I grew up listening to my grandmother tell magical stories with powerful lessons that applied to my life, so when my own daughter was born, I wanted to find a way to make that style of storytelling relevant today. Drawing on my own background in counseling and social work, I began to infuse those stories with the themes impacting kids today–like developing a strong sense of self to stand up against bullying or avoid body image issues–without losing the magic and emotion that has helped storytelling endure throughout history. My answer was The Campfire Method (TM).
Launched in 2020, The Campfire Method (TM) uses a mental health lens to help fortify kids against the dragons and monsters they face today: from bullying and unhealthy comparisons to stress, anxiety and depression; from navigating doubt from the self and others, to isolation, loneliness, and peer pressure. At the same time, it gives parents the tools they need to share ancient stories in a fun and engaging way, taking their children on a magical carpet ride to far-off lands and developing an appreciation of cultural diversity along the way. The characters we all know and love become powerful role models for how to persevere despite challenges. The Campfire Method Activities (TM) complement each story with fun, hands-on learning activities that give children the chance to practice the lessons in the story.
Meet Anuja Khemka
Anuja is a New York City-based author, columnist, philanthropy leader, and MSW working in education, and mental health and wellness. In 2020, she launched The Campfire Method (TM) to help parents use storytelling to not only connect with their children but to build key strengths and mindsets to take on the unique challenges they face, such as bullying, self-doubt, body image issues, peer pressure, anxiety and overwhelm. The Campfire Method (TM) was selected for a weekly column on the preeminent wellness platform, Thrive Global. She has also developed a series of books to help children build a sense of self, a growth mindset, and resilience. In addition to that, Anuja is an active columnist on Forbes, where she shares tips for mom-entrepreneurs tackling work-life balance, anxiety, stress, and burnout.
Anuja is currently the Executive Director of Children’s Hope India, an organization dedicated to bringing high-quality education, healthcare, nutrition, and skills attainment to the most vulnerable populations in India and New York. From 2017 to 2020, as Executive Director of national mental health equity nonprofit the Steve Fund, she partnered with universities around the country to rebuild their campuses as culturally-sensitive environments and support 2.5 million young people of color. In 2020, Anuja was selected by Crain’s New York Business as a 2020 Notable Woman in Healthcare for Mental Health. Anuja has spent 15 years in the corporate sector in senior roles, the Goldman Sachs Foundation, and JPMorgan Foundation. Her work has been featured in Parents, the Huffington Post, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and the New York Times. You can follow her on Instagram @thecampfiremethod and on Facebook @thecampfiremethod