Olha Pinchuk: volunteering with Ukrainian children
I started to work as a volunteer with Ukrainian children at my daughter’s school. These children have been through a lot and resilience is more important than ever to help them through. I consider resilience as the skill of the future. The times we are all going through require flexibility and bravery. Ukrainian children are now in a completely new environment: a new country, a foreign language, a different education system. Of course, children adapt to different challenges, and often much faster than adults, but if I can help children through, then I want to do that. Teaching them skills is a great way to show them they can get up after the next fall, they can act in a way that is going to be more helpful, and that they can bounce forward.
Where did i start?
I began with the topic of how to harness our emotions, a key component of building psychological resilience. I offered an introduction to basic emotions and how our brain works when we are facing challenging situations. We talk about myths and the truths around emotions. In a playful way we learned to recognise, be aware and accept emotions.
In real life, we often meet situations that are emotionally difficult. To help us overcome such situations, it is important to understand the triggers and out beliefs that have been informed during life experiences. To work with triggers and beliefs I chose the ABC tool to notice the gremlin beliefs that can get in the way, tell us we are no good, or we are unable to do something. It is a great tool that children can engage with. All the Bounce Forward teaching tools are simple but so effective.
The children really engaged...
The children were fascinated by the idea that our brain sometimes works inefficiently. It can notice unusual things and relies on previous experience which can prevent us from reacting to situations. We think in patterns, and one of the tools that were offered during the foundation training is very helpful in changing and challenging our gremlin beliefs, and therefore changing the behaviour so we can be the most effective in a situation.
I am very happy to have joined the Bounce Forward Teach Mental Resilience programme. The opportunity to work with Ukrainian children and be able to teach them mental resilience, as a skill of bravery and perseverance in such challenging times is special.
These children have so much to look forward to, beyond these difficult moments, and be able to teach them skills and work with them to understand themselves a little better has been truly rewarding.