Pew Researchers among others have noted the increased stress to moms since the onset of COVID-19. One woman’s response is and has always been, to get outside in the fresh air and sing some songs. “Being outside, outdoors is like a natural magic potion, said performer/songwriter Charity Kahn. It’s the antidote to way too much screen time and a sedentary lifestyle.”
For more than 20 years she has been working in various entrepreneurial ways to get families, especially moms outdoors to enjoy life and to heal and energize naturally.
“Moms and dads are working way too much just for the basics said Kahn. They are missing out on the most important part, being parents and sharing a life with their kids.”
Kahn used to work in the corporate office setting. As a mathematician, she was a computer programmer/expert. “I enjoyed the work, she said. But being in an office all day, sometimes 60 hours per week, zapped my energy. I felt disconnected.”
Growing up in a creative household, Kahn’s parents were also mathematicians and they were musicians. Through their talents and encouragement there was always time for many activities.
“In my teens I was always writing songs, said Kahn, doing creative things and I was outdoors. I am a wilderness person.” Hiking, biking and even rock climbing were things she did and still does.
Over time during the 1980s and through the ’90s, as she became more career-driven Kahn’s time for creative endeavors dwindled. “That all changed when I became a mom. I had an epiphany, said Kahn. I realized I had to make choices, make sacrifices.”
As unpleasant as that word “sacrifice” might sound, Kahn found the courage to let go of the corporate office job. “I had to find an innermost sense of security, so I could let go of the conflict and stress that the 9 to 5 type of job had over me.”
It hasn’t been easy. But as Kahn explained. “I’ve always been up against the worries of how to pay the rent, expenses, etc. But to do the things I love and am good at, it brings me joy.” She often describes her work as something of an “octopus with not eight but 10 tentacles or more doing many things, especially pulling things together.” Kahn has been multi-tasking even before that word entered into the common vocabulary to highlight the routines of many working moms.
Despite the work on many things, the joy Kahn has in it is real. That joy is an energy, a vital one and it’s what brings light and life into a family.
As the Dot-Com Boom gained momentum in San Francisco where she lives, Khan rearranged her priorities, leaving the corporate ladder, placing her children and their well-being first.
In 2001, she turned the living room of her home overlooking Ocean Beach into a music class. “Teaching music and other subjects, provided me with an income and the ability to be closer to my kids,” said Kahn. She placed her music and songwriting talents to use in the service of the local schools.
Music classes then branched out into exercise and dance classes. Khan eventually became a mediation and Yoga instructor. As the vegan and healthy diet movement picked up momentum, Kahn was already on board. She was learning and advancing in ways to enhance and improve the quality of life, not just for her family but for others.
“We love Charity at Sunset Co-op and anywhere else we can find her,” says Jamae Tasker, director of the Sunset Cooperative Nursery School in San Francisco’s Sunset District.
“The kids can’t take their eyes off of her added Tasker, as they dance, sing and drum. We’ve learned so many things from Charity that we’ve incorporated what she teaches into our program. We now take a deep slow breath at all of our opening circles. And we’ve learned to say “hello” and “thank you” to our bodies as a way to ground ourselves.”
Kahn believes very strongly in health and well-being. It’s something she practices everyday. “Energy moves much differently when people are outdoors. Being outside in the fresh air is about a connection to nature, to life.”
“I have seen what being outdoors in the fresh air, singing and dancing does for kids, said Kahn and for parents. It’s very uplifting and helps them to connect to life around them.”
“I do all I can to encourage parents to participate with their kids, said Kahn. I also try not to make judgment upon parents who can’t attend because they are working. I know the stress they are under, the demands of a 40-hour work week schedule. With both parents having to work more hours, it’s systemic in this current American culture we are in. I’m hoping I can help change that, Kahn said. Be a life-force for good.”
Kahn’s band ‘JAMband’ is an acronym for joy and music. “I’ve written over 100 songs, said Kahn, putting together seven albums.”
As with nature and the outdoors, music has a magic of it’s own.
“Charity has changed our school for the better,” said Kelsi Prickril, program coordinator at Kids Kollege Preschool in the outer-Sunset District, not far from Ocean Beach.
“Her teachings of love, respect, kindness, peace, and mindfulness are integrated in everything that we do, Prickril said. She brings great joy to our students and teachers and we all look forward to dancing, laughing, and connecting to our breath exercises with Charity as our talented guide. She is quite the celebrity at our school! Prickril exclaimed. All of Charity’s songs are meaningful, memorable, and perfect for young learners. Adults can’t get enough of them either!”
Honored by the compliments, Kahn noted. “Most of the songs I’ve written are about being outdoors,” she said. As Kahn (and her JAMband) have performed many places in and around San Francisco and the Bay Area, she was most thrilled to perform at the Bandshell in Golden Gate Park.
“Charity was the ideal performer to kickstart our series of events for the fall this past September,” said Philip Winn of the nonprofit, Parks Alliance, that helped fund the series and the Bandshell’s renovation/upgrades.
Very proud to have selected her, Winn said as he recently told The Sunset Beacon. “Charity is a uniquely San Franciscan individual and talented performer, expressing a homegrown energy that signifies that Golden Gate Park is a place for everyone.”
Kahn points out that everything kids need is right there outside in the fresh air being among family and friends. Nature heals, chases away all the negativity, organically and most of all, again nature energizes. “Kids are smart. Don’t ‘dumb them down’ or over-stimulate them, said Kahn. They are naturally present, eager to learn and parents need to be there with them.” To learn more about Charity Kahn and her JAM Band visit her website.