Sledding is FUN!
This is the second consecutive year for several Tohoku children's homes to be able to participate in two special programs around the holiday period. The Christmas Wish Program and English Adventure Snow Camp took place during the months of December and early January--ending 2012 on a warm note and beginning 2013 with an exceptional experience out in the snow!
Christmas Wish 2012 offered several homes an opportunity to provide each child in the home with a 'wished for' gift, along with a special holiday party for home staff and kids. Being able to spend a little money on something 'lighthearted' is truly a luxury for most homes, but it is priceless for these children to feel a little extra love and attention over the holiday season. Not to mention the joy that a small toy, new piece of clothing, book or game can bring - helping kids feel like kids in challenging environment.
English Adventure Snow Camp 2013, held in two locations (Miyagi and Niigata campsites) proved once again to help develop children's perspective, self-confidence, and teamwork abilities. From snowshoe treks, skiing, igloo building to sledding and simple snow play- the kids learned to push through some of the more challenging/new activities by working together and receiving positive encouragement. All of the children's snowy experiences were sprinkled with English lessons throughout--giving the more experienced English speakers a chance to practice what they've learned in school, while nudging the more shy/inexperienced speakers a chance to learn some new phrases and boost their confidence. Even more, those campers who attended last year's Snow Camp were able to serve as "mentors" for the new participants--and their ability to dive more fully into each activity this time around was certainly apparent.
Both programs, although quite different, provide levels of care not regularly experienced by these children due to institutional-style home life; as hardworking and caring as many home staff members are, it's difficult to provide consistent 1:1 care for so many children. Feeling cared for during the holiday period is key for children, and getting out into nature for pure playing pleasure and new experiences helps children open up their minds to new possibilities and insights about themselves. Thanks to the continued support from the GlobalGiving community, Living Dreams has been able to extend these program opportunties to Tohoku children's homes. A special present to open or a snow trek on a bright sunny day with a positive mentor goes a long way in brightening a child's spirit.
We truly thank every single special donor for helping to make a difference!
And as the 2nd anniversary of 3/11 approaches, GlobalGiving is planning a special 100% matching campaign for the start of March. If you or anyone else is interested in supporting future programs like the Christmas Wish program and English Adventure Snow Camp, this campaign will help stretch your donor dollars much further. Stay tuned for more details and updates regarding the 3/11 donor-matching campaign.
Happy New Year, and thank you for your kindness!
Super Snowy Trek!
Playing with new toys!