Highlights of Monthly Volunteer News and Events
- Birth of Healing Young Hearts Project: After the May 12th Sichuan earthquake occurred, the Healing Young Hearts team of international and Chinese volunteers from the Heilongjiang Children’s Center banded together to explore ways to assist the survivors. Our goal was to produce practical teaching material for teachers, parents and volunteers who would be working with children recovering from the trauma of the disaster. We began writing, editing, and communicating with foreign experts in the field of disaster recovery to compile the best and most current international material available, and translate it into Chinese.
- Earthquake relief fundraising activities: Healing Young Hearts volunteers put on benefit musical performances to raise donations for earthquake relief at the Heilongjiang Children’s Center and St. Sophia’s Square. All money was sent to government relief programs that provided shelter and food for those affected by the earthquake.
- Work on Healing Young Hearts: A Handbook of Practical Material for Disaster Recovery continued. We met with the Heilongjiang Education Department, who helped organize translators from universities in Harbin, as well as a Chinese psychologist, who had recently worked in the earthquake zone, to advise us.
- Harbin Volunteer Meeting: The Healing Young Hearts team from the Heilongjiang Children’s Center held our first meeting with volunteers throughout the city of Harbin, in a meeting hall donated by the Sofitel Hotel. From this meeting a core team of volunteers from various universities and companies sprang up, who worked to translate, type, edit, review, proofread, conduct demonstrations, do lay-out, photography, artwork – and make coffee to keep us awake during many long hours and late nights! Many wonderful and sacrificial volunteers put in countless hours to make the project possible.
- Sichuan Field Research: Healing Young Hearts volunteers made the first trip to Sichuan after the earthquake. We scheduled meetings with educators and psychologists to review our material. We met with the Sichuan Education Department, the Sichuan Committee for Psychological Rescue, and the Sichuan Children’s Center, the first institution to take in children fleeing the quake zone. From these meetings we mapped out a plan to adapt the material so that it would be most effective in helping children in China.
- Visit to the Quake Zone: We visited Dujiangyan in the earthquake zone where we viewed temporary shelters and earthquake damaged buildings, and surveyed the living conditions of those displaced by the earthquake.
- Interviewed people affected by the earthquake in order to have a greater understanding of their needs and problems.
- Handbook Work Continues: Volunteers continued writing and adapting the manual to fit Sichuan’s needs, as well as developing the artwork and teacher’s worksheets for the manual.
- Cooperation with the Beijing National Children’s Center: Healing Young Hearts directors Jiang Nan (Jeanne Riether) and Yuguo (Hugues de Gaalon) were invited to the attend meetings at the National Children’s Center in Beijing to discuss plans for a music therapy program for teachers in Deyang county, Sichuan. We were asked to produce a training program for the teachers adapted from material in the Healing Young Hearts manual.
- We conducted a filmed demonstration of music therapy methods for use in disaster recovery at the Heilongjiang Children’s Center. Children from the Center participated in the program and volunteers assisted in the activity.
- Developing Seminar for Deyang Teachers: We worked on creating an effective and easy-to-implement music therapy program to train teachers from Sichuan’s Deyang county in the earthquake zone.
- Healing Young Hearts Handbook development: Translations, proofreading and editing of the Healing Young Hearts Handbook continued.
- Reviewing Material with Education Department Researchers: We met with Heilongjiang Education Department researchers, who volunteered to help us review the games in the play therapy section of the manual. Their help made the games clear and easy to understand for Chinese teachers.
- Shuangyou National Conference in Sichuan: Healing Young Hearts directors Jiang Nan (Jeanne Riether) and Yuguo (Hugues de Gaalon) were guest speakers at the Shuangyou National Conference in Chengdu, which was attended by leaders from Chinese Provincial Children’s Centers, youth organizations and government departments. Shuangyou’s national project for 2008 is assisting Sichuan children by funding the building of music therapy classrooms in the earthquake zone. At the main meeting we gave a seminar about the Healing Young Hearts project, the benefits of music therapy in disaster recovery, as well as a demonstration of music therapy techniques.
- Disaster Zone Teacher Training: We conducted teacher training for at the Sichuan Children’s Center for music teachers from Deyang county in Sichuan’s earthquake zone, the area where the first Shuangyou music classroom was opened.
- UNICEF Cooperation: We granted permission to psychologists working with UNICEF to incorporate material from the Healing Young Hearts manual in the activity handbook compiled for ‘Child Friendly Spaces’ shelters in the earthquake zone.
- Readying Handbook for Publication: We continued writing, editing and translating of the Healing Young Hearts manual to prepare it for publication.
