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Belgin Aksoy Berkin, Founder, Global Wellness Day


Kids’ Wellness is the Theme of Global Wellness Day 2018

Goal: To Decrease Depression, Obesity, and Crime Rates with Pre-School and Elementary Programs

Saturday, June 9, 2018 will mark the seventh annual Global Wellness Day (GWD) celebration and the fourth time the special day is being celebrated internationally. This year over 4,000 locations in more than 100 countries are celebrating GWD by offering a range of free, non-commercial,  health and wellness activities for the public. With a motto of “One Day Can Change Your Whole Life,” the theme for Global Wellness Day 2018 is the Kids Project, and the goal is to decrease the worldwide depression, obesity rates, and even future crime rates.

Working with universities, clinics, and international wellness leaders, Turkish GWD founder and cancer survivor, Belgin Aksoy Berkin, has developed a curriculum for the Kids Project that can be implemented in the 2018/2019 education year. For preschools, it is as simple as a five-minute wellness circle time each morning, and at elementary schools it is a one-hour wellness class per week. The project will focus on three key areas:

Self-Love to let go of shame, anger, blame, and to feel at peace; teaching children how accept themselves and others, even fighting depression.

Breathing to improve the health of children and to manage their stress and learn self control.

•Mindfulness (from mindful eating to mindful nature walks) to improve kids’ emotional and physical wellbeing.

Aksoy Berkin’s dream of a day to celebrate wellness has inspired an international network of over 86 volunteer Global Wellness Day Ambassadors, 3 Advisors and 23 Key Supporters to organize complimentary wellness events around the planet. Nepal, South Korea, Norway, Macedonia, Zimbabwe, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Kenya, Malawi, and Montenegro are the new countries that are on board for this year.

“We want to teach children how to  integrate wellness practices into their lives on a daily basis and to carry on those practices throughout their lives,” says Aksoy Berkin.

Her idea from the beginning, Aksoy Berkin explains, was that wellness is not a luxury but the inherent right of every individual.

“We go to school from the age of two, hoping that the education system is going to help prepare us for our future,” says Aksoy Berkin, “but nobody is teaching us how to live, how to breathe, how to be mindful, and how to love ourselves, as these are things that are essential to be a happy adult in the future. Kids never learn in schools that people can’t love others without loving themselves first. Focusing on physical and mental wellness at such an early age is so important that it can even help decrease the worldwide depression and obesity rates, even future crime rates.

“In an era where the global consumer culture is mostly damaging the concept of childhood and kids are ending up unhappy and unsatisfied,” Aksoy Berkin continues, “we want to teach children how to  integrate wellness practices into their lives on a daily basis and to carry on those practices throughout their lives.”

Look for the hashtag #GlobalWellnessDay to follow what happens from one end of the world to the other on June 9th.

Below are a sampling of celebrations planned for Saturday, June 9, 2018, that range from entire cities joining together with family friendly wellness activiteis to hotels and community centers offering complementary activities, ranging from forest bathing to drum circle cermonies; from Tai Chi to Junior Chef Challenges.  The amount of complementary activities all organized by volunteer ambassadors is both hopeful for a healthier future and heartening:

Brazil – Always a supporter of kids’ health, GWD team is creating a school program that will include; dancing classes, environmental management and sustainable agriculture, plastic bottle collection, healthy food menus at school cafeterias and meditation classes led by the All Mind Alive NGO. GWD will also focus on the food options of the school canteens (snacks and meals) and cooperate with all Mind Alive NGO (meditation for kids).

Nepal – 2018 will be the first year of GWD in Nepal. A Buddhist teacher will give a short talk on compassion in action and a popular, traditional Nepali Band will play.  The team will distribute 100 kid-friendly animal themed potted plants for each child to take home and nurture for five years, and then those 100 plants will be planted in a community forest with the help of Wild Life Conservation Nepal (WCN). The NGO will also begin implementing the GWD Kids Project in the 7 pre-school and secondary schools with which they currently work.

United Kingdom – GWD will be hosting community-wide outdoor exercise classes and family picnic lunches in Norfolk, Devon, and Cornwall. To encourage better posture—which is so needed with today’s texting and video game playing children—a Pilates in the Park sponsored event is being organized for area children. To show that they are giving importance to the wellness of their community, the students of the University of Derby in UK, have prepared a celebration event program that focuses on GWD 7 Step Manifesto.

Hungary – GWD celebration activities will focus on wellness lifestyle, healthy dining, and healing water in 2018. To also focus on kid-related wellness activities, GWD team is going to cooperate with elementary schools, gymnastic classes, and sport/fitness groups. Some of the institutions that will involve kids activities are: IWI – International Wellness Institute; Hungarian Dietetic Association (MDOSZ); Vajk-sziget Általános Iskola (Elementary School Budapest); and Nyolcütem az Ifjúságért Egyesület (Julianna Református Általános Iskola).

Mexico – There will be three large GWD celebrations in Mexico this year  in San Miguel de Allende, San Luis Potosi, and Tecate, home of Rancho La Puerta. This is the third year Tecate will host an event, with over 1,500 attendees—many families with children—are expected. As in previous years, Baja California State Capital City has organized a photography contest which was based on the GWD 7 Step Manifesto.

Serbia – GWD’s main event will be held at Main squer Mountain Zlatibor and the activities will include a pop music concert “Blaza i kljunovi” and games for children and Ethno dance.  Indoor and outdoor activities will also be held at Health Center Cigota – Mountain Zlatibor. There will also be a workshop named as “Your Child’s Health is in the First Place” to prevent and inform people about the treatment of obesity in children.

Singapore – A host of children’s activities are being planned  at a Wellness Village known as “Horse City” babies and kids’ swimming lessons, golf training, horse riding school, art centre, martial art centre, as well as yoga, spa, mountain biking, dancing, and fitness classes.

Colombia – Thanks to the support of governmental entities such as Procolombia, the PTP of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Governorships and City Halls, and different wellness entrepreneurs in cities such as Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Cartagena, Cundinamarca, Boyaca, Casanare, Caldas, Risaralda, Quindio, and Santander, a range of colorful GWD celebration events will take place in this “Country of Good Living.”  Activities dedicated especially to children will include yoga, meditation, hiking, fitness, and ancestral rituals.

Russia –  A series of events for kids is being planned including free dance therapy classes and consultations with family psychologists, and even wellness enlightenment lectures that will be organized by some of the supporting facilities.

Turkey – Kucukciftlik Park in Istanbul is getting ready for another massive all-day celebration with yoga, Pilates, Zumba workshops, healthy lifestyle seminars of best-selling authors, and kids’ activities such as basketball, Zumba, painting, and a musical concert to end the day. The GWD event hosted more than 7,000 people last year with even more planning to attend this year. GWD representatives collaborated with the Ministry of Education and Provincial Directorates to organize GWD volunteers to paint the interior and exterior walls of the schools in Sultanbeyli County of Istanbul and Sahinler Village in Amasya.

To build awareness for both the environment and physical fitness, GWD has also organized volunteer plogging—a Scandinavian workout trend that involves picking up trash while jogging—activities at several parks in Istanbul, and in Sapanca. In addition, GWD reps will also practice Step 7 in the day’s manifesto and “Do a Good Deed” by leading activities at nursing homes, including musical events, meditation, healthy food seminars, tea-parties, gardening, painting, and more.

Click here for all the details on the inspiring array of events planned in countries around the world.