During the September 2011 retreat at Deer Park Monastery, the young people offered their creativity, fun, and love to the Sangha by raising money for children in impoverished conditions around the world. Within the Children’s Program, we incorporated mindful eating and looking deeply into the sources of our food, cultivating gratitude by recognizing our many conditions of happiness, working in harmony and caring for each other, skillfully relating to money without greed, generating compassion for others, and finding ways to help those in real need.
The Children’s Program would like to thank Sister Jewel for pioneering similar activities in Plum Village and the EIAB, and Terri Cortes-Vega for her well-explained practice of making Interbeing Peanut Butter Balls with kids (Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children, 2011).
The success stories are best told by the children themselves.
The Children’s Program has been talking about helping less fortunate children in the world. While discussing one day, we thought of ways to help these people. We came up with the idea of making cookies to sell to make money to donate to these people. We used many ingredients and experimented with many materials, including cranberries, raisons, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, honey, oats, and peanut butter. The next day at lunch, we sold them to the Sangha and had so much fun. After that day, everybody wanted to make a second batch. A day later, David finally let us make another batch. We made about 125 that day, and sold them at dinner. We had fun all over again. On Saturday before the Question & Answer, we presented Thay and the Sangha the money, $450. I think the best part of all was the teamwork and fun we had. -Manda Nguyen-Sanh, age 10
Over the past few days, we have made Peanut-Butter-Cookies to raise money for children in of food. The cookies were called Interbeing Peanut Butter Balls, Cosmo Coconut Balls, Peanut Love Logs, Everything in Everything Balls, and Choco Coco Balls. We made a lot of money and it was very fun. I hope we can make these again sometime!! :) -BoiAn Nguyen-Sanh, age 7
As we made the cookies, I thought about how many poor/hungry children would be helped with our money. I noticed that the Sangha donated more money when they found out about our cause. One lady even donated a check of $50! The next day, when she came back for more cookies, we treated her to a complimentary cookie. Other people donated five, ten, and twenty dollars for only one or two cookies. I was amazed, and also happy for all the children that were going to be fed. The day after, my friend Dalia and I, as the oldest of the children, were chosen to represent the Children’s Program in front of the Sangha before Thay’s Question and Answer session. I was honored to represent my friends in front of so many people, the monastics, and Thay. I hope that after reading this, all the Children’s Programs will do something like it to donate to the less fortunate. A lotus to the Sangha. Thank you. -Quynh Nguyen-Sanh, age 12
What I liked best about making the cookies was that we put our love into the cookies and we made them as mindfully and peacefully as we could. We’d spoon out some of the batter and for each spoonful we would say love or joy. We sat at a table to sell them, we sold out in 15 MINUTES. People loved them! We saved a couple for ourselves and when we ate them we thought about the ingredients and what was in them. For example there is a cloud in them because a cloud rains and the rain gives water to a peanut tree and we get peanuts from the peanut tree and we u se the peanuts to make peanut butter. The End. -Sabine, age 10
We made cookies to sell so that we could get money for kids that r starving all over the world. It was really fun making and selling the cookies.I particularly liked making the chocolate ones. I hope that the hungry kids will be happy! -Mischa, age 11