- Healing Young Hearts Volunteers visit the Fly with One Dream Project : This inspiring program was organized by Forestry University student volunteers in Harbin, who invited us to visit their project mentoring the children of migrant workers. We conducted games and activities with the children and distributed small gifts.
- Disaster Handbook Finalized: We finalized the editing of Healing Young Hearts: A Handbook of Practical Teaching Material for Disaster Recovery. This manual was the culmination of the collective work of over 100 volunteers. A very happy event indeed!
- Cooperation with International Red Cross: Healing Young Hearts volunteers began cooperating with the International Red Cross working in the Sichuan earthquake zone, in answer to their request for materials for their psycho-social support programs in Sichuan.
- Hosting International Red Cross Delegates: The Healing Young Hearts team hosted International Red Cross training at the Heilongjiang Children’s Center. Dr. Jeyasan Kulasingam, from Malaysia, who is the Health and Psychosocial Support Program Delegate in the Sichuan earthquake operation, and the Chinese program officer, Yang Xue from the Chengdu office, attended training on the use of Healing Young Hearts material in Red Cross volunteer programs in Sichuan.
- Women’s Federation Conference: Healing Young Hearts representatives attended the Women’s Federation Conference on Earthquake Relief in Chengdu. Director Feng of the Heilongjiang Children’s Center, along with the authors Jiang Nan (Jeanne Riether), Yuguo (Hugues de Gaalon) and Anna de Gaalon, and volunteer Liu Xu, were present.
- Visit to Sichuan Earthquake Zone School: A team of Healing Young Hearts volunteers, including Dean Feng of the Heilongjiang Children’s Center, and Liu Xu, Volunteer Communications Manager, traveled to a school deep in the heart of the earthquake zone, to distribute Healing Young Hearts manuals to local teachers.
- Sichuan Children’s Center Activity: Healing Young Hearts authors distributed Healing Young Hearts handbooks and conducted games and activities with children and parents at the Sichuan Children’s Center.
- National Construction Party Cooperation: On the anniversary of the May 12th earthquake, Healing Young Hearts team members attended a commemorative meeting at the National Construction Party political headquarters. A documentary was shown about the Healing Young Hearts project and donations for printing of the handbook were presented to the Children’s Center by the party. Similar meetings were held at each of the political party headquarters in 12 cities in Heilongjiang, each meeting timed to be conducted at the exact hour of the day that the earthquake struck Sichuan, and each meeting with the same agenda and purpose: to continue to assist earthquake victims through the Healing Young Hearts project.
- Healing Young Hearts Display Booth: At the ‘Daily Use Commodities Exhibition‘ in Harbin, Healing Young Hearts volunteers manned a display booth kindly donated for the duration of the exhibition. A donation box was set up to raise funds for the Healing Young Hearts book printing project, and volunteers distributed flyers encouraging others to participate in volunteer activities.
- Children’s Day Activities: On May 29th a ceremony was held at the Heilongjiang Children’s Center for Children’s Day, honoring the volunteers who participated in the Healing Young Hearts Project to assist teachers from the Sichuan earthquake zone. A number of volunteers received certificates and were publicly thanked for their efforts to help the children of Sichuan.
- Spring Bud Award: On May 30th Heilongjiang Women’s Federation hosted an awards event, and Healing Young Hearts volunteers received a plaque of appreciation for services to help Chinese children.
- Overseas Returning Scholars Cooperation: Healing Young Hearts volunteers from the Heilongjiang Children’s Center met with Chairman Dong, and Vice-Chairpersons Zheng Zhicheng and Yan Yanping, of the Returning Overseas Scholars Association. They gave us helpful and appreciated suggestions on how to develop the Healing Young Hearts material to help children in non-disaster situations locally. All children need emotional care so they can develop to their full potential, and we are very interested in expanding Healing Young Hearts activities in Heilongjiang.
- Heilongjiang Volunteer Training: A Healing Young Hearts volunteer training session was held at the Heilongjiang Children’s Center. Attendees saw a power point about the activities of the past year, heard a guest speaker from the Fly with One Dream Project, and learned to conduct simple character building story activities, and organize games and face-painting activities for children.
- Assisting Children in the Countryside: Healing Young Hearts Volunteer teachers from the Heilongjiang Children’s Center visited Spring Bud Project students in the countryside of Heilongjiang, where we helped distribute donations and clothing, and performed activities with the children.
- UNICEF Assistance: The Healing Young Hearts team from the Heilongjiang Children’s Center donated 400 manuals to UNICEF, answering their request for resources to be used in their Child Friendly Spaces projects set up in the disaster zone.
