Comment

Why I Needed Personal Development as a Kid

RENEW Co-founder and Executive Director, Adam Rubin

RENEW Co-founder and Executive Director, Adam Rubin

From the time I was born I was different. Born two months premature, I spent the first part of my life in the hospital in an incubator, and it would be weeks before I could go home into the arms of my mother.

Most of my early years were spent in rehab, strengthening a body that didn’t have time to fully develop. I was small and weak. I would live most of life with that image of myself, reinforced by hurtful words from kids around me and what I thought I was supposed to look like as a teenage boy.

When I was just a child, I was diagnosed with ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. I ran around out of control, and I had an impossible time focusing in school. Like so many other kids with ADD, I was prescribed Ritalin. Every single day I would be pulled out lunch and recess with my friends, and I would be called into the nurses office at school to take my pill. Every single day. It felt like the normalcy of childhood was being taken away from me and I was being reminded again and again that I was different.

It made me feel like something was wrong with me. Like I needed to be fixed. Like I wasn’t enough.

I would carry this feeling with me through all of my childhood. It was never enough and I was never enough.

I would get good grades at school, and I would compare myself to other kids and be hard on myself. I would grow up up constantly comparing myself to my sister, wishing I could just be smarter or better. I was never happy with where I was at, and through all of it I felt this pain in my heart. A pain that I could never understand.

Growing up as a highly empathic child feels confusing and impossible. In constant pain when those around you are suffering, especially those that you love deeply. It felt like no matter what I did it was never enough. I could never fix it. You can feel their pain as if it’s your own, and you feel confused because you don’t know why. You find yourself crying, and as a boy you’re just told you're being too sensitive.

I felt different. I felt like something was wrong with me. Like I wasn’t enough.

And this is the part I really want you to get. ALL of this with the most loving parents in the world. Because even though my parents loved me with everything they had, I never learned how to love myself.

I could still see the little kid who looked and acted different. Who needed to be fixed. Who felt over-sensitive and in pain from those who were around him. Who never felt like he was emotionally ready to handle what life was giving him.

This is how fragile the mind and heart of a child is. This is how painful childhood can be, no matter how much love we give our children or how hard we try to protect them from the pain.

Last year, at a personal development conference, I was asked to write down my limiting beliefs I had about myself. Without thinking, I wrote down “I’m not good enough. I don’t deserve love.”

I sat in serious pain as I stared at those words. The realization sank in. I have been giving and serving my whole life because I thought I didn’t deserve to receive. I didn’t deserve love. I didn’t deserve money. So every time those things came into my life, I would reject them or give them away, or find a way to sabotage them. Because the pain in our childhood creates the beliefs that we live our entire lives by.

But what if somebody would have come into my life when I was still a child and told me that I’m not different? That there’s nothing wrong with me. That I was perfect, just the way I was. That I didn’t need to hurt anymore. That I was good enough. That I deserved it all.

It would have changed my entire life.

That’s exactly why we created RENEW.

I’m not standing by as our children continue to hurt their way through this pain, when we can be giving them the tools to overcome it. When we can show them how beautiful and unique they really are. When we can help them truly learn to love themselves, and start treating themselves like the love and perfection they are.

I’m asking all of you to join me, and do whatever you can to help us reach our goal and bring RENEW to more kids.

Donate: http://renew.causevox.com/

Join as a fundraiser.
Join the RENEW family.
Connect us to people who can support this vision.

Comment

RENEW in Australia!

Comment

RENEW in Australia!

On Sunday December 4th, we spoke to more than 400 conscious leaders at The New Way Live in Sydney, sharing our vision for RENEW.

With hands in prayer, I led the room through an emotional visualization where they pictured a child they love, standing in front of them crying.

"They're crying because somebody told them they're not good enough to go after their dream, and they believed it. They're crying because something happened in their life, and they've been blaming themselves for it. They're crying because no matter how hard they try, they just can't find a way to love themselves. They're crying because life feels so painful and confusing sometimes...and nobody ever taught them how to handle this type of pain."

