News

Together through COVID

While the world is uniting in efforts to battle the problem we’re facing, we feel it is crucial to find ways to serve our community in the best possible manner through mindfulness in action. How individuals respond to an outbreak can depend on many factors but protecting those most vulnerable, bridging and providing immediate relief and recovery support is essential to our collective wellbeing.

As the spring of 2020 rolled in, the realization that the world was going to be in the grip of an unprecedented global crisis was quickly becoming the truth in all our minds. A spate of fresh cases of a new disease on the other side of the globe had snowballed into a global pandemic.

Now, more than ever, our community needed the practice of mindfulness to battle the anxiety and psychological strain of this new reality. To ensure that we continued to bring the mindfulness to our community, we moved all our programs and activities to virtual platforms. We made our resources available online for free for our community to use and share.

But we wished to do more; we wanted to try and provide tangible support to members of our community.

In May, Ivy Child set up an Emergency Relief Fund and with the help of fundraising efforts and generous donations to create a corpus for immediate financial support for our community. Over the last few months, we have achieved the following goals:

  • Executed $75,000 to teachers and youth ambassadors in Ivy Child International’s network and mobilize them to share practice, prevention management and wellness strategies to stop the spread of COVID-19 
  • Distribute 10000 masks and hygiene kits for free to our healthcare partners and families
  • Provide 250, $50 micro recovery grants to vulnerable families.

Furthermore, Ivy Child harnessed its community network and operational capacity to serve as the partner and administrator of The Yoga Alliance Foundation Emergency Relief Fund alongside the Yoga Alliance Foundation. The fund aimed at providing financial support to those within the community who were experiencing extreme economic hardship due to COVID-19.

  • The fund disbursed a minimum of $150 to a maximum of $1500 to yoga teachers whose livelihoods were impacted by COVID-19 globally.
  • The fund received applications from over 30 different countries and over 45 diverse cultures.
  • 85% of the applicants self identified as female.
  • Over 85% of applicants had lost 56% to 100% of their income due to the COVID-19.
  • 93% of applicants had a household income lower than $70,000 per year.

Stories of Resilience

In the course of Ivy Child and Yoga Alliance Foundation’s outreach during this period, we have constantly come across stories that give us an insight into the human condition at the moment; glimpses of unwavering strength, or of hope and positivity at the darkest but always stories of mindfulness and meditation helping them find their bearings in the negativity. Here are some excerpts from such stories.

  • So many things have been uncertain for me, but the virtual (yoga) studio gives me something to look forward to. It has brought so much comfort. Something as simple as yoga, from someone that felt so far away is now accessible to me in the privacy of my own home. This helps me hang on to hope. My fathers recovery seems so far away, but I know I have felt this way about other things that have somehow worked out.

    Mayra
  • In the face of COVID-19, we are challenged with self-isolation, financial and employment uncertainties and disruptions in our day to day lives. Both my parents are immigrants, seniors and have especially been experiencing stress that is debilitating and more seriously, dangerous for their health and well-being. Yoga is the practice of freedom. It is my practice that keeps me grounded and connected to the supreme reality, one which we are all living within. Knowing this, I have been able to connect with individuals across the world as we are collectively not only experiencing this, but also collectively healing together. Life is happening right this instant. Despite the situation and pandemic, we are all experiencing this together collectively.

    Amandeep
  • I continue to teach two weekly yoga classes online on a volunteer basis at no cost. Though this circumstance is not ideal, I am grateful to have this outlet to teach so that I can still connect with others and to not allow my teaching skills to get rusty. Deepening my practice with consistency and openness for knowledge and new experiences has helped me feel grounded and my heart at ease during these uncertain times.  

    Aileen
  • La practica del día me permite abrirme y recordar la paz que habita dentro mi, que soy mas que cuerpo, que hay mas que esta situación, que en calma y paz puedo librar si me lo permite, sonriendole a mi hijo y jugando con el, haciendo un tiempo productivo en casa, olvidando que es un encierro forzado, recordandome que es una oportunidad para limpiar y sanar mi mente, porque se presentan las sombras entre la incertidumbre y la practica me permite identificarlas, perdonar, sanarlas y desarrollarme, avanzar. No digo que es fácil, pero el yoga me permite recordarlo y facilita el proceso.

