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In what ways has the Covid year provided new opportunities to your child(ren)?

The losses from this Covid year are likely to be obvious. The gains? Perhaps not so much. In what ways has your child(ren) grown and unfolded during the past year? How has this growth and unfoldment transpired away from schooling? In spite of schooling? With education that has little or nothing to with school?

Are there gains that your child(ren) has received during the past year that both you and she/he want to continue to unfold even as Covid recedes? If so, what are these and how do you want them to manifest in the future?

The soul of each child

Since the soul in its fullness is present from before birth, your child’s soul is expressing its knowing through the vehicle of the physical body from the beginning of life. Yes, the soul is constrained by the infant’s physical, emotional, and mental limitations—but the will of the infant is manifest from the first day of life outside the womb (and sometimes before). And the will of the child at every age and stage is the expression of the soul’s intent. The soul is “the inner teacher.” Give your child as much freedom as possible to live out her inner teacher’s guidance while providing your child with love, safety, and individually-appropriate boundaries.

Shubham Bannerjee, 16

t all started with a school science project when then 12-year-old Shubham Banerjee used his Lego bricks to build a braille printer. With this inventive creation, he made computing more affordable for millions of people with vision problems and Braigo — a blend of braille and Lego — was born. Braigo took the world by surprise as the world’s first low-cost, silent, portable, and IOT-enabled printer and its creator, Belgian-born Shubham, became the youngest entrepreneur to receive venture capital funding for Braigo Labs, the company he launched soon after receiving attention for his innovation.

Not only did Braigo catch the attention of Intel, but it also led to multiple awards for innovation. These days, Braigo works to create innovative, alternative solutions to expensive products. The final version of the Braigo printer is currently under development.

Even though he’s one of the smartest and most successful teenagers in the world and is a highly sought-after speaker and presenter, Shubham Banerjee manages to lead a normal lifestyle. He lives in Santa Clara, California with his parents and younger sister. Shubham, in addition to being a startup founder, somehow found time to play as quarterback for Santa Clara High School, where he graduated in 2019.

 

Haile Thomas, 16

Haile Thomas has been an advocate for proper diet and nutrition from a young age. At the start of last year, Haile became the youngest certified health coach in the United States after graduating from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. In 2012, she founded HAPPY (Healthy Active Positive Purposeful Youth), a nonprofit organization that provides affordable culinary education to the youth in malnourished communities. When explaining what motivated her to choose this career path Haile had the following to say: “When I was 8 years old, my dad was diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes, a disease caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices,” she explains. “This diagnosis opened the eyes of my entire family. We started to learn about the importance of exercise and how food really affects the body.”

 

Taft Foley III, 18

At only 18, Taft Foley III is on the road to making his dreams come true. Foley III has taken it upon himself to create a mobile COVID-19 testing lab that gets people COVID-19 test results within minutes. And, he’s doing it while he’s still in high school.

Taft is already one of the youngest EMTs in the state. After finishing the EMT course this summer, he waited two hours to get tested for COVID-19 and another two weeks to get his results. “While I was self-quarantining, I thought to myself, ‘There has to be a better way,’ and that’s when I decided to really do some research and that’s when I found 15-minute tests and got the idea to go to people,” Taft said. By August, he had his Texas Mobile Medical Labs van rolling.

“People need help and I have the resources to be able to provide that help to others and so I don’t see a reason not to,” Taft said. He said the mobile lab tested its 500th person on Monday. “We average about 30 tests a day, which is pretty good,” Taft said. “The other day, we actually ran out of tests for the very first time which I was very excited about.” The Kinkaid School senior has had to cut things out like wrestling to launch his business.

However, in between AP tests and applying to colleges Taft is staying focused on his long-term goals.

“One day I want to be able to call myself Dr. Foley,” Taft said.

 

Anika Chebrolu, 14

Anika Chebrolu, 14, won the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Anika’s winning invention uses in-silico methodology to discover a lead molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. “The last two days, I saw that there is a lot of media hype about my project since it involves the SARS-CoV-2 virus and it reflects our collective hopes to end this pandemic as I, like everyone else, wish that we go back to our normal lives soon,” Anika told CNN.