"And as you sit there with all of their pain in your heart, you feel tears well up in your eyes. Because as you sit and stare at that child, you see yourself in their eyes. You can see all the pain and confusion you went through as a child, and you remember how impossible it felt. You can hear all the voices that told you you're not smart enough, not pretty enough, not good enough. Not enough. With nobody there to teach you how to love yourself. With nobody there to help you discover yourself. With nobody there to help you see how beautiful you really are."

As I held this space for everybody in the room, I could feel myself speaking to their inner child. I looked out and I could see their tears. I breathed deeply and I could feel their hearts.

And in that moment, I realized we are all still the inner child within us. The child who never received the love they deserved. The child who just needed somebody to believe in them. The child who felt hurt and confused, and carried that pain into adulthood...

But what if we healed that child while they're still young? Before the pain turned into blocks...before the self-doubt turned into limiting beliefs that frame their lives?

Imagine how different your life would have looked if you had personal development when you were still a child.

Our children ARE the new way. Let's create a world where all of them learn to love themselves and live their dreams from an early age. Because they deserve that, just like you did.


15390918_10105591474856462_6454219947239527486_n.jpg

On Monday, December 12th we held a RENEW workshop at Springfield Lakes Community Center in Brisbane, Australia.💗❤️💗

When we showed up to the workshop on Monday, it would have been easy to feel disappointed..

We had 10 kids registered for the workshop, but we walked in to only find 3 of them. Not a problem..we did a camp in Arizona this summer with 4 kids and it was one of our most powerful programs ever. So we dug into day one, and it was beautiful.

Then we got there on day 2 and we're greeted by only two of the girls. The third girl couldn't make it and had dropped out of the 3 day program. We felt disappointed, because we feel a deep desire to serve each and every kid and we already how powerful this program can be for them from the minute they sit down with us. But we pushed forward with these beautiful two little girls, and it was one of my favorite days ever in a RENEW workshop. Manaia's parents spent the morning with us, and shared such a beautiful heartfelt moment with their little girl, one that required emotional and physical space where they came together with so much love. I was so taken aback by it, and as I said to Manaia's dad afterwards, "this is so beautiful and I have a feeling that this space was meant to be small. For you to experience this together, as a family. Everything happens for a reason."

As the day moved forward, Janelle and Manaia were so open and honest as Amy dove into self-love. They really let themselves be vulnerable as we talked about what we love about ourselves, but also what we don't love. We talked about the pain of bullying in schools and problems at home, and my heart was truly floored as these girls, 10 and 12 years old, completely opened up to us on just the second day. After tears and long hugs goodbye, we couldn't wait for our third day with these two beautiful souls.

And as we walked in on the third and final day, there was no Janelle. It turned out that her parents work schedule made it impossible for them to drop her off, and so it was just us and Manaia.

We sat and discussed what a workshop looks like for just one student. Usually we have 30-40 students in a room. Never before have we run a program for just one person.

But again, the discussion with Manaia's dad came back to me and the voice came into my head again:

"Everything happens for a reason"

So we set the intention, and decided to pour everything we have into that little girl. To make sure she feels respected, supported, cared for, appreciated, LOVED. We gave her our attention and our hearts, ALL OF IT. And as the day ended, it was all validated with this beautiful smile on her face. The self-doubt was gone. The negative thinking subsiding. Talking openly about her feelings. Declaring "in order to live in my greatness, I will stop blaming myself. I will be kind to myself. I will be a friend to myself."

And with that, a little girl can breathe a little bit easier. Can treat herself with a little bit more ease, more grace. A little bit more love. And that's why we do what we do. To create that space and watch them flourish.

Because at the end of the day, it's not about the numbers. It's about the individual lives you change and transform. It's about that one smile. That one day where she gave herself another chance. That one moment where she decided to appreciate ALL of herself. It's about that ONE dream you just breathed life into.

