Friday, October 10, 2014

Children's Home Book Club BIGGER than EVER!

Last year we had our smallest group yet - only 16 kids in the book club, but our 5th year started with me finding out we would have almost 30... there are a lot of new kids in our target age range (1-9th grade) and many of them wanted to be a part.

So, as usual I put out a call for new volunteers, and PTL, the newspapers picked up on it, and so we were featured in a couple of newspapers, and online portals... and I even got to go on TV!! (more on that in a later post...). We had such a great response from people that we had a meeting for all the new volunteers in Ihtus to give them a heads up about other opportunities for them as well as the book club: (they can get involved in tutoring the kids as well, and many of them want to do that, so this all turned out to be a win-win for all!)
On Thursday morning, Tanja, Mom and I went to the library and signed up 12 new kids, and got out 27 books for all the kids (and PTL all of them liked the books we picked out - we will see if they actually read them by next week, when we will be talking and writing/drawing about them at book club). In two weeks time they will go to the library (in two groups) and get to pick out their own books!

We wanted a way for the new volunteers to get to know the kids, and get used to working with them, and also for our old volunteers to spend time with "their" kids, so our first night was just spent making cards: Just drawing and writing and having fun...
And when the natives started getting restless, it was time to bring out the SURPRISE... Loom bands...We discovered in August with my friends the Raaffs what a great hit they are with the kids and so when people coming over for the Faith and Conflict conference asked what they could bring me, I said "loom bands" (they are quite expensive here!). And so we had enough bags that each child got their own bag to take with them, and use while we were still hanging out (and of course show the volunteers how to do it, as many of them didn't know!!). Thank-you to everyone who contributed, it really was a HIT!
It was a great start to the book club - it is definitely going to be interesting having almost 30 kids in the club: but with many committed volunteers it really is soooo much easier!!

Mom actually took these pics for me, but I realised afterwards I didn't get a pic of her. And she really was a hit with the kids - they were all getting lots of hugs from her and asking when she will be back again :) Some of them were able to use their English with her, others were getting translation from us - but it was really cute to see how much they enjoyed getting to meet my mom!!

My heart still gets heavy when I think how many of them actually do have mothers, who have either abandoned them, or because they were abusing their children lost parental rights...there are actually only 5 true orphans in the home... so, it was especially poignant for me to have my mom there and realise how blessed I truly am for having grown up in a (relatively) stable environment, and completely surrounded by love and attention. I think this helped me realise that even though the book club might not be much, at least I can do something to bring love (and it really is an expression of God's love to them) and care into their lives, and all the while trying to help them to learn to love reading which is a great habit to have in their lives!


Suvi said...

This is just awesome! So glad that you've got so many volunteers :)

Belinda Chaplin said...

Yes, it is really great!! At one stage I was afraid we would have too many... but it all worked out!

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