By MEGAN HUSSEY
Can ornaments be empowering? In the case of a special teen enrichment program coming up next week in Spring Hill, the answer is yes.
Ornaments of Empowerment, an event set for 5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, at WellCome OM Center, 4242 Lake in the Woods Drive in Spring Hill, is a free DIY craft and discussion program open to all middle and high school students. At this event, kids will be encouraged to create decorative ornament balls that double as messages of hope; using craft materials supplied free of charge to them at the center.
"The kids will be given clear ornaments balls, which they can decorate any way they like," said Sarina Singh, Peer Educator of the Be EMPOWERED program at WellCome OM Integral Healing & Education Center. "Inside, they can write messages stating the things that make them feel good about themselves, maybe their kindness or their athletic ability."
Participants also are encouraged to make gifts of their creations, including messages for friends in their ornaments.
Ornaments of Empowerment is a program of Be EMPOWERED Teens & Youths, a project of The Auroveda Foundation, a nonprofit organization which attempts to create a global community of healthy and educated individuals.
"Our mission is to empower teens and youths with the knowledge they need to feel confident and make healthy, safe decisions throughout their lives," states a related informational blurb. "It focuses on critical health topics including self-worth, consent and boundaries, communication, diversity and inclusion, mental health, and more. We hold weekly free educational discussion groups for teens, host special events, and offer volunteer opportunities to improve teen health in the community. We welcome students of all genders, sexualities, cultures, and beliefs."
The ornament session in particular, says Singh, is intended to help students relieve post-exam stress and deal with anxiety and self-esteem issues.
"This is a fun, casual session where the teens can feel free to talk things out as they work," she said. "They can feel comfortable here, talking to other kids."
And when this work is complete, each kid will come away with a fully decorated ornament ball with an opening top; one that reveals a positive 'pick me up' message for themselves or for friends.
"This is their chance to express themselves," said Singh.
Other Be EMPOWERED sessions include workshops and discussions that offer practical advice and support for today's teens, including an upcoming discussion about how to deal with critical relatives during holiday celebrations.
"Creating a community of informed, open-minded, confident young people," is always the goal of Be EMPOWERED events.
"We want to make these kids feel special," said Singh, "and to have fun."
To register for Ornaments of Empowerment, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ornaments-of-empowerment-tickets-84644224153 or call 352-600-4242.