Because whether it's 1 or 100...you POUR your ENTIRE heart into them...and you watch them spread their wings and change a 100 more. There is a ripple effect that none of us can predict, but all of us will feel.

That is the power of loving fully. One heart at a time.

Comment

Rudy's Workshop Reflection

Comment

Rudy's Workshop Reflection

Joining the RENEW team was one of the wiser choices I have made to further my professional career as a photographer, philanthropist, and youth mentor. As a volunteer in America I always loved mentorship opportunities in after school programs, helping youths develop the strength and courage they need to succeed in school and even in sports. But after training and volunteering with RENEW at Akeri Secondary School, in Tanzania, I can truly say my purpose in becoming a personal growth mentor and role model has grown to a whole new level.

Seeing the transformation in the students each day was enough evidence for me that the benefits of our mentorship program was real and needed. At first, I was dishearten to recognize these shy souls knew nothings about their abilities to change their futures and their capabilities to create a better future for themselves and the world around them. However, after a few days of inspirational guidance and lessons on how to look internally for the answers these students became self-empowered, self-loving, resilient innovators ready to tackle any obstacles standing in the way of their futures and their goals.

Let me try to paint this picture into words. Imagine you live in a world where no one has asked you what you want to be or what you want do when you grow up? Nobody has asked you what you think about your community? Nobody has asked you how you feel about yourself, or even if you feel happy or sad today? Unfortunately, not all educators have the opportunity to  their students these questions because we live in a global society that focuses on our kids becoming text book thinkers rather than self-loving community thinkers. Our philosophy [the RENEW Philosophy] is to train our next generation of leaders to have the ability of internal evaluation about themselves and their communities, so that they can create the most positive impact on the future of their lives as well as the world that surrounds them. 

Most of the students have just a slight understanding of their purposes and existence. They go to school, they do their homework, they talk and play with their friends, they go home to their families, and then they go to sleep; just to wake up and do it all over again. It is like a continuous cycle of rinse and repeat. When our society focuses on cramming knowledge into students heads simply for academic grade point averages, we lose the real meanings of life; what makes us motivated, what keeps us inspired, what allows us to be happy within our own skin. I personally do not want to live in a world where our next generation is forced to do the things they despise just because it makes them enough money to survive. I want to live in a world where the people that surround each other love and honor their integrity, honesty, and loyalty to themselves, their families, and their community. 

This may be the beginning pages in the newest chapter of my life, but having the experience to see the transformations within each student's eyes was probably the most inspirational and enlightening opportunity I have ever taken part of. Being apart of the RENEW team has not only increased my expectations as a youth activist, but it has given me the privilege of elevating a new generation of energetic and proactive leaders in the Tanzanian community. I am seriously so proud of each and every one of these students for taking the right steps towards creating a better future in their lives. Akeri Secondary School now has a predominate and bright future upon them with a new force of innovative leaders ready to take action in the world one project at a time. 

Comment

Emma's Workshop Reflection

2 Comments

Emma's Workshop Reflection

Day one of the workshop at the Akeri Secondary School, just outside of Arusha, Tanzania. We were all welcomed with open arms and the teachers were very excited about our arrival.  As we met the kids, they seemed a little shy at first, but they all seemed eager to be there with us. We had two hours with them after school, Mon-Fri and around 6 hours on Sat and Sun.

Uswege and a student reflecting on a lesson

Uswege and a student reflecting on a lesson

The first day was mostly introductions.  We opened with icebreakers, to get them more comfortable. Us, the volunteers were in charge of coming up with fun, energetic icebreakers for every day. Once we were all aquatinted and full of energy, Adam and Uswege started to get into what RENEW is all about.

Icebreaker, make the other laugh with only your face. These were the two lasting champions. so serious! 

Icebreaker, make the other laugh with only your face. These were the two lasting champions. so serious! 