    Nuria
  • This is not the first time that the practice has helped me through a major life challenge. Eight years ago, I began my journey with fibromyalgia, and last year, I parted from my marriage of 21 years. When the COVID-19 crisis came our way, I was prepared to use my learned skills to ride yet another wave. Viewing the world’s situation, and then my own, through the lens of an observer empowered me with the compassion and ability necessary to give myself permission to feel, then heal.

    Terilouise
  • I had to live at my sisters for 3 months and my dad got sick and I had to take over the business. My brain went from working 1000% to 10% in a week. Taking it slowly. I learned that yoga helped me save my life during this time.

    Monica
Ivy Child TeamTogether through COVID
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Happy Juneteenth!

 

Happy #Juneteenth! Today commemorates June 19th, 1865, the day Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas to deliver the news to slaves that the Civil War had ended two years earlier, and they were free. It’s the oldest celebration commemorating the end of slavery in America.

However we know slavery has not ended it has only evolved. Activism is an act of love towards the freedom and liberation of our shared humanity. We stand together at this critical time with everyone around the world to combat racism and oppression.
Stand with us and take action today!

Here are some organizations that are on the frontlines right now. :
https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/
https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/
https://www.just-georgia.org/

26 Ways to Be in the Struggle Beyond the Streets :
https://issuu.com/nlc.sf.2014/docs/beyondthestreets_fina

Ivy ChildHappy Juneteenth!
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Black Lives Matter

We seek accountability for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the innumerable Black lives lost due to the horrific systems of oppression that are prevalent in our world today. As an organization and as people of color, we value and are devoted to our diverse communities and continue to serve through our programs and offerings that focus on equity and breaking down systemic imbalances. As we stand in solidarity and work to create spaces for healing for all, we wish to honor our front line activists who are tirelessly fighting to bring about structural change. We wish to contribute by sharing the importance of building more spaces for real conversations together that result in action. Abundant thanks to Craig Martin for offering a heartful conversation with our community on Mindfulness and Racial Justice.
 
 
 
Ivy ChildBlack Lives Matter
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Our COVID-19 Emergency Relief Response

Our Beloved Community,

We at Ivy Child understand that these are challenging and stressful times. Our hearts especially go out to our families and frontline partners most impacted by COVID-19. 

Sadly, we can expect the number of infections to rise—possibly along with our concern about what the future holds, and the stress related to uncertainty, anticipation, and fear can cause an adverse impact on our health. 

While the world is uniting in efforts to battle the problem we’re facing, we feel it is crucial to find ways to serve our community in the best possible manner through mindfulness practice. How individuals respond to an outbreak can depend on many external factors but our maintaining our wellbeing through practicing mindfulness is a powerful and universal coping tool for all. We encourage you to use and share some of the resources we have made available online for free.  

In honoring and prioritizing the health and well‐being of our community, we at Ivy Child have shifted all of our programs and activities to virtual platforms. For our partners and affiliates that serve as emergency sites, with limited access, we are working to find solutions together as this situation evolves. We recognize our program sites serve as safe havens to our community may access food, love, healthcare and enriching learning opportunities. We are working hard with our partners to collaborate to best meet the needs of our community honoring the state and federal guidelines. If you’d like to join forces with us to help our community during the COVID-19 crisis, please donate now to our Emergency Fund today.  

Ivy Child International has always worked to find ways to benefit the community through enhancing our wellbeing through mindfulness. We want you to know that we are here and will continue to support you through these trying times. Please feel free to connect with us as a partner and resource in this journey.

Within the next 2-5 months Ivy Child commits to the following, with the resources we have on hand in the short term. YOUR support through a one-time or sustainable recurring donation will help make it happen. 

