The spotlights are on, the screen on which the children will later be seen is adjusted for the last time, and the wig fits as well. We are ready for the Arche Carnival Party 2021.
My colleague Dorina and I are ready on our party stage. The room is empty, but the digital room "Zoom" is gradually filling up with children. Many of them have dressed up, some appear just as they are. A teacher, two clowns, a princess, an astronaut, a Red Indian and a few other colorfully dressed kids appear on the screen facing us.
And then, finally, it is showtime! There is dancing, singing and laughter. The children battle and throw streamers and confetti from the carnival bags they picked up at the Ark earlier. In the kid’s rooms they try to built the highest towers with different objects and everyone is allowed to pantomime a carnival figure. Their faces are filled with pure enthusiasm. They are fully committed and give their best. The "Ark Party Spirit" that we usually experience in the real children's party room is full on. Difference being that they have to keep a distance. At the end of the party, the doughnuts from the carnival bag can finally be eaten.
The online carnival party is no different from our normal live party, except for the atmosphere. This is more noticeable live than on screen. But since this is the only possibility to see one other at all, we will do it this way.
A year ago, we would never have thought that our Ark program would be completely digital. Nor did we think that parents would write to us after an online activitiy, expressing their gratitude and sending photos.
In addition to digital homework support and tutoring, the rest of our entire Ark program takes place as usual - but most of it is online. During the course of the week, the children pick up different program bags that contain the things they need. Therefore it is possible to carry out handicrafts, the cooking project, the "girls and boys only" program, but also other activities, such as the kid‘s party or a "real" carnival party. For the past year, our motto has been: "There's no such thing as we can't". We are always looking for and finding creative solutions that not only inspire us, but above all our children.
In addition to the digital program, some children and young people are also allowed to come to the Ark. Some of them use our facilities from 8 a.m. to do their homeschooling in peace and with a solid internet connection. Others do their homework with us, study for upcoming final exams, or are happy to simply have someone listening to them.
We can also offer children, who live under very cramped conditions, the opportunity to play at the Ark a couple for hour. There is also a "walk and talk", where a child can go for a walk with a member of staff, fool around on the playground or explore the nearby forest with siblings.
But the fact that the children and parents are so enthusiastic about our online offer is currently the greatest gift for us.
Dear readers, we again want to thank you for your great support for our work. We are so thankful for being able to support so many kids.