A great friend of mine, Zoe Russell, recently graduated as a SoulKids Mentor from Singapore’s SoulCentre. After Zoe had participated in her first mentoring sessions, the absolute joy and elation she felt at being involved in something this powerful told me it was well worth looking into, and potentially sharing with this community. My boys aren’t old enough to attend these classes yet – it’s for 6-16 year olds – but as soon as they are, I plan to sign them up.
As it seems like such a worthwhile program being run in Singapore for kids, I decided to sit down with Zoe to find out more about it.
“In 2002, Vikas Malkani (the co-founder of SoulCentre and SoulKids) was running coaching workshops in India with adults, when he had an epiphany. He noticed that the key challenges the vast majority of adults are facing were issues around self esteem or self belief, confidence and managing fears. Unfortunately, these are all pretty common life challenges many adults are working to overcome as we know. It occurred to Vikas that if you are conditioned into these limiting beliefs as a child, perhaps it’s better to tackle them with children, before they become ingrained in the adult psyche?
“Vikas is my personal mentor, and his entire life’s work is about helping people get in touch with their authentic self. He believes that you can only be truly happy if you are operating from the core of who you really are. Many people develop layers and layers throughout their life, often concealing their true, authentic self in the process, and ultimately, they forget who they are. Vikas believes that if we can teach children to get in touch with their authentic self, and grow into adulthood understanding this concept, then we can really make a drastic and positive impact on young lives and the world. That is the inspiration for SoulKids – to help kids get in touch with their true self before social conditioning blocks that access.”
The key benefits children gain through the SoulKids Program include:
- It helps strengthen their self-belief and increase self-confidence
- They get insight into how their mind works and understand they are responsible for their actions. They also learn it is up to them to take the action required to achieve their desires
- They learn what it means to be effective leaders and supportive team-players – and it’s done through working and playing with peers together in team environments
- Communication is such a vital skill, so they learn how to communicate effectively with others and on refining their communications skills for maximum results
- They become aware that their potential is unlimited, as well as how to break free from mind-sets which restrict them from achieving whatever they set out to achieve
- They become responsible for their life by understanding they have all that is required within to create the life they want, and understand it is their responsibility to take action to ensure they achieve their dreams
- They learn that every person they meet and every experience they have is a teacher – a teacher that teaches all the time. Vikas believes that life and nature are the greatest mentors, so if you pay attention, learning and improving becomes a constant – a way of life
- Essentially, they graduate with a better understanding of themselves and become better people
If you check out the SoulKids blog, you can see what the kids thought of the program – some pretty amazing feedback from the youngsters don’t you think?
From your training and experience running the program, what have you witnessed with the kids?
“I have to say this is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my career. Some of the kids turn up and are intensely shy. Others are confident and gregarious, but as with adults, are struggling with something. There’s a whole host of things I witness in the kids – because they’re all so different – but throughout the two day workshop, I watch them blossom into confident, self assured individuals. It’s a wonderful and extremely rewarding process to watch and be part of – I really feel like I’m enabling something very powerful to occur.
“The workshops are a lot of fun. We learn through stories, games, team building and exercises, and throughout it, you see these kids transform before your eyes – developing a wonderful sense of self confidence. They walk away thinking they can do anything and be anything, because they have understood that the core to life is about believing in themselves. It’s a wonderful experience to be part of and a great gift to give your children. I actually enrolled my daughter, Amelie, who’s a very mature five year old, in the last program. Wow, what an impact it made on her. She absolutely loved it and took on board all of the lessons. As a mentor, but most of all, as a parent, I can thoroughly recommend it.”
As part of the SoulKids Program, the mentors meet with parents for a one-hour information session on the final day. The purpose of this is to ensure they understand what the child has learnt, and how the parents can integrate these learnings and new skills into the home. This session with parents ensures long term benefits for everyone.
“SoulKids Programs are run throughout the year, but the next class is on the 4th, 5th and 6th of July. It’s a half day program from 9.30-1pm every day, but this one is for 6-10 year olds only. It’s actually being run during the week, so it’s perfect for families with children on school holidays who might be looking for great activities to do for their children.”
You can watch more on what Soul Kids is all about from this Channel News Asia Interview
For those interested, the next SoulKids Program details are:
- July 4, 5 and 6th
- 6- 10 years old
- 9.30am – 1pm
SoulCentre Academy @ One-North
7 One-North Gateway
- $399 / child
I personally know a lot of parents who aren’t leaving Singapore for an extended summer vacation and their kids are already driving them crazy. So this could potentially be a really valuable option to engage your little ones in? Just an idea.
Let us know what you think if your kids attend? Alternatively, we’d love to hear from parents whose kids have already become SoulKids?
PS: Please note: I am not being incentivised in any way to write this blog. I just really liked the idea of SoulKids, and my friend Zoe is a smart woman whose opinions I value. So I wanted to share it with other parents who might be interested to know a program like this is being run in Singapore.
PPS: All photos and the SoulKids logo were published with the permission of Soul Centre.