- Volunteer Training Meeting: Healing Young Hearts directors held training meetings at the Heilongjiang Children’s Center to teach volunteers methods from the handbook, and how to organize activities with children.
- Sichuan Education Department Requests Handbooks: The Sichuan Education Department communicated with Healing Young Hearts via the Heilongjiang Education Department and requested 218,000 books for teachers in the earthquake zone. Meetings were held to discuss practical solutions to meet this need. (Eventually the decision to make the book available for free download on the internet was reached, providing free resource material to all who need it at a minimal cost.)
- Yunnan Earthquake Assistance: The International Red Cross informed us they sent 100 Healing Young Hearts Handbooks to Yunnan to the Yunnan Red Cross branch to be used in developing a psychosocial support program after the Yunnan earthquake. The International Red Cross also informed us they were using the book as a ‘starting point’ for training of volunteers working in communities affected by the Sichuan 2008 earthquake.
- Cooperation with Beijing National Children’s Center: Healing Young Hearts directors visit the Beijing Children’s Center, meet with music therapists to discuss plans to develop a program to continue to aid the Sichuan disaster zone, and participate in the development of a music therapy curriculum.
- Harbin Traffic Radio Interview: Healing Young Hearts team members Jiang Nan (Jeanne Riether) Bai Shui (Windy White) and Director Feng of the Heilongjiang Children’s Center appeared on a popular radio program. They were interviewed on their work in the Sichuan disaster zone, describing how volunteering can make a difference in the lives of many.
- Music Therapy Curriculum: Healing Young Hearts director Jeanne Riether (Jiang Nan) developed several chapters of book on music therapy produced by the Beijing National Children’s Center.
- Sichuan Disaster Zone Teacher Training: Healing Young Hearts directors Jiang Nan (Jeanne Riether) and Yuguo (Hugues de Gaalon) traveled to Sichuan to conduct training for teachers from the Sichuan disaster zone in a program organized by the Beijing National Children’s Center and UNICEF, together with visiting psychology professor from Stanford University.
- Harbin Volunteer Activities: Healing Young Hearts volunteers visit student volunteers at the Forestry University to participate in activities the university students have organized in an excellent program to assist the children of migrant workers. Healing Young Hearts volunteers conducted games and art activities with the children.
- Modifed Atkins Diet for Seizures: Healing Young Hearts director Jiang Nan (Jeanne Riether) worked on developing basic training materials on the use of diet therapy in epilepsy treatment. In cooperation with Dr. Eric Kossoff from Johns Hopkins Hospital we created a basic description of the Modified Atkins for Seizures diet in Chinese, to be used to teach local parents and physicians how to implement the diet using Chinese cooking methods and foods.
- Beijing Seminar: Healing Young Hearts directors participated in training activities in a conference organized by the Beijing Association for School Mental Health for Beijing teachers. Teachers from the hardest hit earthquake zones in Sichuan attended the conference free of charge. Jiang Nan (Jeanne Riether) and Anna de Gaalon taught a session on the use of therapeutic story-telling, drama, music and puppets.
- Epilepsy Diet Therapy Training: Two doctors from the Beijing Children’s Hospital arrived for training with Healing Young Hearts director Jiang Nan (Jeanne Riether) in how to prepare food for use in epilepsy diet therapy using the Modified Atkins Diet for Seizures developed by Johns Hopkins Hospital in the United States.
- Haiti and Chile Earthquake Assistance: Healing Young Hearts directors contacted volunteers working in the Haiti and Chile earthquake zones to discuss editing of the book to accommodate the needs of teachers working with children traumatized by the disaster.
- Haiti and Chile Earthquake Assistance: Editing of the handbook continues and worksheets and illustrations are adapted to be used in cultural areas outside of China. The finalized English version is nearing completion.
- Finalized Handbooks for Chile and Haiti: Healing Young Hearts handbooks are finalized and offered in pdf format in English, to be used internationally in disaster assistance. We provided the disaster handbook to volunteers working with survivors of the earthquake and tsunami in Constitucion, Chile, as well as to volunteers making trips to work with survivors in various parts of Haiti.
- Developing Epilepsy Diet Therapy Resources for China: Healing Young Hearts volunteers worked on developing power point training material to be used in teaching diet therapy for epilepsy. The Modified Atkins Diet for Seizures power point follows Johns Hopkins Hospital protocol, as a treatment option for patients who cannot control their seizures with medication.