Every day we started with a fun activity to star off the workshop with the kids, like Rock Paper Scissors, the trust fall, and others to get them having fun. Everyday the kids got more and more comfortable and confident. We shared personal stories with them that were relevant to the lessons,  which to them was impactful. That opened up their trust. The way the workshop is facilitated is great. RENEW shows them that we are all equal, that we are not there to teach, but to learn and grow together, from each other. It is not a teacher-student environment. It is a family-friend environment. We are all learning from one another, the students from us, and us from them.

Students laughing with one another. 

Students laughing with one another. 

The students are so bright. They pick up and absorb the lessons very well, helping them grow as their own unique individuals. They now have the motivation and drive to do better within themselves and their communities.

Write down what you love about your friend on their back. All the students walked around and wrote on each others back. Then they read the paper and felt pure love. 

Write down what you love about your friend on their back. All the students walked around and wrote on each others back. Then they read the paper and felt pure love. 

You start to feel attached to them as the week goes by, feeling their growth, their struggles and their aha! moments. Seeing how personal growth and development impacts them, having them face their struggles and seeing them triumph past them, seeing the life and light in their eyes as they grow into their own personal potential.

Spreading the love by sharing hugs all around, after a heart felt lesson. 

Spreading the love by sharing hugs all around, after a heart felt lesson. 

It is so rewarding to be in their presence, to be a part of their growth and of the beginning of their journey to self love, self discovery and their roles in leadership.  Knowing that I can play a role in their growth to inspire their lives and the lives of their communities is an honor. Those changes they can contribute will then spread beyond their communities and have a greater impact on the world around them.

A student bringing out her Jeaniius and sharing with the class. 

A student bringing out her Jeaniius and sharing with the class. 

As a volunteer, I loved being involved as we able to facilitate some lessons on some of the days. Being able to impact the kids on a personal level as well as being able to document and capture some of the precious and impactful moments during the workshop. Having them respond in a positive way to what you were able to contribute to the lesson is heartwarming.  Just knowing that you are impacting their lives in a powerful and positive way.

One of the students reflecting hard on one of the visualization lessons on the second day. 

One of the students reflecting hard on one of the visualization lessons on the second day. 

I am very blessed to have been a part of what RENEW is doing to help inspire change and growth in our youth around this beautiful planet we call home. And I know that I will be more than grateful to be a part of it again years to come.

Some of the bright souls wanted one last picture before we departed at the end of the workshop. 

Some of the bright souls wanted one last picture before we departed at the end of the workshop. 

2 Comments

RENEW wins Jeaniius Grant at The New Way Live

Comment

RENEW wins Jeaniius Grant at The New Way Live

SCOTTSDALE—On May 28, 2016, RENEW was gifted more than $50,000 at The New Way Live, an event hosted by Peta Kelly at the JW Mariott in Scottsdale. RENEW was the first ever recipient of the Jeaniius Grant, a $10k investment to an idea, initiative or cause initiating change.

Adam and Uswege presenting their 5 minute "Move That Matters" on stage at The New Way Live.

Adam and Uswege presenting their 5 minute "Move That Matters" on stage at The New Way Live.

“They educate children around the world from USA to Africa on the most important thing we can ever teach kids – how to love themselves. When I announced them as the winner, the ensure room erupted and then the magic happened – the audience, one by one came up to the room and added on their own gift to the giant cheque, bringing the total to $51k. It was one of the most memorable moments of everyone's life, safe to say. The power of community is so damn beautiful,” says Kelly.

RENEW is an international organization that was founded in Tanzania by Adam Rubin and Uswege Mwakapango to provide young people with the social and emotional skills necessary to overcome limiting beliefs and start living in their greatness. “Students who experience the workshops discover their unique potential, step into their power and become the next generation of conscious leaders,” says Rubin. Since 2013, RENEW has trained more than 1,000 students in Tanzania. In April 2015, RENEW began their program in Arizona and since then they have hosted workshops for more than 100 students in the state.

