So we broke this habit and on Valentines Day, instead of Thanksgiving, chose to share about what we are thankful for in our lives. Everyone was very excited to finish their windsocks by adding several statements about these things and be able to take them home. It didn’t really surprise me when several group members chose to wear them instead as hats. All that candy was setting in and the group was feeling silly! I look forward to asking next week what became of the windsocks/hats after group.

It seemed very fitting to move on to chapter 23: Humor after the windsocks became hats. We brought out the Moobia stone Rahwa and H3 instructed us to “let it flow.” We thought about things that make us laugh and cheer us up when we are feeling down. Some of our experiences included a friend singing a funny song, tickling, helping animals, jokes, and taking time alone. We took in the moobiki hint and moved on to talk about judgment. As we read through the chapter there were gasps and sounds of surprise when Ga-loom shared his fear of being alone rather than intent to be scary. I loved this moment, and as we finished reading the group seemed content with this realization. After doing some reflecting we were all able to think of a time when we were maybe too quick to judge someone or something else. However, we instead shared how we had felt in the past when we had been judged by others. In short, it doesn’t feel good; we don’t like it, and agreed to give people and animals more of a chance before creating opinions and judgments such as those created about lonely Ga-loom.

We did a quick time check and chose to use the reaming few minutes to continue on reading with the hope of finishing chapter 25: Confidence and reading through chapter 26: Patience. We created a list together of the things our group felt helped Wella become more confident. Our list consisted of things like helping Zack, learning to express her feelings in a healthy way, the Moobia stones, facing her fear of Ga-loom and in return getting better rest, that Zack was nice to Wella, and doing better in school. Next week it will be one to chapter 26 and then one last session afterwards.

The group really enjoyed being able to explore their Moobia stones and seemed excited to read through several chapters throughout the day. We were able to make some great progress and all of the credit goes to the hard work and focus of our group. I notice I no longer need to ask for volunteers to read because before I get a chance members are asking me if they can first. I see the change in our group each time we meet, they have taken ownership of this group and often when they raise their hands and I call on no one, someone will whisper a reminder, “This is our group we don’t have to do that.” I started this earlier on because I don’t want to be seen only as the adult in the room, I felt it would be more effective if I was also a learner, working alongside them. This is not to say that I don’t step in and help facilitate at times and share the plan for the day but this small group is a great opportunity for each member to practice respecting one another and to be self monitoring in their sharing. Another aspect of this that I find helpful is that they stay engaged in the conversation, they cannot just raise their hand and check out, to know when to share they must be listening.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Session 15 Courage

This week was very different from last week, our group had much more positive energy and I would say most definitely a case of the giggles. We did check in by picking a stone that represented our thoughts or feelings for that day. At the end of group we each shared one statement including the meaning of that stone to explain our choice.

We continued our discussion on forgiveness and what this means for each of us. A consensus was reached about whether or not we feel able to forgive someone who has lied and apologized for it.  We decided that people make mistakes and if they apologize sincerely they deserve a second chance, but that it  may be different if the behavior is a pattern. T brought up the example of the boy who cried wolf and shared the story with the group to illustrate this point.

On to chapter 21: Anger.  In this chapter we learned about the Amara stone of courage and talked about how we can act with courage in our lives.

S1 felt that she could try helping someone who looks down. This would be courageous for her because she feels shy.
K thought that she could stand up for herself more.
T wants to try more to meet new people.
L2 also wanted to stand up for himself.  He shared that he had stood up for himself recently and it made him feel happy and brave, but chose not to share the details in group.
M want to have courage when she gets older, and was worried about what it will be like.
As we continued to talk and bring in examples of how we had acted with courage in the past H2 struggled to share a memory of this. S1 asked if she could she could share something for H2 and told us she felt H2 has showed courage a few weeks back when she shared even though she was feeling worried. I pointed out to the group that in that moment S1 had just met her goal for showing courage and this realization resulted in a giant smile across S1’s face.

We wrote down three things that make us feel angry, stood up, and as a group yelled them as loud as we could. What a change from this group in just a couple of weeks. Everyone participated with courage in this activity!

We read chapter 22 in the book but ran out of time to start the workbook portion. Each of us shared our statement about the moobia stone we had picked. L2 shared about how he had picked Rahwa because he felt thankful for the chance to spend more time with his mom. He was able to stand up for himself and express to his parents who he wanted to stay with for awhile. L2 had initially not wanted to share this with the group and for whatever reason he chose to share anyway. All this courage talk must have paid off!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Session 14: Tuli

Today we started our session by taking a few deeps breaths, stretching, and taking a seat.  We had a discussion about the experience of putting our worries in a bag and keeping them somewhere safe while sleeping. Several group members felt there was no change, while for others there was a different feeling about it. M told the group how she when she had put her worries somewhere safe it was easier for her to forget about them. H3 was worried about not deliberately putting them somewhere safe because he had forgotten them in his mom’s car, but when he looked at them again later he did feel better.

