We had the good fortune of connecting with Dhaarmika Coelho and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dhaarmika, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Curiosity and the desire to nurture kindness in my local community is what motivated me to start Camp Kindness Counts. In 2012, reading about bullying in schools and unkind occurances in the world, I wondered what could help to change that. I wanted my kids to live in a place where kindness mattered and caring was common and was certain other parents desired the same. Focusing on the positive and the goodness versus the negative was important to me. I looked for an organization that highlighted nurting kindness as their main focus and I could not find one here in the greater Seattle area. So I thought maybe I could start an organization that provides kids the opportunity to practice kindness in the community through service. A few months later Camp Kindness Counts was born.
What should our readers know about your business?
At Camp Kindness Counts we focus on one thing— how can we build a kinder world?
It takes a great deal of effort, dedication and patience to nurture this but there is a way! One kid, adult, family at a time needs the opportunity to practice kind or prosocial actions and then take a moment to think about what they just did and how they felt and lastly do this with others! Providing opportunities and ideas for individuals to gather with each other, support each other and the community, and reflect on their actions together is what makes our work unique. We get super excited when a young person shares the positive and inspiring feelings they have when they teach others how to build on their strength of compassion or organize a family service project for their community. In that moment we know the kid is going to continue in their journey of kindness and motivate others as well!
What makes our work difficult is the busy, fast paced lives of people and change in familes gathering as a community. People are getting used to faster results to things they put energy or money towards. While many value kindness there is a struggle with pausing and intentionally practicing it in daily life and within a community setting with others. This has made our journey not very easy. It took many years to understand what works for parents. We learned we needed to listen more to what parent are sharing and think of creative ways to nuture community to support them. Our resilience, positive outlook and belief in the goodness of humanity is what keeps us motivated. Nurturing kind character such as compassion, curiosity and gratitude takes time and intention. We help to create those moments for parents and kids to slow down, gain awareness, and practice building on their strengths though Family Service Projects, Service Camps and starting a neighborhood or school Kind World Explorers club with our free Kind World Explorers curriculum. In doing so, each individual is truly helping to build a kinder world.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If someone was to visit me in my city I would take them on a hike to Poo Poo Point or any of the hundereds of trails in the greater Seattle area. We have so many places to enjoy and appreciate nature out here. The very old, tall evergreens are contantly providing the experience of awe. We’d then maybe drive across the 520 bridge to see the view of Mt.Ranier and the Seattle skyline, I never get tired of how the city and mountains look from this vantage point. While in Seattle we’d snack around at Pikes Place and grab lunch over the by the water to watch all the ferries go by. It’s fun to walk around the different parts of the city and observe the old and new architecture and learn about the history of Seattle at MOHAI. I”d drop off some of the snacks from Pikes Place in one of the Tiny homes village which serve those transitioning out of homelessness and stop by the Gates foundation visitors center or Amazon’s Spheres to learn about the efforts they are making for the greater good. In the evening heading to Woodinville to listen to some music over handmade pizza or pasta and tasting some of the wine brought in from local vineyards a perfect way to end the evening. If I had a few more days we’d definitely take a road trip to Portland for more hiking, eating and visit Powell’s city of Books. Then go West to the Tillicum cheese factory and finally south the the town of Florence for some sand dune buggy riding and horse back riding on the beach!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d love to give a shout out to my parents Hansa and Jayanti Nayee who have raised me with so much love and patience, my kids and husband who have reminded me about the importance of kindness and presence, and all the Camp Kindness Counts volunteers who inspire us to keep doing the work we do to nurture a kinder world!
Youtube: Camp Kindness Counts