When your passion in life is helping others, then taking a vacation looks very similar to the work you do every day. This is how Mosaic’s John Coleman spent his week-long vacation, volunteering at a healing retreat for children with unique medical needs.
The Integrated Touch for Kids (ITK) Healing Retreat was hosted at a ranch in Tucson, Arizona. According to their website, ITK is a nonprofit organization whose mission is, “To change the way people experience health and healing through a unique Whole Child, Whole Family, Whole Community wellness model,” through this vision, “To break down social barriers and engage communities in support of families struggling with special medical needs, improving the quality of life for all.”
John’s sister and daughter were chosen to attend the healing retreat last year and after hearing how beneficial the retreat was, John decided to apply as a volunteer for this year’s retreat.
“There were over 250 volunteers, doctors, practitioners and three employees. It’s amazing how something like that comes together with mostly volunteers. Even young kids were volunteers,” John said.
John was paired with a buddy and said they immediately hit it off. His 16 year old buddy, Josh was a sports fanatic and loves the White Sox. Even though Josh lives in Tucson, John and he have spoken almost daily and feels a lasting relationship has developed with Josh’s family.
“Throughout this experience I gained a connection with my buddy through sports. I used this to make things fun and keep him interested in activities. Getting to know him through that time I was able to form a bond with him and his family that will last for many years. It was cool how they acted like they were the White Sox and they won the World Series and celebrated as if it was real. From the time spent with him I gave everything to make the experience for him fun which he ended up having a good time. In the end I got more back from the time I helped him and I’m thankful for the opportunity,” John said.
The Healing Retreat is structured to introduce families to therapies that help manage pain, stress and anxiety. There is counseling and support services for families and caregivers as well as relaxation time without cell phones and televisions. John’s sister said for her, just developing the long term, close friendships with other parents helped her feel tremendously supported.
Some of the therapies offered include: massage, reiki, cranial sacral, bio-touch, water games, food games like taste tests, sound therapy with music, vision, arts and crafts, rec time, equine, movement and a native energy session. There was a butterfly release to symbolize rebirth, a bonfire with Cherokee Indians, line-dancing, movie night and workshops for parents.
“I wanted to go to experience it since my sister said how great it was. Overall I think it made a very good impact on myself and the families because it gave them time to not worry. It was relaxing and how life should be, with no phones or TV, healthy eating and time with family and friends,” John said.
For more information, visit http://www.integrativetouch.org/