- Qinghai Earthquake Assistance: The Heilongjiang Children’s Center donates Healing Young Hearts Handbooks to help teachers and children affected by the Qinghai earthquake.
- Training Teachers in Beijing: Healing Young Hearts director Jiang Nan (Jeanne Riether) conducted a training session at the Beijing National Children’s Center with psychology teachers on the use of puppets and musical therapeutic activities to teach children resilience and improve mental health.
- Science and Technology College Seminar: Healing Young Hearts directors Jiang Nan (Jeanne Riether) Yuguo (Hugues de Gaalon) and Anna de Gaalon conducted a motivational seminar with nursing students, showing a power point presentation and lecture on how volunteerism can change your life, and a demonstration on the types of games that can be organized to assist children.
July – October 2010:
- Harbin Children’s Hospital Training: Healing Young Hearts directors Jiang Nan (Jeanne Riether), Yuguo (Hugues de Gaalon) and Anna de Gaalon conducted a training session to introduce the Modified Atkins Diet for Seizures to doctors from the Harbin Children’s Hospital.
- Developing Epilepsy Resources: Healing Young Hearts volunteers worked on compiling and referencing international material on psychosocial support for epilepsy. Our team communicated with Dr. Robert Mittan, neuropsychologist in the United States about editing and translating portions of his material for use in China.
- Sichuan Earthquake Zone Teacher Training: Healing Young Hearts volunteers traveled to Sichuan with directors of the Heilongjiang Children’s Center, the vice chairperson of the Heilongjiang Women’s Federation, and a representative from Tianjin. Healing Young Hearts directors Jiang Nan (Jeanne Riether) Yuguo (Hugues de Gaalon) and Anna de Gaalon conducted training seminars for teachers from 18 cities and towns throughout the disaster zone at the Sichuan Children’s Center. Afterwards, Healing Young Hearts directors visited areas in the disaster zone, and saw progress being made in rebuilding the area.
- Cooperation with Neurologist: Healing Young Hearts directors Jiang Nan (Jeanne Riether) and Yuguo (Hugues de Gaalon) met with neurologist Dr. Deng Yuhong of the Institute of Neurosciences and the 2nd Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical College to discuss cooperating to disseminate information on dietary therapy in China.
- Cooperation with China Association Against Epilepsy: Healing Young Hearts director Jiang Nan (Jeanne Riether) and Dr. Deng Yuhong met with Dr. Li Shi Chuo, president of the China Association of Epilepsy in Beijing to discuss Healing Young Hearts cooperation with the CAAE in Healing Young Heart’s programs to fight epilepsy stigma and develop information about the use of dietary therapy as a treatment option for epilepsy in China.
- 2011 Goal: Epilepsy Awareness. The Healing Young Hearts team expanded the project beyond disaster assistance in order to help the 9 million people with epilepsy in China. Work began on our website material that will provide free English and Chinese resources on epilepsy to assist the 50 million people with epilepsy worldwide. Plans for the coming year include organizing public events to educate people about epilepsy and remove its stigma; the development of emotional support resources to help those working with children who have epilepsy; and disseminating information about dietary therapy as a treatment option for epilepsy.
- Olympic Medal Winning Volunteer: Olympic medal winning cyclist Marion Clignet becomes a Healing Young Hearts Goodwill Ambassador to help our team promote epilepsy awareness. Marion completed lengthy interview questions with Jiang Nan (Jeanne Riether) for articles about her remarkable life as an athlete with epilepsy. Her story will help us educate the public about the great things people with epilepsy can accomplish.
- Development of Epilepsy Resources: Work continued this month on the development of resources to be included on the section of the Healing Young Hearts website devoted to epilepsy, which will launch in March.
- Planning for ‘Purple Day’ – the Global Day of Epilepsy Awareness: Healing Young Hearts volunteers worked to plan and organize events to be held at the Heilongjiang Children’s Center in March for Purple Day, an international event to help raise public awareness about epilepsy.
This month we organized an event at the Heilongjiang Children’s Center on International Purple Day (March 26th) together with three local businesses, to teach epilepsy awareness to children aged 7 to 12. We filmed the event for future use in broadcasting public service announcements about epilepsy.
In March the epilepsy resources section of the Healing Young Hearts website was launched.
We produced and translated our first tract for the public about epilepsy awareness and printed 500 copies to distribute locally.
We were invited by the China Association Against Epilepsy to attend a national epilepsy conference in Guilin and man a booth representing our Healing Young Hearts project. We distributed information on dietary therapy and examples of tracts from our epilepsy awareness program.
Following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we recruited volunteer translators to begin work on sections of the Healing Young Hearts handbook.