Anika, who is Indian American, submitted her project when she was in 8th grade — but it wasn’t always going to be focused on finding a cure for Covid-19. Initially, her goal was to use in-silico methods to identify a lead compound that could bind to a protein of the influenza virus. “After spending so much time researching about pandemics, viruses and drug discovery, it was crazy to think that I was actually living through something like this,” Anika said. 

“Because of the immense severity of the Covid-19 pandemic and the drastic impact it had made on the world in such a short time, I, with the help of my mentor, changed directions to target the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

Anika said she was inspired to find potential cures to viruses after learning about the 1918 flu pandemic and finding out how many people die every year in the United States despite annual vaccinations and anti-influenza drugs on the market.

 

Youth in Chile started the mass rebellion against the Pinochet era Constitution

Students from the National Institute, Chile’s oldest and most famous public high school, in October 2019 started a movement that spread across the nation, a rebellion against the inequities embedded in Chilean society as a result of the Pincohet era Constitution. This movement grew to the extent that the conservative government of President Pinera agreed to hold a national vote on the drafting of a new constitution, first set for April 2020 but delayed to this month as a result of the pandemic. 

Haile Thomas, 16

Haile Thomas has been an advocate for proper diet and nutrition from a young age. At the start of last year, Haile became the youngest certified health coach in the United States after graduating from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. In 2012, she founded HAPPY (Healthy Active Positive Purposeful Youth), a nonprofit organization that provides affordable culinary education to the youth in malnourished communities. When explaining what motivated her to choose this career path Haile had the following to say: “When I was 8 years old, my dad was diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes, a disease caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices,” she explains. “This diagnosis opened the eyes of my entire family. We started to learn about the importance of exercise and how food really affects the body.”

 

Izzy Raj-Seppings, 13

As Australia burned from tragic bushfires, on Thursday I joined hundreds of others to demand action from our prime minister outside his Kirribilli residence.

It was a whirlwind of emotions and action. The drastic change from motivational speeches, to a peaceful sea of tents awaiting the PM’s climate action, to a squad of riot police moving through the crowd arresting people, was unsettling.

Many people have asked me what motivated me to drag my dad on a one-hour bus trip to Kirribilli House on one of the hottest days of summer. My answer? Our politicians’ denial, and the inaction of our government and our prime minister. Their denial has gone on for far too long. I’m tired, tired of the lies and misdirection. I’m tired of watching my future, my friends’ and family’s futures, all of our futures, burn before our very eyes.

How dare Scott Morrison race off to Hawaii during Australia’s time of crisis? What we need is a prime minister who acknowledges that this isn’t another normal fire season, that the cause of this is climate change! Lives and homes have been taken while Morrison lies on a tropical beach with his head in the sand.

When I first arrived at the protest it was a happy sight: young kids, families, students, adults young and old. Some were in costumes, some had painted faces, others had signs and banners. All gathered at the end of a small cul-de-sac, under a blazing sun. All there with a story, a purpose, a reason. The number of police didn’t

After the rally wrapped up, a number of people announced that they had decided to camp out until Morrison returned from his holiday. The crowd had mixed emotions, some cheered while others looked on with surprise and apprehension. Tents were pitched, food and games were passed around. We settled in, made new friends, exchanged stories. Even a Christmas tree was put up.

At this point, many more police vans had pulled up. Greens MP David Shoebridge arrived and complained to the police that it was unreasonable to move us as we weren’t hurting anybody or blocking anything. A “move on” order was issued. We chanted in response. We had a reason to be here – our prime minister is missing in action on the most important issue of our time.

Right before the riot police came it was quiet; dense smoke swirled over the road. A sense of unease settled over me. A squad of about 25 fully suited and armed riot police came marching over the hill. It was like something out of a movie. The officers approached the wall of students and protesters with intense intimidation tactics. They went for the loudest and most motivating people first, the natural leaders, grabbing their arms and pulling them into the police van if they didn’t comply.

I watched shocked and confused as my friends and fellow protesters were scattered, arrested and escorted off premises. It was chaotic, people were scrambling around filming on phones and photographers were buzzing around, capturing acts of bravery and courage in the face of injustice.

My dad and I were told to move on, which we did, but as I moved on I held my sign high in the sky:

Look at what you’ve left us 
Watch us fight it 
Watch us win.

It’s a day I won’t forget in a hurry.