Earlier this summer, we started a non- profit…
We took a leap after a year of brainstorming and discussing the “What ifs.” Both of us have small children and a passion for the natural world. We both grew up similarly, in a rural town surrounded by opportunities for outdoor wonder and play. While witnessing our own personal growth through meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practices we decided that there was a need to share our knowledge with children by bringing them back into the world of Mother Nature, the best playground ever created.
Wonder & Grow: Mindful Nature Experience, Inc. was born!
Our mission is:
Wonder & Grow: Mindful Nature Experience ignites a child’s sense of wonder while growing their scientific understanding and connection with the natural world through curiosity-driven exploration and mindfulness practices.
Oh, the wonder we did create! In late summer and early fall (because of a Try This West Virginia mini-grant) we held eight classes in our region. Each class was about an hour long and opened with a yoga practice, followed by a hands-on activity such as building fox dens, sink or float, bubble making, or working with soil to create masterpieces. Our students also experienced time in reflection through nature journaling in our “sit spots” and closed with breathwork. Each class brought out new joy and creativity among our groups! We wrapped up our first season on October 2, and have been asked to return in the spring for eight additional classes. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to do that unless we can raise the money to cover the costs of supplies, travel, training, promotional costs, and operational expenses. We are currently providing services free of charge and would like to make this a full-time gig with staffing.
Think of your childhood…where do your best memories take place? We're guessing outside. Wonder & Grow: Mindful Nature Experience wants to bring nature back into childhood. We want to change the statistic that says the average kid only spends seven minutes outside a day. We want to help kids in a rural area have more tools in their toolbox to deal with overwhelming thoughts, too much testing, or problems at home. You can help us do that with a donation of any amount. We have a goal to raise $15,000 by April 2019. When we reach our goal, your contribution will help in the following ways.
Provide 25 scholarships to 4th-grade students at Beverly Elementary School in Randolph County West Virginia to participate in eight Wonder & Grow classes
Two team members from Wonder & Grow will be able to complete the Level 2 Mindful Outdoor Leadership Training at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts (which includes approx. 75 hours of training)
Marketing to increase awareness of the Wonder & Grow program and expand into other schools in the region and state; social media marketing and printed materials are a priority. We need a diverse marketing tool-kit
Wonder & Grow will buy 100 Rite in the Rain nature journals that will be provided to kids attending the mindful nature experience sessions by March 2019. Journals will be used for recording nature observations and for self-reflection.
Wonder & Grow will develop handouts and offer DIY activities on how to integrate mindful nature experiences into classrooms, community centers, or at home that will be provided to parents, faculty, and community partners.
Immediate resources that will cover operational costs of the program such as travel, staffing, and planning.
You can make a donation on our website here: https://www.wonderandgrow.org/make-a-donation. If you can’t give, but still want to support our cause, please share our page with your friends, family members, and coworkers. We also have volunteer opportunities available. With more people aware of our cause, we’ll be one step closer to reaching not only our financial goal but to help children love and appreciate where they live and become stewards of their communities and the planet.
Our board of directors would like to thank you in advance for your support. May the forest be with you!
Yours in gratitude,
Kate & Valerie