(Dr. Clayton Lawrence, founder and CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on community wellness and inspiring others.)
If you’re thinking cold weather means time spent with the youth in your life will be limited, think again. There are so many indoor opportunities not only to have some fun, but mix in some educational value, as well.
At LEAP Foundation DC, we believe in the power of education and we know that our own experiences and skills are excellent tools. We also understand that leading by example is one of the best ways to inspire a future generation of leaders and goal setters. We’re here to equip them with life skills, brain power and the confidence to achieve their goals.
If you’re wondering where to spend a chilly afternoon or evening, consider these suggestions:
We live in a world of instant gratification, thanks to smartphones. There’s no doubt that modern technology makes life easier in many ways, from tracking fitness goals and ordering dinner, to setting reminders and even completing projects. But they also strip away creativity and interaction. We play games while sitting right next to each other and text others while out for dinner. Most youth these days don’t see the library for what it can offer. To many, it is just a building with books, but that that couldn’t be further from the truth. The library is filled with resources, knowledge, activities and workshops. Encourage young people to sign up for something interesting, like a guest author talk, a class on a computer program or a college prep class to get a head start on their future education.
This one may seem strange, but banking is a tremendously important life skill. It is important for teens to understand the value of a hard-earned dollar, the importance of saving and the why it is essential to live within their means. Visit the bank, deposit a check, withdraw some cash and balance the check book. These tasks encourage financial maturity and future security.
Museums are an incredible place of discovery for all ages. With interactive museums like The National Museum of Natural History and The National Air and Space Museum, young people not only learn something new, but get to do so in a way that offers a hands-on experience. There is no better way to learn than to explore space through a telescope and engaging in real-life science experiments. For aspiring historians, checking out places like the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Museum of American History offer an educational experience that is more exciting than the classroom and exploring the vast art museums is a great way to encourage a meaningful discussion.
Introducing young minds to the performing arts can be a real eye opener for some. We’re used to watching television at home or enjoying a movie on the big screen, but seeing an actor perform live on the stage can encourage kids to dream big. Scholastic reported that those who perform are quick thinkers and being on stage equips youngsters to always be prepared for problems that may arise in life. Not only that — it helps them overcome stage fright and other anxieties and find creative ways to express their emotions.