Emotional Support Through Physical Education Lessons Online

Needless to say, frightening days of quarantine had an impact on such vulnerable groups as children and young people. Responding to this difficult situation, the team of the Kazickas Family Foundation “Youth Can” program is searching for creative ways to connect students to the program and each other, to keep them positive, physically active and to support them emotionally.

Continuing its mission, “Youth Can” program with its life skills and active lifestyle curriculum has been moved online. Live stream lessons where physical exercises are  combined with inspirational videos, stories and shared experiences of Lithuania’s well known people, are available to everyone on “Youth Can” Facebook page.

“Many different activities could be found online, schools switched to virtual classrooms and remote learning. Therefore, teachers are concerned that physical activity among children decreases during the quarantine. Needless to say, regular physical activity helps to maintain good health, relieves stress and boosts the mood. According to the statistics, only 20% of youth in Lithuania were physically active before the quarantine, the number may dramatically fall during this period of time”- says “Youth Can“ manager Arminas Vareika.

Well known people of Lithuania were also invited to join this initiative to promote and engage youth into physical activity lessons three times a week. Famous basketball players Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Domantas Vilys and track and field athlete Jolanta Verseckaite invited young people to do sports, whereas accordionist Martynas Levickis shared his thoughts and experience about integrity. Many more active and socially responsible people are invited to be a part of this unique program.

Moreover, “Youth Can” students are actively engaging and sharing their own two minute stretches online with an audience. It is a great opportunity for teens to boost their self-confidence and gain invaluable experience in public speaking.

“Youth Can” student Emilija Greviškytė who has been with the program for a while shares her experience: “The day, my recorded workout was planned to go online, I felt like I was celebrating my birthday. I live in a small town, so it was quite a challenge to present my own workout to the whole Lithuania. It was such a boost of confidence and empowerment. That day I received many greetings and encouraging words from my friends and relatives. That was a truly memorable experience”.

According to “Youth Can” coordinator Aistė Baronaitė-Bertašienė, emotional support and fostering the sense of community are very important to young people during this difficult time. “We are extremely grateful to “Youth Can“ coaches, who are there for almost 300 program’s boys and girls in sixteen different villages and small towns across Lithuania. The coaches hold weekly group conferences online, where students can share their feelings and thoughts, discuss the challenges they face, and receive guidance and support needed“.

“Youth Can” coaches, who are in constant communication with the students, learn about the financial difficulties some families face because of COVID-19 situation. Responding to their needs, “Youth Can” team makes sure that struggling families receive the support from the Kazickas Family Foundation, whether it is food supplies or other basic goods.

During the quarantine, “Youth Can” program and the Kazickas Family Foundation seek to support the well being of the students as well as their communities and help them with the challenges they face during such uncertain times.  

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