Fill Your Cup
Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”? When we take time to replenish our mental, emotional, and physical energy, we are able to be more present and generous to the people around us. This May, take time to practice self care and empower the people around you, including children and youth, to show their care and express their appreciation.
Open Ended Play
Practice kindness and appreciation with your children with a Fill a Cup with Kindness activity sheet. All you’ll need for this activity is construction paper, markers, tape or glue, and thoughtfulness.
Draw a big cup on one piece of construction paper. This will be your base sheet.
Use other colors of construction paper to cut out shapes. One way you can encourage your child to think about how they can be kind to themselves and others is to designate one shape for kindness to self and another for kindness to others.
Start a conversation about what kindness means to them and ask them about their favorite ways to show kindness to
themselves, classmates, friends, family, and teachers. For each act of kindness, write a keyword on a shape and glue or tape it to your cup.
Before you know it, your cup will be filled with kindness. Hang your kindness cup in a visible place in your home to encourage continuous reflection.
In The Community
Mental Health Awareness Month
May is dedicated to mental health awareness, and May 3 – 9 is designated Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week to bring awareness and show support for the millions of Americans who face mental health issues every year.
Having a strong mental health is essential to our physical health and our ability to live a full life. For children, it also affects development. Check out our mental health blog to learn more about how play and social and emotional learning (SEL) can promote mental wellness in children.
There are many resources available to help children, youth, families, and adults navigate mental health challenges and access the support they need.
- Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital offers children and family services such as therapy, assessment, medication services, and LGBTQIIA+ specific support.
- Perinatal Support Washington offers a variety of supports for parents including support groups, online therapy, and a resilience program.
- Kids Mental Health Pierce County offers webinars, classes, and crisis services, including YES Pierce County, a collaborative treatment model to reduce gaps in care coordination and support services after a behavioral health crisis.
- HopeSparks offers support to relatives raising children, provides early intervention services, and more.
- Multicultural Counselors serve clients in need of counseling and therapy from providers who understand the specific needs of people of color and various cultures.
National Foster Care Month
Each May, we recognize the important role that people working within child welfare play in supporting children, youth, and families.
What is foster care? Foster care is a temporary service provided for children who cannot live with their families and instead live with relatives, unrelated foster parents, or in other placement settings like group homes or emergency shelters.
This year’s theme, “Strengthening Minds. Uplifting Families.” highlights the need for a holistic and culturally responsive approach to supporting the mental health needs of those involved with child welfare. Mental health support can mean different things to different people, and all services should consider culture, race, ethnicity, gender, and disability to ensure effectiveness.
In Pierce County, two organizations lead supportive services for those within child welfare.
- Amara provides a variety of resources, support groups, and programming designed to create the best network of support possible for children and youth in the foster care system.
- Treehouse provides foster children and youth with clothing, driver’s assistance, and funding for educational, recreational, and wellness needs.
There are also a variety of special offerings available to Pierce County families in foster care.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium offers discounted tickets and memberships for those who participate in foster/kinship care.
YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties offers free memberships for youth in foster care.
The Washington State History Museum offers discounted admission to foster parents.
Washington State Parks offers residents providing in-home foster care free camping and free day-use entry in parks.
Jewish American Heritage Month
Each May we are invited to recognize and celebrate the influence Jewish people have had on American history, art, and culture. The Chabad of Pierce County Center for Jewish Life and Temple Beth El are two organizations that aim to strengthen the Jewish community of Tacoma by promoting Jewish pride, study, and celebration. They offer clubs for youth, educational programs, and host services and celebrations.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
AAPI Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the diverse cultures and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and share the stories of the 42 different nations across Asia and the Pacific Islands that call Washington state home.
Check out one of Tacoma Public Library’s AANHPI Heritage Month events and booklists for playful learning opportunities.
Join the Asia Pacific Cultural Center on May 6 for a free family culture of Korea event featuring food, activities, dancing, and music.
In addition to family friendly events and programs, one way we can honor AAPI Heritage Month is by learning and remembering the history of anti-Chinese hate in Tacoma. In 1882, the Chinese Expulsion Act stopped Chinese immigration into the United States, and in Tacoma about 200 people were marched out of town. You can learn more by taking a virtual tour of the places and people associated with the expulsion.
One of these places is the Tacoma Chinese Reconciliation Park, which was designed by a citizens committee in 1992 to condemn the expulsion and take a step toward reconciliation.
Check out the Korean Women’s Association and Tacoma Buddhist Temple for additional resources and events.
National Teacher’s Appreciation Week
The first full week of May each year (May 8 – 12 this year) is a time to show our gratitude for the individuals who lend their passion and skills to educating our children and youth.
To say thank you to our educators, we can write cards, donate to their classroom supplies funds, or simply let them know how much they mean to us. This is also a time to show gratitude for caregivers, as they are children’s first and forever teachers.
How will you show appreciation for an educator in your life?
Caregivers have the opportunity to foster a growth mindset in their children by sharing meaningful words of affirmation and praise. By giving children space to make mistakes and freedom to take risks, we can embrace life-long learning as a process rather than a destination.