10,000 Buddha’s – California

Old world tradition meets real world reality in one amazing day, in Ukiah California!

As the title states, this was where we found ourselves yesterday, blending old world tradition with street realities by way of two school presentations within one event day.

The night before we’d time traveled back 3,000 years to sleep in ancient China while staying at the Buddhist Community called “10,000 Buddhas.” We were lulled to sleep by the distant calls of Peacocks looking for their partner to sleep for the night in the trees above where we parked. It’s the craziest feeling, as we instantly were transported backwards by 3,000 years when we entered the compound’s massive wooden gates, guarding what felt like an ancient sacred place. Check out the pictures!

It used to be the area’s mental institution until the community bought the property and converted it to their community and school, Instilling Goodness Elementary. We even got invited to speak to their adult population upon arrival in the Sacred Temple. I am proud to inform you, it’s the first time our Run For One Planet presentation has been translated into Chinese! Pretty cool hey! The translator was madly writing as I sped my words, feeling passionate about our cause, looking at a crowd in a temple that felt older than the sun. I realized I had to slow down to let her catch up, so as not to get a hand cramp!

The other part of our experience was presenting to a group of at-risk youth who find safe haven, a place to learn and a chance to live a better life off the streets at North Haven School, here in Ukiah. Many of the students at North Haven have been placed here by the State or the court system and come from San Francisco and other areas of California to re-enter society after youth detention. But like our host and school Principle, Kimberly Forrsell told us, “These kids are amazing and just need a safe place to land, for support, a sense of family and the all important safety net.” Many of the kids we had the privilege to meet don’t have a home or parents able to bring them up.

We felt lucky to be asked to present there, let me tell ya! Their enthusiasm for what we’re doing was high, they got into asking questions about being green and what things they were doing, like riding their bikes and recycling. Steph even got a massive bear hug from one of the students who she’d been speaking with afterwards!

We went back to the Buddhist community for an afternoon of action-filled presentations, great discussions on our tour, some laughter-filled lunch with giggly school girls and some running to end what was the perfect day. The kids were alive with enthusiasm, like our friends at North Haven, and hailed from all points around the world (including giggly girl #1, Vanessa from Burnaby), as this is an International school.

I love that we still leave every school saying, “That was the BEST one EVER!” It makes us know we’re making a difference and know it’s even more about kids and the work we must do as we launch the Legacy for Kids, after we unlace on May 8th.

Just like our day here in Ukiah, our whole time on this Run For One Planet highway has burned into our souls, knowing that this tour is all about inspiring and teaching these amazing kids we’re privileged to spend time with. Like Steph says so brilliantly, “they are OUR leaders and the future is NOW.”

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