The Hope for Tomorrow children enjoyed a week of vacation from school this month. Our volunteers joined forces to plan a week of activities and excursions for the kids. Every morning started with VBS which included a bible story and craft to teach the children of God’s love and care for His creation. In the afternoons, they had various activities planned for days of fun.
The first day of vacation was termed girls’ day. Amelia and Lidia went with our volunteers to see Pixar’s Inside Out, which made them all laugh and cry. After the movie, they returned and took all the girls over to the new property for “Beauty Salon” where they made bracelets and did each others’ nails. Even baby Ashley got her nails done.
Day two of vacation the kids took a trip to the park they normally play at. However, this time was special, as they got to go play in the carrousel park next door with rides and games. The kids were so excited to finally get to play in the carrousel park they see almost everyday but rarely get to play at. They loved playing the games to win tickets and buy prizes. Then they would get on the rides and their smiles seemed like they would last forever.
Day three the kids spent all day in their PJs, watched movies, and had a lazy day at home. The volunteers popped popcorn and baked cookies for the kids to enjoy during their movie marathons. Then, after dinner they all went over to our new property for a bonfire and s’mores. Although the rain tried to stomp out the fun, our volunteers kept roasting marshmallows and didn’t let it ruin the night. When all the s’mores were gone, the kids laughed and played and danced until it was finally time to return home and go to bed.
Day four the kids had a very special trip to the pool. They loaded up the van early in the morning and drove to Aguas Calientes, a beautiful heated pool with a park and zoo attached. The kids swam all morning and probably would’ve kept going through the night had they been able to. But, they took a break for lunch, which was a delicious barbecue the caregiver’s had prepared at the park while the kids swam. Then, after lunch, they watched the animals in the zoo and conquered the giant slides on the playground. when we loaded up in the van to head home, the kids were falling asleep in their seats.
The final day of vacation the kids traveled to Antigua to take part in a class our co-founder Jennifer was instructing. A few of the kids spent their morning with Jennifer’s students, while the rest toured the city. The kids participated in lots of fun activities with Jennifer’s students and all came away smiling with their bags of goodies and crafts they had done that day. The other kids got to travel the ruins of a monastery and take a trip to the top of a hill to overlook the city. After the morning activities, we all met up and had a fun lunch out at McDonalds before taking our happy, exhausted kids home for the day.
We are so blessed to be able to share in these special moments with the kids and were so glad to see them smiling and enjoying their week of vacation! See all their pictures from their week here.
Muldraugh Baptist Church visited Hope For Tomorrow at the beginning of this month and brought with them a spirit of faith that was evident through their work all week long. During the week, not only did the group involve children in evangelical and spiritual activities, but they also worked on multiple projects including building a shelf and cabinet unit for our living room, painting several rooms in the new house, and doing VBS activities with the kids every afternoon.
We are so incredibly thankful to have hosted such an amazing group of individuals. The work that they did will remain a part of this home for a very long time. Each time the children open the doors of the new cabinets, or play with the puppets from the puppet show, or sing songs from their new Children’s Bible Songs CDs, we will all be reminded of the great time we spent with Muldraugh. See pictures of their trip and projects here.
We recently had the pleasure of welcoming a great group of students from the University of Kentucky to Hope for Tomorrow Children’s home. They came down with our co-founder, Jennifer, to spend a busy 10 days with our kids. During their time, their main focus was on our preschool students. Each of the UK students paired up with one of the preschoolers and observed them throughout the week. They also performed evaluations on the students of Hope Preschool to gauge where each student is performing. At the end of the week, the UK students met with the caregiver of each of the kids and informed them of the areas in which their child excels, the areas where their child needs assistance, and a few goals for their child. The UK students also worked with our preschool teacher, Delmy, to organize the Hope Preschool classroom.
After their mornings working in the preschool, the group spent time playing with the kids doing tons of fun activities. From going to the pool to playing parachute, there was never a dull moment. One of the favorite memories was the 4th of July party. Although a day early, we brought everyone together at the new property for pizza and fireworks. The kids’ eyes lit up as they watched the fireworks show and played with sparklers. They were still talking about the party days afterwards! Go here to see pictures of our fantastic week with the group from UK.
Although neither of us would call ourselves master chefs, we decided to put our cooking skills to the test in the challenge of a lifetime: feeding the Hope for Tomorrow family. Blanca does it flawlessly every day; however, we found a path with a few more bumps in the road still turns out okay as well.
It started on Friday with a rainy trip to the super market with Edwin and Miguel. We ran around Wal-Mart, translating the recipe, comparing prices, and simply trying to find the items we needed. The trip was full of laughs, as we were all happy to spend time together working to accomplish step one of our cooking escapade.
