This summer the Back2Back Child Development Team rolled out a new program for groups from the States to participate in. We spent the year studying child development in institutions like Casa Hogar's, looking at what the Bible says our response to the poor and orphan should be, and how we can make a deeper and lasting impact in the lives of the kids we serve. We did a lot of staff training's and read a lot of books, and are finally ready for some action steps!
The first thing we're doing is to have groups stop bringing candy and dollar store presents (like silly bands or little trinkets) to hand out to the kids. Most people do this because they want to connect with a kid and make a difference in their lives but don't always know how or don't know Spanish. So instead of candy and gifts we're doing Play With Purpose! These are planned out activities and games that bring the group members and children together and develop a variety of skills. Some are just physical because our kids need regular exercise. Some are to work on social skills, some are educational, and some are Bible lessons. After 4 weeks we've seen some great success! Yesterday a group took nail polish and all the goodies to do a big spa day for the girls in a children's home. They got the royal treatment soaking their feet in warm soapy water, foot and hand massages, and pretty nail polish. Those girls felt like princesses, which is exactly who God says they are. Beautiful and valuable princesses of His kingdom.
Alonna playing jump rope with some boys at Manantial de Amor, physical exercise is a huge piece of child development that our kids are often missing.
The knot starting to unravel
Group members take the younger kids up to the library to read. Little kids are supposed to have one book a day read to them, but I bet it's more like one a week with our kids.
Since the kids don't get to read a lot, they think reading is awesome and a special treat!
Working on puzzles teaches all kinds of spacial awareness and problem solving skills.
Hacky sack is an easy way to hang out with the kids without having to use much language.