After a few minutes of sharing I felt like the group was really struggling to stay engaged so we stood up and shook it all out. Most of our group was hesitant today to let loose and be silly and I asked them about this. I received feedback confirming from almost everyone that they were feeling like it had been an off day. Some were tired, feeling down, too much to do, etc. S1 shared a technique she uses when she is feeling this way, taking three very deep breaths and letting her hands rest in her lap. After a little bit of encouragement she led the group in this exercise and we created a plan for the rest of our meeting.

We then talked a little bit about the Tuli stone. H3 was able to recite the definition without even looking at his book, reminding us of the importance to trust and believe in ourselves. M seemed disappointed because she forgot to carry it with her so I asked that she try and think about a day it might have been helpful and what that would have been like. She shared a couple examples and that she wanted to work on remembering for next week. T took it skating with her one day and remembered continually checking to make sure she hadn’t lost it. She felt that having it with her helped her believe she could skate faster. S1 told us that she didn’t tell or show anyone her stone but kept it in her pocket for a day. She told us that it made her smile when she reached to see if it was there and felt like maybe it pushed her to try and be happier. H3 was very proud of his Tuli stone, sharing that he took it to the before school program he attends and presented it during share time. I love H3’s enthusiasm and openness to really dive in to Manadoob!

As I have mentioned in the past few posts the group is really into the story and always asking if we will be reading. We read chapter 20 and learned about how Zack found out he is adopted and all of the feelings that accompanied this discovery. Our group had much to say about this issue and varying opinions, which seemed to change as our discussion continued. I enjoyed this process of changing opinions because it tells me they are really hearing one another and willing to see an issue from a different perspective than their own. It was interesting to me how the focus from each youth was initially to discuss the adoption rather the lie about the birth certificate and adoption.

While we started the day’s session with a bit of an off day, the group ended up having a great session and coming together in the end.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Session 13

Today we checked in by using a number scale. Each member held up on their fingers with what number they felt represented them today. The scale was from 0-5, with zero being the worst they could imagine feeling and five being the best. When we did this I saw no 5’s among our group but many 2’s and 3’s. We said nothing more about our numbers at that point but agreed to come back to it later if we wanted to.

We started the day by catching up in the workbook for chapter 17: No One is Perfect. It was difficult to list 3 weaknesses for many of the members; we spent quite a  bit of our time here, which is great because I believe most were really putting some thought into this. I asked each person to share just one of those weaknesses. Before we started I reassured them that I realize it may be difficult and our group is confidential and should be a safe place to share. In agreement we continued and noticed some similarities among us. L1 bravely started and told us she feels math is a weakness for her, her plan is to continue practicing during the summer. T feels like she doesn’t always listen to her mom and wants to instead start listening to her. M shared at this point that she felt the same as T and also wants to try harder to stop and listen to her mom. S1 related to L1 that math has been tough for her and she is also going to work hard and practice often. She spoke about getting help at the Club from one of the teens and feeling better about it. K feels she could listen more to her mom as well, she wants to try to understand more and change how she reacts when asked to help out around the house. H3 told us that he doesn’t always tell the truth and wants to put more effort into thinking before he speaks so that maybe he will catch himself. S2 feels uncomfortable speaking in front of large groups and plans to work on this by using opportunities to speak in front of smaller groups as practice.

 A large part of our conversation surrounded H2 when she asked if she could pass. I didn’t want her to pass because I felt like she had been a little bit disengaged already today and really wanted her to connect with the group and create some friendships. I thought for a moment and suggested that she ask our group. S1 was the first to speak up and provide feedback, she told H2 that she really likes to listen to others because she feels like then she may be able to help. L1 suggested that H2 give herself a limit of how many times she can pass per month. H2 told us she felt she wrote things that were really personal and could come up with a less personal example to share. This was great problem solving by the group.

 I feel like I say it every week but these are amazing kids! They supported one another and H2 challenged herself to feel vulnerable. She shared she struggles to ask permission to pet people’s animals. She thinks this may be rude and wants to work on being more patient and asking permission. At first I felt like H2 had dodged a bullet and was avoiding really answering the question but as I continue to think about it I need to remember that if she really feels strongly about it, that’s what matters. This could translate into other areas of her life as well. L1 said that it felt good to share and put it out there.

We then read chapter 18 and 19; they are really into this book and now when we stop to do workbook it’s not only L1 who gives me a sour face about it. The group seemed pretty excited to be taking something home and everyone was participating well in writing down worries to take with them .We set some ground rules for next session so that they felt comfortable to write whatever they wanted. For this we would only share about the experience of how it felt to write down our worries and put them somewhere safe for a night. They could share a worry if they want to but don’t need to.

We had a quick discussion about what to do with our remaining time as this session was flying by. I didn’t want them to be overwhelmed with two think and do assignments and gave the choice to them. Everyone was up for the challenge and wanted to do the activity for chapter 19 as well. We got out our Tuli stones and discussed our thoughts for next session.

I suggested that we continue to write things in our notebook that are personal if that’s what we feel we need. I reminded them that it is a safe place to write anything they feel and I will not look in them without permission. To avoid any group member feeling that they can’t share about what they write I suggested that if they are using it to write things they feel they would like to keep to themselves always be prepared with one thing they feel comfortable sharing. This way each of us can have a safe place to get out our feelings but can also engage in group discussions.