“We are so grateful for this opportunity to help more children globally. This $10k award, and the heart-driven contributions from the audience members, speaks volumes of the need to bring personal growth and transformation into the classroom and to help kids start living their dreams at an early age. Thank you all so much for transforming the lives of children with us,” says Mwakapango.

The New Way Live is a 2-day millennial retreat hosted by Peta Kelly. According to her website, the event is a “two-day face-to-face team huddle for Millennials who want to show the world how good it’s REALLY meant to be.” The event featured top speakers in the personal development field such as Joel Brown, Alexi Panos and Preston Smiles.

 

For more information about RENEW, please visit www.renewchange.org, or contact Adam Rubin at (928) 925-0293.

 

For more information about Peta Kelly and The New Way Live, please visit http://petakelly.com/thenewwaylive.

Comment

RENEW will lead projects around the world for Global Youth Service Day!

Comment

RENEW will lead projects around the world for Global Youth Service Day!

In honor of Global Youth Service Day, RENEW will host a 3-day workshop in Sedona, Arizona with Verde Valley School from April 15th - 17th. Verde Valley School is an International Baccalaureate World School based in service and experiential education; hosting high school students from Rwanda, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Vietnam, China, El Salvador, Russia, and more. Like RENEW, Verde Valley School also fosters critical thinking and principled inquiry to empower students to become involved community members. This is an incredible milestone for RENEW, as it will be our first workshop hosted at a school in Arizona!

Verde Valley School in Sedona, Arizona.

Verde Valley School in Sedona, Arizona.

University students at TICD who participated in our workshop in January will be mobilizing their fellow students to participate in a cleaning project. Currently, student demonstrate a culture of dependence on employees of the Institute to clean for them, even when these cleaners are not available for that. This habit has been leaving their sensitive areas like washing rooms, toilets (and the environment surrounding the institute) very dirty and threatening to their personal hygiene. This project will challenge that expectation, and was inspired by their spirit of personal accountability and the fact that there is life after college. So, it is important if every student will start to learn how to take care of themselves by starting to take charge in cleaning activities in days which institute cleaners are not there to clean. These students planned to pass by all classrooms to motivate people to join the movement, but also use different posters to promote the project and send their message to the larger community. Aside from this, they are planning to invite different leaders within their communities and the media to take their message to scale.

Uswege discussing service-learning and community development with students at TICD. 

Uswege discussing service-learning and community development with students at TICD. 

High school students at Nzonda Haki Secondary School who participated in our workshop in March will be planting trees in order to protect their school from a continuing eroding valley which is threatening the safety of students within the school. These students will be mobilizing their fellow students to collect trees, plant and take care of them to make sure they grow, and act as erosion protector during rain season. Upendo Mwakyusa, one of the Nzonda Haki students who voted for this project, said: "School is one of my communities that I depend up on, and spend most of time at. Rescuing my school from a growing valley that is threatening the safety of all of us will not just save us, but also more students who will be joining this school after us. That is why I want our community service project to focus on fixing this valley.”

An eroding valley near Nzonda Haki Secondary School in Mbeya, Tanzania.

An eroding valley near Nzonda Haki Secondary School in Mbeya, Tanzania.

To learn more about Global Youth Service Day, check out: www.gysd.org

Comment

RENEW workshop at Nzonda Haki Secondary School

1 Comment

RENEW workshop at Nzonda Haki Secondary School

As an organization that facilitates dreams among young people; observing their potential unfold means the world to us. Feeling blessed to facilitate and see young people become MORE – more version of themselves, and are growing confident to engage in services that do not just feed their community, but their heart and soul. Today, I draw my energy from our current transformative leadership workshop with 48 students from Nzonda Haki Secondary School whose goals were to facilitate self-awareness, and inner transformation among young people together with building their capacity to transform their external world. - these kids are capable of something that I was not when I was at their age. Their dreams and readiness represents youth’s voice and their determination that should be tapped.

