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Hearing Our Children

June 2021

Project Description

This project is a child centered Covid response workshop facilitated by community teens with adult oversight. As part of their time together, the participants will create a project of their own design that will be shared.  

As part of a lay-led phone outreach project with members of the community, we learned about parental concerns for their children. Knowing that children do not always share their feelings with parents, we see this project as a chance for children to release and reflect upon what they have been carrying inside over this past year. My conversations with a number of mental health professionals confirmed the need and helped identify the parameters that need to be set should the project go forward.

This project is another way in which Tehillah’s belief that each of us needs to be seen and heard can be realized. This is more important than ever, even as we begin to come out of isolation.

Here are the steps:

  • Consulted with professionals (mental health & educators, done)
  • Held in depth conversation with parent to test out concept (done)
  • Meet with teen facilitators and monitoring adult to outline plan
  • Call families, directly inviting their children to join (this will be a multi-age project)
  • First session: get to know who is in the room and begin the conversations
  • Sessions 2-4: follow the children’s lead in creating response
  • Share the resulting art/video/musical offering (to be defined by the participants)

We will be calling families directly. If they wish to invite other families in, they are more than welcome to extend the project beyond Tehillah families. Parents will have no responsibilities other than providing computer access for their children.

We will all be changed coming out of Covid. We believe that this initiative will strengthen ties within the community and beyond at a time when people will feel the weight of the past year and will need to reconnect and to reflect. “Hearing our Children” will provide a focal point for that reflection.

This project further amplifies our belief that each member of the community has a voice and that by working together that voice is strengthened, and much can be achieved. Having our children lead empowers everyone.

We have learned how talented and committed our teens are in working with both older and younger members of the community. Whenever asked, they step forward, for projects large and small.

From our conversations with educators (teachers of teachers), mental health professionals and of course, parents, we understand that what we are envisioning is needed. We hope that we Congregation Tehillah Hearing Our Children Project Description 2 will arrive at a model that can be shared with others, as Tehillah is recognized for its willingness to test new ideas.

Serving as president of The Association of Rabbis and Cantors, and through my other professional associations ,nothing like this has been shared. This idea evolved through the phone calls made by one of my lay volunteers and her recognition of the need. I followed up by having conversations with mental health professionals, who work with children. Based on what I know, I have not heard of anything similar to this project.

Wed, September 22 2021 16 Tishrei 5782