  1. Execute $75,000 to teachers and youth ambassadors in Ivy Child International’s network and mobilize them to share practice, prevention management and wellness strategies to stop the spread of COVID-19 (‪July 1)
  2. Distribute the 10000 masks and hygiene kits for free to our healthcare partners and families (June 1‬)
  3. Provide 250, $50 micro recovery grants to vulnerable families (‪June 1)

We invite YOU to be a part of our long-term strategy:

  1. Work with our global network of teachers and partners to develop wellbeing toolkits and digital learning tools to build a culturally and linguistically responsive digital library of resources.
  2. Provide $1 million in direct funds, trainings and development resources to our community.

Abundant thanks for your unwavering support to our organization. Please be assured that despite these very challenging times, our mission, core values, and vision for global wellbeing will stay the same, and we will never give up on our fundamental belief in the power of peace. We look forward to working with you now and in the future to build a healthier world. 

May we all be safe and well as we shelter with our loved ones,  honoring the guidelines for distancing as an act of generosity and compassion towards all. 

Abundant thanks.

Warmly,

Rose and the Ivy Child Family

 

Ivy ChildOur COVID-19 Emergency Relief Response
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Essential Agent of Change Award

 

Ivy Child volunteer, Maria Thomas, with Eve Wilder – Coordinator of the Massachusetts Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Project at the MA Department of Public Health.

Ivy Child International receives Essential Agent of Change Award for enhancing social and emotional well being of children from Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Ivy ChildEssential Agent of Change Award
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Key to the City of Worcester, Massachusetts

Key to the City of Worcester, Massachusetts presented to Ivy Child for “Helping Each Child Achieve Their Best” by Mayor Joseph M. Petty.

Jenny Tran, Rose Felix Cratsley and Miranda Matias

(L to R) City Counselor Sarai Rivera, Noah Pavlov, Chef Asha Gomez, Rose Felix Cratsley and City Mayor Joseph M. Petty

Many thanks to the City of Worcester and our supporters who came from near and far for an amazing honor and beautiful evening!

Ivy ChildKey to the City of Worcester, Massachusetts
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Women Leading in Central MA: Rose Felix Cratsley, International Activist and Featured TEDx Speaker

Rose Felix Cratsley, Child Specialist, International Activist and Featured TEDx Speaker

 by Susan Wagner, GoLocalWorcester Contributor

“Enacting positive social change begins with a fruitful human revolution in one individual which will help achieve change in the destiny of a community and further, mobilize change for the future of all humanity.”

Rose Felix Cratsley and her daughter Laiya

Rose Felix Cratsley is a cross-cultural positive child specialist and the president of Ivy Child International.  Rose’s academic path has taken her to Boston University, University of Oxford, and Harvard University. Her professional and volunteer experiences have led her to a partnership with UNICEF and World Vision. In 2010, she was recognized by the Worcester Business Journal as one of the “40 Under Forty” emerging leaders in Central Massachusetts, named one of the young leaders pioneering global social change in 2011, and was named as a “Women’s Leader: Making a Difference” in 2012.

Cratsley realized at a very young age that her passion was working with young children. Her commitment to community and international humanitarian service evolved as a teenager, when she worked with Mother Theresa and the Sisters of Charity.  While serving slum dwellers in southern India, she taught art and music to children in villages. Over the past two years, she has worked with the victims of the natural disaster in Haiti, provided teacher/school training in the Dominican Republic, and lectured in the United States. Cratsley is a board member of the Center for Women and Enterprise.  However, her most cherished role is being the mother of two.

A Conversation with Rose Felix Cratsley

SW: You are the president of Ivy Child International. Can you talk a little bit about Ivy Child and what you do?

RC: Ivy Child International (Ivy Child’s) mission is to teach children, families and communities mindfulness, self-regulation, leadership and resilience to build healthy habits for life.  Our unique model of cross-cultural positive psychological services are vital in sustaining healthy communities. Through our evidence based curricula we address critical issues having an impact on society today including the escalating incidents of obesity, bullying, violence, depression, diabetes, pediatric cancer and other prevailing health conditions.  We realize this mission through partnerships with  hospitals, caregivers, educators, and community organizations.  Ivy Child remains committed to conquering challenges that arise in the evolving arena of mental health care.

