Shepard yoga students at the high school, 13049 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights, participated in Cardz for Kidz, a collection and distribution of uplifting cards to all ages of people across the globe. (Supplied photos)

Shepard yoga students at the high school, 13049 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights, participated in Cardz for Kidz, a collection and distribution of uplifting cards to all ages of people across the globe. (Supplied photos)

Cardz for Kidz at Shepard High School

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By Kelly White

Yoga enhances connections among the mind, body and spirit. Shepard High School’s yoga students infused these spiritual teachings with their daily lives and passed along messages of peace, love and care to others.

These students, ranging from sophomores to seniors, at the high school, 13049 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights, participated in Cardz for Kidz, a collection and distribution of uplifting cards to all ages of people across the globe.

“What I loved most about this project was that there was a possibility that our cards are some people’s only support system in times of need and that’s a very meaningful thing to me,” Maya Conners, 17, of Crestwood, said.

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Shepard yoga students at the high school, 13049 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights, participated in Cardz for Kidz, a collection and distribution of uplifting cards to all ages of people across the globe.

Recipients of the cards included, but were not limited to, sick children in local hospitals, veterans, seniors in nursing homes and kids in foster care.

“We are in such a ‘me, me, me’ time where we put ourselves at the forefront of everything we do and think about, often seeing what we don’t have more than what we do have,” Mary Noren, yoga and physical education instructor at Shepard, said. “Shifting their perspectives to see that someone out there has bigger struggles than their own can help them realize that life isn’t so bad.

Noren, a certified yoga instructor who has been teaching yoga at Shepard for more than five years, was responsible for implementing the project.

“Through Cardz for Kidz, students realized that they have the power to help someone in need, on any scale, at any time,” Noren said. “It doesn’t need to be a huge, elaborate, grandiose gesture, but something as small as a card can literally change someone’s day, or even their life. Kindness causes a ripple effect and I truly feel some big ripples were created by doing this activity.”

This is the first year Noren and her students took part in Cardz for Kidz, but she said she is happy to continue on the gesture annually.

“Each year I always try to get my Yoga students involved in some sort of good cause,” Noren said. “Normally, at Shepard we host a food drive and I get my students involved with that. But because of the pandemic, we have not been able to do the drive.”

Noren heard an advertisement about Cardz for Kidz, which launched in 2010 with the simple idea of sending handmade cards to those in need, while driving to work one day.

“Cardz for Kidz is such an honest and meaningful start up to the company and for such a good cause,” Noren said. “Being the first year of trying this, I kept my expectations at a reasonable level, and the kids just surpassed them by miles. We talk a lot about kindness, positivity and gratitude in my yoga classes and I wanted to do something with them that would expand on those ideals.”

For the project, Noren supplied all her yoga students with endless amounts of paper, stickers, scissors, glue and paints. Students worked using Google, Pinterest and their own creative ideas to design uplifting and positive cards for individuals going through difficult times. Some students even made cards at home on their own time.

Approximately 185 cards were made.

Some of the messages inside were little jokes, some were motivational and inspiring, and some were simply warm greetings, letting the person know they are being thought about.

Messages included: ‘When times get rough, just remember you are loved’, ‘You’re amazing’, and ‘It’s okay to not be okay. You’re doing your best and that is always enough’.

“Honestly, I liked seeing how incredibly artistic and creative my students are,” Noren said. “I was just so blown away by their works of art. And giving them an opportunity to put someone else before themselves can be life changing.”

The cards were shipped to Cardz for Kidz the week of Valentine’s Day in order to be distributed, just in time to spread messages of kindness.

“I think it’s really cool that we were able to do this,” Fernanda Munoz, 17, of Worth, said.

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