Monday, December 17, 2018

Christmas Program 2018

After weeks of practising our play "Oli the Giraffe's First Christmas", it was time to put on our program and give out Operation Christmas Child packages:
We had two wonderful presenters, Marija and Lena. They started us off with a "floss" dance-competition, to see who can be quicker, them or the audience (and usually it was them!)
Bojana is our wonderful narrator:
Bojan was our Giraffe, and David and Anastasija, Mom and Dad who explain more about Christmas when Oli spots the Nativity Scene and asks about it:
Snjezana was the "littel girl" who found Oli on the street and brings him home to warm up, as he is so very cold, poor thing. And then the last character was Milica the trainer who comes to find Oli to take him back to the circus...
 After the play it was time for us to sing a couple of carols.
One of the songs is super cute and got everyone singing "Bozic je!" (It's Christmas!):

And then it is time for what everyone came for... the shoebox packages:
So many smiling faces... over 500 of them by the end of the weekend!

And Oli became famous: many the kids wanted to have their pictures taken with him!

None of this would have been possible without our wonderful children/teen volunteers. They did an amazing job, and I am so proud of all of them! This is the 5th year I have done this with them, and each year they get better and better!! 
Finally, here is a video of the actual play so you can see what it is all about. I borrowed a Giraffe suit and was given a Nativity Scene, I knew who the actors would be, so the script kind of wrote itself (with God's help!). I hope you enjoy it! I have put in English subtitles (click on CC to see them) and you might even learn some Serbian Orthodox Christmas Traditions and their origins!

Friday, December 07, 2018

Last Book Club for 2018

Last night was the last Book Club for this year... we always take the kids "prizes" for attendance, but this time we also organised a fun evening for them as well! I was a little apprehensive as to how it would work out as they can get excited and not behave well, and this format can mean they get excited... but it worked out better than I could have imagined and everyone had a phenomenal time!

We had different "stations" around the room including two crafts and a colouring table:
Three different kinds of games: including throwing into boxes to get points (I made this one in the summer for one of our day camps with our sponsorship kids with boxes I had around the house - and made pompoms to throw... and the kids love it!)
And fusball: another favourite!
We had two lovely volunteers painting faces (we only got a pic of Monika...)
And near the end of the evening there were more kids than they could finish in time, so I stepped in to help with some of the easier requests... butterflies and cats and flowers :) And of course the kids loved that "Teta Belinda" (Aunty Belinda) was doing their faces so they didn't mind that the quality was not as good... I was churning them out so we could finish up! 
Another "station" was the photobooth and they had fun with the photobooth items! (a wonderful team cut these all out in 2015, and they are still going strong!) Love it! 

One of the reasons they were probably being so good is that we also give out the "prizes" for those who have attended the book club and so if they were naughty they know they won't get their prize... This semester, I got organised and we even had a "star chart" where they got a star for coming and a star for being good until the end... And it really worked, we had fewer kids giving us problems and many more coming who wouldn't normally... love it! 
Here are two of the girls getting their "prizes" which a few volunteers and I made up on Tuesday night out of different donations: 
Then, there was a special prize on top of the attendance one for those who got ALL the stars - they got to choose one prize out of the box: I pulled out the names randomly for that one so it was fair... and they loved being able to choose what they got!!
There were only 8 volunteers and myself and we managed to pull that off with over 30 kids... I am so grateful for our wonderful volunteers! They seriously ROCK! And I am so happy that with all the planning and everything that went into last night that everyone had a fantastic time! It really was one of the best Book Clubs we have ever had! 
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