Twelve years ago, Dhaarmika Coelho was sitting in a train in India, reading the newspaper. When she finished reading, a man put out his hand. Coelho assumed he wanted the newspaper, so she handed it to him and before she knew it, the newspaper was being passed and shared around the train for others to read. By the end of the ride, Coelho’s newspaper found its way back to her.
Coelho, who lives in Redmond, left inspired by what she had just experienced. Since then, that simple act of sharing that newspaper stayed with her.
“If that moment of kindness can stay with someone for so long, that has to be super powerful,” she said.
With 20-plus years of teaching experience in the United States and Asia as well as being new to parenting and recollecting that simple act of kindness, Coelho decided to open Camp Kindness Counts in 2012.
Camp Kindness Counts provides opportunities for children and families to get involved and make a difference in the community. The camp organizes service camps, family service events and enrichment in school and Kind World Clubs.
Through community service, kids are inspired to be confident, curious and to lead with kindness. The activities focus on encouraging empathy and bringing awareness through mindfulness exercises.
The organization’s mission is to “empower kids to embrace their authentic selves through mindfulness,” which enables them to “make a positive impact in their communities through kindness.”
“We tell the kids, ‘You may be 7 but you’re important. You matter and your voice matters. Your actions and thoughts matter. You can make a difference,’” said Coelho.
This is Camp Kindness Counts’ fourth year hosting a fundraiser, which was held Oct. 20 on the Microsoft campus in Redmond. The evening consisted of Indian street food and free Dandiya (Bollywood and Indian folk dance) lessons. The past three years were made possible by Camp Kindess Counts’ supporters and volunteers. This year was especially made possible by the supporters from Microsoft who hosted this year’s fundraiser.
Children were encouraged to bring snack packs that would be donated to those experiencing homelessness in the community.
At the event children made mindful lovies — or blankets — and cards of encouragement for foster children of the Olive Crest.
“The kids feel like superheroes and you can see it in their faces,” said Coelho.
To learn more about Camp Kindness Counts and to find upcoming service projects, visit CampKindnessCounts.org.