Next time we will have discussion about each experience and if we have time move on to chapter 20: Forgiveness.  Although our time was up all wanted to stay and talk a little bit about their numbers. Each member shared and did so without raising hands and waiting for me to lead! This was a great session for us!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Acceptance Session 12

Today we started with a check in of what animal each member of the group felt like. I can feel the kids start to break lose when we do this, it seems like it may be easier for them to express how they feel when it isn't so direct. I will list what animals they chose; at the end of our session we came together before leaving and went around the table so that each member could share why they had picked their animal.

L2 – sloth, he felt slow and tired this morning
M – dog, she felt excited and wild
S1 – puffer fish, she thinks they look funny and she had felt funny and happy
L1 – wolf pulling a sled, L1 felt like she had a lot to accomplish and felt behind.  She said she felt like she was pushing snow out of the way and was not meant for the jobs she needed to do.
H2 – dragon, she felt awesome and ready for a challenge and at the same time was feeling short tempered
H1 – death lyger (which he described is a mythical creature), he felt like a mythical creature today because his friend from school was sick and he felt unseen and a little bit alone
H3 – roasted chicken, this would fall more in the food category in my opinion but he likes roasted chicken and felt awesome and likable 
T– turtle, she felt slow and tired
K – horse, K shared that she thinks horses have good and bad days just like her.  K also shared that when she is at the Club and school she feels like a wild and free horse, and at home recently she has been feeling differently.

It’s exciting to see how our group is becoming more comfortable with one another and really sharing how they are feeling. I appreciate the creativity in their answers and although some may not be actual animals, I felt as long as they were able to tie it in and explain their thoughts and feelings it didn’t really matter.  In the end they were speaking openly to one another and relating in a positive way.
We had two group members who still needed a chance to share about their experience giving away their “I believe “ charms so we started with this after check in.

S1 – gave one charm to a friend who she thought it would help to feel better.  She gave her second charm to a teen here at the Club, Jenny, who recently started working with S1 in math. She said she thought it was really nice of Jenny to help her and that Jenny was happy to receive the charm.  On a side note, I have noticed S1’s attitude change quite bit in the last two weeks since receiving individual help in math, she seems happier to come to Manadoob and told me it’s because she feels good she got her homework done!
L2 – gave his first charm to his mom who he shared thought it was sweet. He gave his second charm to his mom as well, but to pass on to her boss for him. He told us that she is very sick and thought it might help. His mom informed him that her boss was thankful for the charm.

When discussing questions one and two in chapter 16, Acceptance, L1 shared that when something is especially hard to accept she tries to think about it in a different way and sometimes this helps her to keep going. She shared that one thing she has accepted is her bunny dying, as she has shared with us in a past session.  L1 told the group that her mom had made her a stuffed animal bunny to help her. H2 said that moving to Bend was hard for her because she moved away from her family and the coast which she feels connected to. H1 chose to give some advice (which related to the Moobiki hint) that no one else can control your life but you, that it is up to each person to choose to react or accept things. M agreed with H1 by saying she liked that. (This was great, M stayed very focused and contributed in an appropriate way, I gave her a thumbs up and she responded with a giant smile on her face). S1 told about how winning or losing sports has been hard for her to accept. Her mom asks her to play at least one sport each year and when she was very young she felt it was hard to really understand winning and losing and the feelings with each. L2 and H3 related to one another in what they chose to share; L2 had a close friend move away from him when he was younger and H3 was a friend who moved away from another. M shared a time when it was hard to accept a fight with a friend because it was difficult for her to understand it.  T described moving away from a friend and how her friend had given her a charm that made it easier for T to accept moving.

Again, everyone had something great to say during our discussion about self talk when kids bully and what we should do when we witness the bullying of a person or animal. L1 tries to be really nice to a person if they are bullying. I asked the group if they had ever heard the term “kill with kindness” and they all answered with nods and yes’s. T shared a very insightful thought that maybe the person bullying is being treated that way at home or somewhere else and we talked about this for a few minutes. We agreed that trying to understand may be a nice way to help someone. K felt very strongly that if she thought it was safe to do so she would try to step in and stop the bullying. H1 would try to give advice he has in the past given to his brother, which was if you are angry try to find another way to express it like using a punching bag. H2 feels like she bullies back when she sees bullying. She says that she tries to make them understand how it feels. I asked if she wanted some support from the group about this in the form of advice and she stated that she just wanted to share it and get it out. H2 is consistently brave in her sharing with the group and I hope this will continue. I hope that this group will help H2 to become more trusting of others and open to the possibility of positive outcomes rather than expecting the worst. L1 shared a story about her experience at a local agency serving homeless animals where she was able to advocate for an animal she felt needed more medical attention. She expressed her happiness to be able to take on this role and explained the steps she took to do this, including voicing her opinion with the support of a trusted adult.

Next week we will start Chapter 17 in the workbook and continue on reading if we have time. I am grateful to be able to share these experiences with this group of Club Members. I am proud to see them starting to take ownership of this group and really reach out to one another.