Mini Mermaid and Young Tritons has been a HUGE part of my life for nearly 3 years. I can’t imagine my life without it, without waking up at 3am in the morning with ideas and worries and scribbling them down in my notebook (#oldschool), without everyday being blown away by the dedication and support of my AMAZING community and without the amount of Mermaid gifts that I have been given!
In this time, we have had near to 700 girls through our programmes, we are just about to launch other pockets of programmes throughout the country, AND we are continuing to grow the boys programme.
The inspirational MMRC founder, Heidi Boynton had visited the UK when we were a little fledging organisation and so it was only right that it was my turn to go and visit her over in the USA (It was a tough decision, leaving a -2 degree, grey and soggy Leeds, to go to the 24 degree blue skied California in December!)
This trip wasn’t just about cementing the Mini Mermaid relationship with Heidi, (watch her brilliant TED talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbNDisGJ1wE) but also to meet and form relationships with the USA team that has been instrumental in the success of the programme in the States. It was also going to give me an opportunity to see the work of the charity ‘Finding Sophia’ and to help set up and run a ‘I Am More Than What You SEA’ a retreat for women based on the principles of Mini Mermaids.
As I arrived at LAX, I was a bit nervous, I hadn’t seen Heidi in nearly two years and with only having brief skype conversations with her every few weeks and with my anxiety at leaving the kids for a week it was a bit overwhelming. Everything felt a bit much and surreal walking through the arrivals door. However, as soon as Heidi dived over to me and enveloped me into a HUGE bear hug, I knew everything was cool.
The next day we collected Marisol (Mini Mermaid Creative Director, she is the one responsible for all of the cool artwork!) from the airport and headed to Mexico to see a wonderful woman that the Finding Sophia project has supported over the last 10 years, by building her a house and providing her with work. https://www.findingsophia.org/
Esveide and her family were incredibly welcoming, Their home was warm and filled with love and happiness. Clearly, I don’t speak a word of Spanish. Esveide and her family found this quite amusing as I tried to join in the conversations and nod my head at what I thought were appropriate occasions.
The Finding Sophia project not only provided Esveide with a home for her and her family, but it also pays her to make bracelets, necklaces and ornaments. This gives her a guaranteed income each month so that she can support her family. http://www.lovebeadsproject.org/
What struck me the most is the positive impact that she is having on her children. As we were leaving, her eldest came over with some things that she had been making and showed them to us, asking if we would consider buying them from her. 10 years ago, this wouldn’t have been an option for her, but because of the positive influence that her mum has had, it has sparked another entrepreneur in the family. (NB to self, go easy on the Mexican taco’s next time… hot hot hot!)
‘I Am More Than What You Sea’ is a retreat that was set on the incredible Lavender Farm. https://www.kclfarm.com/ A wonderful environment with generous hosts and a postcard picture location. The retreat was set up by Mini Mermaid Running Club to spread the message of Mini Mermaids and help women from all backgrounds to identify with the principles of the programme.
The retreat uses a combination of meditation, yoga, running and workshops. This was a safe environment where every woman there was cheering for each other. Everyone came away from the day feeling refreshed and ready to address their Siren voices that have been holding them back.
Meeting and integrating with the Mini Mermaid team was wonderful and I felt at home. Everyone has the same vison and mission, to enable the next generation of women to grow up with strong, powerful voices, loving their bodies, moving their bodies and accepting who they are.
I am immensely proud of being a part of this awesome family and I am grateful to all of the team in the USA and all of the team in the UK for the support, love and commitment that they show to me, a crazy lady from Leeds.