"Youth Inspiring Kindness" is a new Summer Youth Program coming to the Weyburn Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association. The free program will run Thursdays throughout summer, for youths ages 10 to 13.

"We have done summer programming in the past, but it was our leadership program and this is completely different and completely new. It's a new format and new activities, so we just wanted to try out something different and are really looking forward to it," shared Youth Program Coordinator Heidi Vogel.

The program is about empowering youth through activity and community engagement.

"Community engagement is a big focus for us right now. So we thought what better pairing than inspiring kindness through youth in our own community," she said. 

Youths can be registered for one, a few, or all of the sessions, which will take place from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. on July 11th, 18th, and 25th, as well as August 1st, 8th, and 15th.

"Every session has a different activity and is basically anything that can spread positive messaging, so we're going to do some rock painting, like the kindness rocks. We'll paint them at the centre, and then we are going to walk downtown and put them in the beautiful flower beds downtown. We'll do button making, putting some positive messaging on some buttons, and then going downtown and handing them out to people kind of like the random acts of kindness. We are going to make some nice cards with some positive messaging and take them over to the Seniors Centre right by our building, and for the sidewalk chalk messaging we'll be going down to Don Mitchell Park, where all the young kiddos are, and taking some chalk with us and having them join in and spreading some kindness through arts on our local sidewalks."

The last two projects involve creating take-home projects.

"Self-soothing student kits are based on self-care, identifying different things that we can utilize, and then we'll have all the products here that they can try out, and then whatever they decide is best for them, they can put those in their kits and that will all go home with them," explained Vogel. "The gratitude jars I have done previously, and I've done them myself, actually, and they are just such a cool experience to get to decorate them, and then the messaging behind that, I find it super powerful."

"The idea behind this is that we're all able to find gratitude in every single day, and it doesn't have to be something big. It can be something super small," she noted. 

Gratitude jars involve writing down, every day for a full year, something you're grateful for in your life.

"People get the wrong idea when they think to have like this amazing life, or you have to have all these things. But I know when I emptied that jar and then I read through it, some of it was so simple, it was like, 'I'm grateful for the sun shining today', 'I'm grateful that I got to have an afternoon nap today'. It can be just the most simple things, something you can be grateful for, and then it just creates that like positive mindset and positive energy about yourself."

"The whole idea is spreading the kindness, but being the one spreading the kindness also makes you feel good, so in the end it's a win-win situation for the kids and the community, and myself." 

Vogel said they do have limited space, but it is ideal for the purchase of supplies if they register at least a week in advance. To register, call the CMHA at 306-842-7959 or e-mail Vogel at heidiv@cmhask.com.