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Mental & Emotional Wellness

“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb." --Mary Oliver

In the second grade, there was a girl in my class who had a rare disease. Her body didn't signal to her when it was experiencing pain, and as a result, her skin was littered with bruises and wounds. If she was touching something hot, she wouldn't know to take her hand off to protect herself.

Pain has a very necessary role in protecting us from harm, and the same is true when we feel emotions like anger, frustration, anxiety, and sadness. They are very important to us because they signal to us that something doesn't feel right. And just as we would remove our hands from the hot stove, we are wired to respond to protect ourselves.

We learn how to respond to pain differently, but many of us have not learned healthy ways to cope with the pain. As important adults in our children's and families' lives, it is very important for us to do the self work to learn how to role model healthy responses to stress, anger, and anxiety in ways that allow us to feel and move through those emotions without harming others or ourselves even more along the way. But before we move toward healing, we must dress our wounds - nurture them, sing to them, wrap them in love, and give ourselves grace because we don't have control over what causes us harm. We also need to practice and role model agency so we may find our voices to ask for help to move out of harm's way so we are not hurt again, which will ultimately lead to deeper healing.

Mental and emotional wellness looks different for everyone and we require different dressings to heal to state of well-being.

  • What does mental and emotional wellness look like for you?

  • What do you need to get there?

  • Have you shared your needs with your team so they can help you strive to thrive?



  • This week, Hikone had a visit from Westbound Situation- they were amazing, could play anything, and the campers even got to strum a little on their instruments

  • Brick and Creekside got a visit from Duo 1717. They even emailed a birthday song to us for one of our campers!

Thank you to the Great Lakes Performing Artist Association for sponsoring these group visits!

Check out Westbound Situation and Duo 1717 at this year's A2 Summer Festival:


  • Our kiddos at Hikone also had a visit from the Querijeros, who set up a free book fair; each student got to choose 3 new books and some goodies to take home

  • Students across all sites worked on poems titled, "The Best Part of Me"



  • Welcome Paige Swanson and Shelby Banks to CAN as two of our new Year-Long VISTAs! They will begin July 6 and will be making their rounds to visit our sites in the next couple of weeks.

  • July Babies -- it's almost you're birthday! If you cross paths with this person next month, be sure to wish them a big happy birthday:

    • Sherrie Greenleaf (CAN Bookkeeper) - July 7

    • Yakirah Mitchel (Brick Summer Program Facilitator) - July 16

    • Brenna Wayne (Year-Long AmeriCorps VISTA) - July 20

    • Carissa Smith (Salesforce Admin Intern) - July 21

    • Paige Ampey (Director of Volunteers) - July 25


Tips & Tidbits

This Week's Strive to Thrive Theme

Mental & Emotional Wellness

  • Mindfulness Focus: Basic Breathing, Feelings Circle, Drawing to Manage Emotions

  • Thematic Projects: Inside Out, Music Connection & Drawing Zone, Worry Friends, My Foundation

Additional activities with Daily Discoveries:

  • DIY Tessellations

  • Human & Civil Rights Hop

  • Word Hopscotch

  • Playful Play-dough

  • Fraction Connect Four

  • Facts vs. Opinions

  • Vocabulary Charades

  • Bouncy Ball Madness

A Look-back at Orientation Topics

Educational Summer Camp Overview 2021

  • Why Wellness?

  • How to Read & Interpret Lessons

  • Tips for Lesson Delivery & Classroom Management

  • Student-Centered Learning

  • Understanding Student Behaviors

Access Your Online Training Materials

Access The Orientation Materials


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Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments (or highlights, announcements, etc.), please email Katie at

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