KidStrong | A Game of Happiness – Healthy Body and Mind
“Story Telling with a Hand Print”, “Little Zoo” “Clever Magical Board Game” … Fourteen students from NYU Shanghai volunteered with Shanghai Roots & Shoots in an art and crafts program that visited third graders at Tang Wan Migrant Elementary School in Minhang District, Shanghai. The volunteers used different forms of art and games – and students participated as individuals and in small teams- with the goal of promoting mental and emotional health amongst the children.
Migrant workers coming to work as laborers in Shanghai have limited education themselves, and due to the physical demands of their work (paired with low wages), rarely have time and resources to focus on their children’s upbringing. At the same time, there is finite support for mental health at school for these students. Recognizing a need for support, Shanghai Roots & Shoots worked with children’s counselors to design activities and games that provide an outlet for students’ pent-up frustrations and emotions, and encourage children to view life through a positive lens for their time in school and at home. The NYU Shanghai students used five activities tested and selected by child psychologists that have been proven to be well received by children of similar backgrounds.
After five weeks of the program, the children at Tang Wan Elementary School were grateful for their big brothers and big sisters for leading them through the arts and crafts sessions. The children felt the games brought emotional support and great joy, and look forward to seeing their college mentors again in the following semester. The NYU Shanghai volunteers were grateful to take part in observing and guiding the elementary school students, and were themselves filled with positive energy and a sense of fulfillment and determination after each visit to the school.
Excerpts from NYU Shanghai students’ feedback:
- “Through this program I learned to observe students’ behaviors and treat each student equally. I’m grateful to have earned their love and trust”
- “I became close with my students after five weeks of games and activities, they were willing to share their own stories with me about their life – both joys and fears – good news or bad. For me to be able to bring them joy was very rewarding”
- “To be in the first semester of my freshman year at college, and run into this group of children – it’s not something I ever imagined! Their gratitude, enthusiasm, and friendliness gave me a jolt. I learned where they could improve but separately saw their vitality and consideration: their smiling faces, their curious eyes, their applause and stomping feet. Their feedback for us was endless gratitude and thanks. “Sister, will you come back next time?” this phrase reached the depths of my heart and made my experience absolutely worth it!”