Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Healthy minds, bodies and souls...

Regular weekly activities in our Youth Capacity Building Programme include exercises to keep the minds, bodies and souls of our ASAS youth group functioning at peak level.

Remember, the majority spend more than 20 hours each week in our training programme here at Hummingbird, besides their normal 20-hour school week and their usual participation in artistic, cultural or sporting activities here. To say the least, a busy week for most of them and one that requires their full attention most of the time.

With such busy weeks, I’m sure it’s really tempting to just fall asleep during a quiet moment of meditation for Jefferson (below) and the rest of our youth group.

Luckily, keeping fit is more or less a “life philosophy” for many of the young people who frequent our Street Migration Prevention Programme at Hummingbird, where their participation in sporting and cultural activities such as football, Capoeira, break- and street dancing keep most of them on their toes and where stretching out tired muscles before each training session demands a rather well-prepared body.

16-year old Willian has been a Capoeirist at Hummingbird since he was 11 years old so he should have no problem raising those legs to new heights.

17-year old Felipe has been practising Break dance at Hummingbird since he was 12 years old and has always kept a well-synchronized mind and body to tackle all those demanding dance steps.

Keeping a high energy level is something of a necessity when tackling the lives of more than 600 at-risk kids who today form part of The Hummingbird Project.

Brazilian public schools in the urban periphery of São Paulo are not exactly reknowned for their discipline and concentrated learning methodologies and as many of our children already come from rather undisciplined homes, their uncontrollable energy overflow can sometimes be enough for any Doctor to prescribe Ritalin in large doses. We of course prefer other methods of keeping our kids under control and these exercises are very much a part of our chest of natural “antidotes” to help us guide that energy in the right direction.

Calm and well-balanced youth leaders help to sustain a more positive and productive atmosphere at Hummingbird.

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