By: Sim Cele
I was laughing when I wrote that title and while it is a mouthful my reason for laughing was the flashbacks to the moments that inspired this post. Working with children everyday can make for some pretty interesting things being said and done but it can also remind one of the frailty of time. And that’s why we chose to make a big deal about Mother’s Day and give the kids a chance to make something special and handmade for their moms-read on to learn from our mistakes.
I have always wanted children, even though I work with them, I’ve still wanted my own but I have realized that when you have kids, YOU CANNOT HAVE NICE THINGS. You just CANNOT. Unless your children just don’t touch anything or even look at it. The same goes for the children I work with. As much as I love them, I cannot wear nice things around them. Anyway I digress-in a moment of inspiration I decided to forgo our usual Monday plan and start creating gifts for our moms, in light of Mother’s Day coming up. There are many single headed homes in Merlewood, headed up by moms—courageous hard-working, underpaid, stressed out, loving moms- and I really wanted to honor them. So we decided to make frames, candle holders, necklaces-the works over the next few weeks.
Give a kid a glue stick and some glitter and you have problems! It all started out really well, with cut up wood and stations for each activity. Everyone was getting along and it was all going so well. Until the system didn’t work so well and people wanted to skip and do their own thing. Until children decided to use each other’s faces as canvasses and our pants as places to dry their hands or flick their paint brushes. Chaos erupted, and as usual, so did fights. I used to get involved immediately and stop the fights but now I sit back and watch for a few minutes, to see, if something different will happen. Maybe one of them will choose to calm down or not fight back, maybe one of them will just walk away (as I have asked them so many times to do) maybe they will help each other instead of fighting with each other. OH THE DREAMS I HAVE! None of those things happened, instead I had to step in and intervene (as always) and that is another reason why I have paint on my shirt and shorts.
My kids are special and resilient but they live in circumstances that don’t allow them to RISE. They are being kept imprisoned by a system that doesn’t allow them to shine. A system that doesn’t allow them to have nice things. I’d like to think that WE are there nice thing. Maybe God has placed us here to show them that they are loved and cared for, that they do deserve something more than hardships and non-devoted parents or low quality education. That they are the nicest thing. A friend of mine has been volunteering with me for the past 2 weeks and seeing our work through her eyes has made me realize that we do work hard but we can work harder, not for them to learn manners and be what we want them to be but so that they don’t become a statistic of a community. That they are able to be the people they dream of becoming. That they can excel at their own lives one day. That they can be the parents who come home from work with a house covered in crayon and paint and say to themselves-this is why we can’t have nice things.
This is why we do what we do. Why we can be covered with paint and glitter, sit for an hour doing maths sums and have failed science experiments that we still have to clean for an hour. It’s so they can have nice things.
Speaking of nice things, we just wanted to share the news that we have been given permission by the governing body and parent body to work from the school premises. THIS IS A BIG DEAL!!!! It means that we get to work more closely with students in the school. They are even giving us the opportunity to teach our science curriculum in the school for older students and help with the younger grades English and literacy. It’s a very wide open gateway for us!! But there is an obstacle-we need to raise funds to build our own building on the school property as the school is being demolished and we won’t be able to use a portable classroom. We are putting together plans and proposals and crowd funding campaigns but we do need help!
So if you or anyone you know of would like to be a part of helping the Genesis After school Program raise money for a home with a science and tech lab, an arts space and a homework room, please contact us. 039-685-4196.