Met with my aunt and uncle yesterday to discuss our travel plans to Vietnam this summer. How exciting?! My uncle is Vietnamese so I will have the chance to meet his family and see the country. I am also planning some social/emotional activities for orphanages while I am there. I really wanted to somehow incorporate my mental health work in a meaningful way in the orphanages.
My long quest to find a book to read for the children that I thought could be culturally and socially appropriate finally led me to a lovely book called The Affirmation Weaver by Lori Lite. I wanted to find a book that could increase self esteem and an overall sense of self. Whether children are from the US in the foster care system, or in an orphanage in a third world nation, children who no longer reside with birth parents often have a sense of abandonment. What is wrong with me that I can’t live with my parents like other kids? Children are egocentric by nature, so children who are separated from birth parents often take this upon themselves, which is why I chose self-esteem as the topic.
I was very excited when I came across this book because it teaches children how to make positive self statements to decrease anxiety and increase self esteem. The characters were also culturally appropriate (dolphins and a crab- since the orphanage is just minutes from the beach). The affrimation examples are also very general, which I appreciated. My biggest challenge in finding a book for the orphanage was finding one with culturally and socially appropriate examples in the story. For example, I started looking for general feelings books but the examples were not relevant for these children (leaving parent when going to school, raining during a parade, opening presents on a birthday, etc.). How much we take for granted, right!?
I am also creating some activity pages to accompany the book and providing school/craft supplies for each child. My uncle is going to traslate the book text so that I can leave the book there after sharing it with them (which my uncle will also translate as I am reading the story). I am very excited for all of the planning that is to come! I will post activities as I get them more finalized and any feedback on activities that could be relevant is greatly appreciated. More information on The Affirmation Weaver can be found at http://www.stressfreekids.com/288/affirmation-weaver