My co-facilitator Michael Mwaigombe leading the participants into an energizer in order to give our day a right rhythm.

My co-facilitator Michael Mwaigombe leading the participants into an energizer in order to give our day a right rhythm.

First the students shared their learning expectations including learning how to protect and nurture their dreams, build self confidence, and how to create a job out of their dreams. Then we took them through a series of activities for self-awareness, self-esteem, inspiring habits, leadership and power, personal resilience and perseverance. We also guided them through a dreaming and visioning reflection which helped them to establish new commitments.

“I gained confidence and encouragement. The learning about leadership has helped me a lot; in the past some people used to tell me that I am a leader and so I should run for a position, but I used to tell them that I am not a leader and I don’t have confidence. This year I am going to run for the election and I believe I will win the election because I have the confidence in myself and I believe in myself." 

“I gained confidence and encouragement. The learning about leadership has helped me a lot; in the past some people used to tell me that I am a leader and so I should run for a position, but I used to tell them that I am not a leader and I don’t have confidence. This year I am going to run for the election and I believe I will win the election because I have the confidence in myself and I believe in myself." 

One of the popular dialogues imaged during the workshop was on community service planning which brings together four different groups with four different project ideas persuading other groups to buy into their idea. The first group wanted all participants to teach the session on self-awareness to other young people living in the neighboring street – with the point that lack of self-awareness is the leading cause of unhealthy behavior amongst youth. The second group wanted to bring their service to sick people in the hospital, with the reason that sick people always needs extra support and that hospital is a place for everyone. The third group wanted to do the project a talent – with the point that there is a lot of talented youth who are doing nothing with their talent. The last group of which managed to persuade all participants to join them; their project idea was about creating safe learning environment by planting trees to protect their school environment from continuing erosion that is creating a dangerous valley around the school.

"School is one of my communities which I depend up on, and spend most of time at. Rescuing my school from a growing valley that is threatening the safety of all of us will not just save us, but also more students who will be joining this school after us. That is why I want our community service project in our school."

"School is one of my communities which I depend up on, and spend most of time at. Rescuing my school from a growing valley that is threatening the safety of all of us will not just save us, but also more students who will be joining this school after us. That is why I want our community service project in our school."

The workshop ended by each participants sharing with us what they are going to start/stop doing NOW in order to reach their goals and dreams. I hope you will be as excited as we were to hear their new commitments; the leading commitment was to study hard, followed by protection from peer pressure, to respect everyone, awareness in everything I do, prayer, Be honest, Believe in myself, Never give up, Relate well with people, Make good decision for myself, Be serious, time management just to mention a few.

I can’t wait to share with you the impact of community service project that these students will begin soon.

“What has inspired me from the workshop is ‘self-confidence’, I used not to have self-confidence but now I have self-confidence and that is why I can stand before you. But also, I would like to educate other students who do not know what we learned about in the workshop since now we are the mirror of this school."

“What has inspired me from the workshop is ‘self-confidence’, I used not to have self-confidence but now I have self-confidence and that is why I can stand before you. But also, I would like to educate other students who do not know what we learned about in the workshop since now we are the mirror of this school."

Special blessings to all RENEW friends whose actions makes these workshops possible. Sending a lot of love to Nzonda Haki students for sharing learning space with us; special thanks to Mr. Charles Mwasenga – second headmaster for Nzonda Haki and my former Biology teacher during my secondary school – his contribution in everything we do and his love to his students is substantial. I extend my appreciation to Humphrey Michael and Zawadi Mbembela for co-facilitating this workshop with me and Michael Mwaigombe. Your participation gave us more strength.

From the left is Michael Mwaigombe, followed by Mr.Mwasenga in black trouser, then Zawadi Mbembela, and Humphrey Michael.