Kids Club was invited to a birthday party. However, this was no ordinary party. We were going to celebrate a birthday with the residents at a local nursing home. As we walked in the doors, the kids were apprehensive and cautious, perhaps a little bit afraid. The activities coordinator led us up to the activities room where the birthday party was to take place. We walked into a room of almost silence, filled with sullen faces. It wasn’t much like the lively birthday parties they knew. Then the activities coordinator threw on some 50’s music and we kicked off the dance party with a little “Tutti Frutti.” It was new music for our kiddos but they learned how to break it down, while a few residents joined in with some shoulder shrugs from their wheel chairs. We were celebrating Mrs. Johnson’s birthday and as I spoke with her, she stated, “Seeing these children is the best birthday present I could ever have.” A tear came to her eye as she continued, “We don’t get to see children very often. When will you come back?” Meanwhile, in a corner of the room, many of the children gathered around a little woman from Cuba who only spoke Spanish. By the time I walked up, she was fawning over the children telling them all how beautiful and handsome there were. She loved being able to communicate with the children who were surrounding her. Then it was present time. The Kids Club students handed out picture frames which they had painted and contained verses of comfort. Many residents were moved to tears as the students handed them their hand-made gifts which were for them to keep. When our new Cuban abuelita received hers, one of the students translated the verse from English to Spanish for her and slow, steady tears began to fall from her tired eyes. We passed out cake and much joy and cheer in the activity room that afternoon. As we left the nursing home, four of our Kids Club girls were in tears, expressing to us how much they missed their grandparents who had passed on or were in other countries. We provided calling cards for the girls to call their grandparents, who they missed so dearly, upon their arrival home. It was an afternoon of many emotions and the kids left asking for more. They wanted to know when we would have the opportunity to return and visit once again. We will be visiting the nursing home regularly over the course of the 2010-2011 school year. Perhaps we are never too young to begin learning, as our kids did that afternoon, that it is in giving of ourselves that we receive.
Nursing Home Birthday Party
Our relational network of volunteers and donors reflects a diverse group of individuals from all over the Washington, D.C. metro area. As a non-profit, we rely on the community for assisting program directors on-site, being mentors, supplying the needs of our food pantry, and everything in between. Each member of our Casa community holds a unique gift, whether time, talent or treasure.