(One of our visits last semester)
Last school year during the club fair, I signed up for a club named “Hogar Puente de Amistad”. The club is devoted to helping children of an orphanage of the same name. Some of these kids have traumatic memories of their past as they have suffered abuse at the hands of their parents or loved ones. The club’s mission is to help, to socialize, and to become friends with these kids in order to facilitate their learning in education, as well as serving as a helping hand to the organization when repairs or other upgrades are necessary to the facilities.
When I joined “Hogar Puente de Amistad”, I wasn’t really aware of the importance of the job we were doing and to be honest, I was just doing it for the community service hours which I needed. All this changed however during the second semester of that school year (2018-2019).
As we were approaching the end of the school year, our club president -Laura Sanchez- told us that since the officers were seniors, they would have to find new replacements for the following year. I was chosen as the club president due to my consistent attendance to each of the visits of the orphanage (I may not have been passionate about the club at that moment, but I was committed to helping people in need). This came with the big responsibility for setting up our very next visit which was May 11, 2019, as the seniors would’ve already finished their school year and wouldn’t be able to attend.
This created huge anxiety for me because I had never had such a task bestowed upon me. I quickly scrambled through many ideas, but what always bugged me was if the kids would like it or not. At last, I came up with the idea of making a contest for the children to make paper airplanes and see who could throw it the farthest. Whoever was the winner would get additional candy from what was already going to be given , as it would serve as an incentive to compete. The activity at the end went better than I could’ve possibly imagined. The kids already knew how to make paper airplanes and were really excited to compete with one another to see which plane would fly the farthest and win the candy prize.
(The kids lined up to throw the paper airplanes)
The experience taught me a valuable lesson in leadership and in helping others. I really enjoyed the visit to the orphanage and seeing the kids smile and being excited about the games I had planned for them, made me want to go back. So when I came back to school in August planning for the club’s activities for the year, I set out the goal of multiple visits throughout various months: during each month, the corresponding activity would be themed around the holiday at the time (if any).
This Wednesday, February 26th, the club will be visiting the orphanage from 8 am to 12 pm in order to paint the facility and we invite anyone who is willing to help to join us at the orphanage and help us with the activity.