The arts are both a vehicle for self-expression of a child's innermost being and a vehicle for spreading the message of kindness, understanding, and tolerance throughout our community. Children's Grove explores partnerships with other organizations seeking to make Columbia an oasis of nurture. Art Contests in 2014, 2015, 2016 and a photography contest in 2016 and 2017 gave adults and children a way to express diversity, kindness, understanding, transformation and inclusivity. Partnering with Odyssey Chamber Music Series to produce Kids@Heart, a concert for children, featured children singing, dancing, and reading poetry with a theme of kindness and diversity. Our newest art project is two butterflies painted in Alley A in The District created by Resident Arts, a not-for-profit organization that helps young, emerging, and professional artists build careers right here in Mid-Missouri.
In 2018 and again in 2019:
-Children's Grove enlisted the help of many youth to create a kindness chain -- strips of paper
linked together, each with a message related to kindness
-The District, in downtown Columbia, was decorated with children's kindness chalk drawings
during kindness week
-Young people painted about 300 rocks with kindness messages and pictures that were gifted
to others to brighten their day or left around trees for others to find.
The Children's Grove
The Children's Grove at Stephens Lake Park was dedicated on May 4, 2013 . Serving as a symbol of our community's commitment to promote the safety and nurturing of our youth through education on mental health, the Grove is an arbor culture development of peace, tranquility and whimsy. This destination garden draws people to its climate of beauty and to its message that well-being is achieved through adequate support. When visitors depart, the message is carried with them as a butterfly carries pollen from flower to flower.
Beginning in 2018, Children's Grove began handing out wristbands embossed with the phrase Kindness Changes Everything at community events. The recipients of the wristbands are tasked with sharing their band whenever they see an act of kindness and anticipating a band circling back to them.
Children's Grove seeks to educate:
- about mental illness in order to build awareness and a bridge between physical and mental health and the stigmas and lack of understanding that surround these. We sponsor
Youth Mental Health First Aid, an internationally recognized 8-hr training course.
- about how to build commUNITY through inclusivity, respect for one another's differences and
compassion for others
- with the following initiatives:
Pre-K Kindness Curriculum that has been presented to 30 area child care professionals
Children's Grove welcomes collaborative projects and original ideas as well as volunteers who have a little or a lot of time to give. We all have the ability to be Kindness Ambassadors in our own unique ways. We'd love to hear about you and your ideas!
Kindness Changes Everything
Children's Grove volunteers spread the message of kindness through involvement in community events including the Unbound Book Festival, Columbia's Farmers' Market, Earth Day festivities, the North Village Arts District's First Friday, Family Fun Fest, and Girls on the Run.
Our new collaboration is the Family Friendly Film Series. Click here for more information.
Congratulations Columbia on being named a Reader's Digest
NICEST PLACES IN AMERICA 2019 FINALIST
"THE KINDNESS CAPITAL OF MISSOURI"