For people feeling powerless to change the world for the better, Salt Spring-based children’s singer and social activist Raffi has a solution.
Raffi and some valued colleagues have created an online, self-paced Child Honouring course geared not only for educators and people who work with children but for parents, community leaders and “Beluga grads.” The latter group are adults who grew up with Raffi’s music, including his iconic Baby Beluga song.
“There are millions of [Beluga grads] out there being invited to be part of this,” he said from the Salt Spring headquarters of the Raffi Foundation for Child Honouring.
The course has 10 modules that explore the Child Honouring Covenant and its nine principles, which range from Respectful Love to Safe Environments. It uses text, illustration, videos and some music, of course. A download of Raffi’s album for adults called Motivational Songs is included.
Raffi calls the result “an interdisciplinary course in conscious living,” which also has links to resources to encourage participants to go deeper into the material.
“A course like this invites people to think of themselves as changemakers,” said Raffi. “The aim is for one to take the course and to feel inspired going through the modules . . . and then to feel empowered to be part of something . . . All of us can make some change for the better in our world.”
The idea to create the course came about after Raffi saw a multi-pronged illustration that Victoria-based compassionate educator Kristin Wiens made to depict Child Honouring.
“Once I saw it, I thought, ‘My goodness, I think this is how I would like people to learn about Child Honouring.’”
Somehow Wiens managed to effectively communicate “big ideas” like “redesigning society for the greatest good by meeting the priority needs of the very young” in a friendly, joyful way.
“She is big on joy and so am I,” he explained.
Holly McDonald of Spark and Co. on Salt Spring was the course’s online architect and another key project partner.
“She was wonderful to work with and as she went along in it she got excited about the breadth and she brought a lot to the course. Her supportive work was tremendous.
“As you get going with a team of people, what you’re working on becomes far more than what you envisioned at the beginning.”
Raffi would ideally like to see the course become mandatory for all teachers in B.C. or in other jurisdictions, in the same way that all parents of youth enrolled in hockey in B.C. must take an online Respect in Sport course.
Wiens and Raffi also envision workshops and seminars of various lengths being offered.
Raffi views the course as a “legacy project,” noting that he will turn 71 this year.
For more information about the Raffi Foundation for Child Honouring and the course, visit www.raffifoundation.org. Island residents receive a 20 per cent discount.