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  • Writer's pictureMaya Lemaire

365 Kindness: Year 1, Day 29 - Dr Erin Parkes

Hello everyone!

I am excited to feature another person for this 365 Kindness project! If you are new to this project, I do my best to find someone who spreads Kindness, empowerment or inspiration in what they do and then feature them here on my website. I usually do this once a week.

I do my best to feature people from a wide range of backgrounds and professions because I believe kindness, empowerment and inspiration are present everywhere.

Today I am going to be featuring Dr Erin Parkes. I will let her introduce herself below! ____________________________________________________________________

Image Provided by Dr Erin Parkes

Dr. Erin Parkes, Founder and Executive Director, Lotus Centre for Special Music Education

Erin received her Bachelor of Music, Master of Arts in Musicology, and Graduate Certificate in Piano Pedagogy Research from the University of Ottawa. She completed a PhD in Music Education from McGill University in 2015, where she researched how to effectively train studio music teachers to work with students with autism. Erin has been teaching music since 1996 and has worked with students of all ages in a variety of settings. In addition to her work at Lotus Centre, Erin is an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa where she specializes in music education for populations with exceptionalities. She presents at conference and guest lectures throughout North America and internationally on teaching music to students with special needs and other issues in music education.

Erin passionately believes that all children have the capacity to learn and enjoy music as long as they are in an environment that meets their needs and uses their strengths to allow them to grow. She founded the Lotus Centre in 2012 based on three things: her experiences teaching children with special needs, the diagnosis of her son with autism spectrum disorder, and her research indicating a lack of options for students with special needs seeking music education. All three indicated a pressing need for a specialized centre that could provide music lessons, conduct research to determine best practice in special music education, and provide teacher training to allow more music educators work with children with special needs. Her mission is to improve access to music education for learners of all abilities.

What does the word/sentiment of Kindness mean to you?

To me, kindness is love in action. It can be big or small or anything in between, but when you show love through kindness or are shown love through kindness, it creates positivity that grows. For me, this comes through in big ways in my work and with my family, but also in every day interactions.

What do you do to implement Kindness in your life and/or How has Kindness affected you (ex: in your life, job. relationships, day to day life etc.)

***Please note that for this questions the person/project who is being featured was told they could pick one part of this question or answer more than one/all of the parts of this question.

I’m an educator and tend to see a lot of my life through that lens, so the act of teaching to me is a kindness. I’m sharing something with my students, their families, my own kids, etc., and I’m sharing it out of love and wanting to help through giving of my talents and abilities. But beyond that, I think that the reason I’ve been successful in my work and particularly with children with special needs and their families is that I respect them and love them for who they are. I genuinely enjoy being with my students and feel privileged to be part of their lives, and I think that comes through.

What do you do to share/increase kindness in the lives of people around or people you communicate with.

For me, creating a culture of kindness at Lotus Centre has always been paramount. As our staff has grown, more than anything I need to see that they love being with the students and show them and their families kindness in every interaction. I model it constantly, and just generally stay mindful of creating a positive environment, as I think we’re all more likely to show kindness when we feel good. Like I said above about kindness growing, the more staff we have living out that kindness at Lotus Centre, the more impact we can have, and it’s been such a gift for me to see that happen. And in return, the kindness of our staff, the kids and the families help me. It’s a kindness circle!

What is one message you think the world currently needs to hear?

Love your neighbour. You don’t need to agree with them in any way,but show them respect and kindness. Put out what you want to get back.

Is there anything else in the realm of empowerment, inspiration or kindness you would like to share?

(I.e something you read, something you wanted to add about what you do, a resource people can use in their struggles or journey’s, a piece of advice you think is essential to know, etc.)

Take time to meditate every day. Connect with the part of yourself that is peaceful and open. This has truly changed my ability to approach difficult situations with grace and kindness. ___________________________________________________________________________

That's it for this Guest Post. Thank you Erin for answering these questions and giving us your insight and views on kindness!

If you like what you read don't forget to visit you can find out more about Dr Erin Parkes work Here.

If you likes this post please feel free to comment or share, you can also join the 365 Kindness Facebook group where all discussions are welcome (as long as they are respectful and kind) and where all bonus content is shared!

Love and Light to you all and until tomorrow.

***Don’t forget! You can nominate someone or something for me to feature by sending me an email at ! My goal is to feature someone at least once a week!

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