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Service ideas with self-compassion

Self-compassion is developed through three main components: self-kindness, a sense of common humanity and mindfulness. Self-compassion is an important source of happiness and psychological well-being according to Dr. Kristin Neff, a pioneering researcher and author of the book “Self-Compassion.” The practice of self-compassion can help students overcome fear of failure and be more effective leaders in the world. Here are a few ways you can use service projects to teach self-compassion to club members.

Create new student welcome kits
Switching schools can be scary no matter what age you are. Help new students feel more comfortable by creating welcome kits. First, consult with teachers in the school to find out which supplies or materials would be most useful for incoming students. Next, encourage members to step inside the shoes of others by having a club meeting to discuss additional items they might like to see in a welcome kit of their own. Consider including a letter from the club explaining the purpose of the kit, basic school supplies, reassuring messages from K-Kids members, and items to relieve stress, like a stress ball or a mini journal. Once a supplies list has been created, decide as a club how kits should be packaged and distributed.

Host a movie night
Movies can serve as a powerful method to teach young people new concepts. First, be sure the club obtains permission to host the event from the school principal or community leader. Then, decide on a movie or documentary that shows examples of self-compassion. Check out a list of recommendations from Common Sense Media. Next, talk through important event details with K-Kids members, like whether the club should provide beverages and snacks, decorate the event space or pass out giveaways. Consider talking in a group about self-compassion and sharing personal insights before or after the movie. Ask K-Kids members if they would like to help facilitate the conversation.

Sponsor a speaker
Sometimes the best way to get a message across is to hear it in person. Help members find a leader in the community who is willing to come speak on the topic of self-compassion. Again, be sure to obtain permission to host the event from the school principal or community leader. Great places to start your search for a speaker include guidance counselor offices or local colleges and universities. As a club, discuss other event details, like who should introduce the speaker, allowing the speaker to pass out promotional items and offering a Q&A session or reception after the presentation. If the club has difficulty securing a speaker, another option is to develop a short workshop about ways young people can practice mindful self-compassion. Check out this list of ideas from the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC).
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