SW: You were recently a featured speaker at the renowned worldwide Tedx events. What topic did you address and how can someone view it?

RC: The topic was Children Are the Best Ambassadors to Social Change: Developing children into mindful leaders through mindfulness based learning to inspire resilience. Children who will engage responsibly and impact global social change, creating a culture of peace and mastering the ability to navigate and persevere through the seasons of life. You can view it by logging on to Ivy Child’s homepage, http://ivychild.org/

SW: You are based in Worcester. Do you provide services regionally as well as nationally and internationally?

RC: We currently serve the Greater Worcester community and have active programs throughout the United States, South America, and Asia.  We are thrilled to be expanding to Afghanistan, Middle East in summer 2014.

SW: What are some of the things that Ivy Child has worked on or accomplished?

RC: Ivy Child International is a non-profit organization providing cross-cultural positive psychological services for children, families, and communities. We follow a non-pharmaceutical approach, focusing on skill building and emotional intelligence using positive mind work and action plans. We translate the vast academic research on cross-cultural positive psychology into practical solutions for this providing hands-on, direct care services to children and adolescents from our premier programs including yoga and mindfulness, anti-bullying and leadership and multicultural music and art education.

SW: Can you talk a little about being a first responder at the Boston Marathon bombings and the role that Ivy Child continues to play?

RC: Our Healing Hands Team which is the Ivy Child International Crisis Team provides emergency multilingual and multicultural mental health services in the face of devastation, due to natural causes or otherwise.  We offered our services throughout several sites in Boston serving families dealing with primary and secondary trauma and grief post-bombings. We have committed to volunteer our services for kids in Boston during this period of recovery.  It was an honor to be alongside an incredible team of first responders. It was truly humbling to hear the community referring to Ivy Child International as “the Red Cross for Children’s Mental Health.”

SW: What are your future plans for the organization

RC: Ivy Child plans to change the face of mental health globally and have active sites and program offerings in every continent worldwide.

SW: How has becoming a mother changed your life and influenced the work that you do?

RC: Being a mother is the inspiration of everything I do and my greatest passion and joy.  Since my children have been born, I find myself looking daily at ways to better myself and the world around me. Looking at the world through the eyes of the child is the most beautiful thing you can do. Providing children with a haven and a place where they can share helps them develop the ability to overcome even the most difficult of circumstances. Drawing on that inner strength and inner resources is so essential when teaching children that they hold the key to their own happiness. Being a parent and teaching my own children to learn to deal with life’s difficulties while building healthy habits for life is so important. It constantly reconfirms that the work we do at Ivy Child is essential for the well being of every child.

SW: How can the community help?

RC: There are many ways the community can help from giving and sharing as an individual, family, workplace or community.   No contribution is too small and can truly make a difference in improving the lives of children.  We have wealth in our amazing group of volunteers and interns from undergrad and grad students to seasoned professionals looking for ways to contribute their talents and skills to our local and global community. Our team and the children we serve are our greatest source of pride and inspiration.

Original article by Susan Wagner, GoLocalWorcester Contributor.

Susan D. Wagner is president of Susan Wagner PR, a boutique public relations firm invested in meeting client’s goals with integrity and creativity.

Ivy ChildWomen Leading in Central MA: Rose Felix Cratsley, International Activist and Featured TEDx Speaker
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Unlocking children’s potential through mindfulness

Watch Rose Felix Cratsley, Ivy Child International’s CEO & Founder talking about mindfulness in children at TEDxFitchburgStateU.

Ivy Child International’s mission is to enhance the social and emotional well-being of children while embracing their multicultural needs using positive psychology and education as a uniting force to inspire resilience and leadership.

Ivy ChildUnlocking children’s potential through mindfulness
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