Looking back on my first semester of Kids Club, I would like to give you three highlights. It has not been a very long time, but I feel welcome by both the staff and families of Casa Chirilagua.
In September, we started a chapel service with the kids. It was a steep learning curve to try to rewrite my chapel messages to make them 1st-5th grade-age appropriate. I started with a three point message, and by the end, I learned that the best is to only focus on one point and try to repeat it two or three different ways. We learned about peaceful conflict resolution and transforming the way we see conflict. We used Corlette Sande’s book The Young Peacemaker: Teaching Students to Respond to Conflict God’s Way. The kids acquired skills in peaceful conflict resolution, and it even helped me in my daily interactions in my own conflicts. It is a great curriculum.
In November we started a class called iPath for our fifth graders. This class was facilitated by INOVA Health Systems. They taught the kids healthy eating practices, how to cook tasty and nutritious food and the importance of exercise. The class culminated in (what I call) Speed Exercise. It was like a speed dating session. We had three different instructors lead exercise sessions with all of Kids Club. The kids participated in Yoga, Zumba and Power Training. We had two local fitness trainers and two former Redskins players: Darnerien McCants and Cliff Russell. It was a fun night of intense exercise. All the staff were shocked to see all the kids lay still and quiet for the yoga instructor. It was amazing to see the muscular and towering football players have fun with the kids. But the best part of the whole night was watching our young-at-heart volunteer Ms. Vivian, light-footed and sprightly dancing in the Zumba class.
December was eventful. We had a Casa Chirilagua Christmas party. We packed out the fellowship hall of Grace Episcopal Church. We had music and dance by the Orange and Purple team (the youngest kids of Kids Club). In the song and dance, the kids had decorated their own cardboard guitars. It was precious to see the kids sing and dance with their creative guitars. It will be a long time before we work with cardboard. We had sore hands after cutting 32 guitars large and small out of recycled boxes. Then the Lime team (the oldest kid in Kids Club) performed a Nativity Play. We had our doubts of all the actors performing their lines because we had some absent actors. In the last minute it all fell into place. They kids worked well together and put on a great show. They even made their own scenery. After the play came a very special performance by the Casa Chirilagua staff. We did a remix of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. There might be a sighting of the video on YouTube somewhere?
We appreciate your prayers and support for the work of Kids Club. We look forward to sharing in February how our new year is going. We also welcomed our new Kids Club Assistant: Elizabeth Moraff. We are grateful for Tim Kuhn’s service as the Assistant. We will miss his constant presence, but thankfully he is volunteering with us regularly.