Fall and winter are full of holidays across cultures and religions. This year, our counselors commemorated many of these holidays in unique ways.
At the end of October, one of our counselors in Washington Heights used an art activity where young people made their own papel picado to honor their family members who have passed. This was done in celebration of Dia De Los Muertos, a traditional Mexican holiday, and was used to help our participants process grief and loss through art.
In late November, another one of our counselors led a gratitude scavenger hunt in advance of Thanksgiving. Students were encouraged to find things in nature, in their relationships, and within themselves to be thankful for. They also wrote letters of gratitude to people in their lives who they were thankful for to encourage positive, healthy relationships.
As we get into December, one of our counselors is also promoting the spirit of the season by encouraging small words and acts of kindness among students and school staff. On the “take what you need” side of the board, peer leaders are leaving handwritten messages in envelopes that anyone in the school can pick up and keep if they need a boost of positivity to get through their day. On the “give what you can” side of the board, small tasks are being placed to create a kindness in someone else’s day – such as holding the door open for someone, complimenting a friend, and more – that anyone in the school can pick up and commit to doing.