Sunday our skills were truly put the test. After church and a walk with the kids, we decided to assist Blanca in making lunch to practice for the big dinner. She shared a few tricks that helped dramatically when we began our preparations for dinner later that afternoon. We started by letting each of the kids pour out the bags of noodles we would use for our Pasta Bake. Then, Lidia and Amelia joined us to cook the meat, boil the noodles, and assemble our casseroles. We lost a few noodles along the way to hungry, curious kids but most of them made it safely into the dish.
Once the casseroles were prepared, the girls loaded them carefully into the oven. Then Bethany and the girls made a mad dash to the super market for bread while Katherine and Edwin stayed behind to set the table and wash dishes. Excitement arose as the aroma of cheesy pasta filled the house. The casseroles were done just in the knick of time and served to a hungry, eager family. The smiles, “yums”, and begging for seconds proved our dinner was a success! We showered Blanca with gratitude for the challenge she faces every day of not just one meal but three fantastic meals. We truly are blessed!
-Katherine and Bethany
My name is Katherine Clark and I am a short term volunteer here at Hope For Tomorrow. I wanted to share a memorable experience from my trip in hopes of inspiring potential ideas for future volunteers!
I have been a member of the Clark County YMCA of Southern Indiana for more than eight years. I have worked throughout this particular branch for nearly five years, spending the majority of my time in the Kids’ Adventure Room. In the KAR, my job consists of playing with and caring for the children while their parents exercise.
Needless to say, the YMCA holds a special place in my heart. When Y members and staff heard of my plans to volunteer with Hope For Tomorrow, they were eager to help and support my efforts in any way they could. Numerous members and staff alike participated in the Mark’s Feed Store Fundraiser I initiated for Hope For Tomorrow. My YMCA family also offered countless prayers, positive thoughts, and good vibes directed to my new family at Hope For Tomorrow.
At the YMCA, I also spend a lot of time working in their preschool program. I was so excited when they invited me to talk about Hope For Tomorrow and to teach the kids a short Spanish lesson. The Y preschoolers colored beautiful pictures for me to bring to the children of Hope For Tomorrow. Each of them wrote the phrase: “Que Dios le te bendiga” which translates to “God bless you” on the top of their cards.
When I presented the children from Hope For Tomorrow with the pictures drawn by the YMCA preschoolers, they were bursting with joy and excitement. Rosa was especially pleased, as she brought every picture to her school the next day in order to show her teachers and friends the beautiful drawings she had received.
The children from Hope For Tomorrow immediately wished to return the favor by coloring pictures for the Y preschoolers. The kids and I had a blast drawing pictures and decorating their cards with stickers galore! I cannot wait to present the YMCA preschoolers with the cards that the children at Hope For Tomorrow have made for them in return.
This easy activity proved to serve as a bridge to combine two very important parts of my life. I am blessed to have the opportunity to serve here as I continue to grow and develop spiritually.
On Sunday Miguel, Amelia, Lidia, Katy and I spent the afternoon in the kitchen. I have always loved to bake, and I am thoroughly convinced that there is no better bonding experience than enjoying delicious food together. Therefore the decision to make cake balls with these kids was an easy one to make. Cake balls have become a fairly popular phenomenon in the United States, but no one here had ever heard of them before. The best translation I could find for these tasty little treats was “pelotitas de pastel.” I showed the kids a picture of the finished project to convince them that it was a good idea. Luckily it did not take too much convincing.
Mixing together the oil, eggs, water and cake mix went smoothly. Except for having to translate the directions on the back of the box to English, I might as well have been in my own kitchen at home. However, our baking skills were truly put to the test when we had to cook the cakes in an oven that only has one temperature – hot. Amazingly enough we managed to pull the cakes out before the smell of burnt cake filled the whole house, and we only had to pick off a few black edges. It was a miracle!
Once the cakes were done I told the kids to break apart the cake into a bowl. I truly wish I had a picture of their faces at this moment. Every one of them (as well as Blanca the cook) was looking at me like I was crazy. They could not understand why we would break apart a perfectly good-looking cake. In my broken Spanish, I tried to assure them that the finished product would be worth it.
We had a great time breaking, mixing, rolling and dipping the pelotitas de pastel. The hardest part for the kids was all of the waiting that was required as we let the mixture firm up in the freezer. Thankfully, though, we had enough leftover icing and chocolate chips to get us through that long break. There were plenty of cake balls to go around, so we shared with everyone at dinner on Sunday night. We had a lot of fun and, as always, I loved getting to spend a bit of quality time with the older kids!
At the beginning of this month, the preschool kids took a trip to the Children’s Museum, an interactive science museum for children. At the museum, they started off playing with big bubbles and even got to stand and be surrounded in a gigantic bubble. They were so excited about that, it was hard to get them to leave! They ran around excitedly to each new room, filled with new adventures and things to explore. They got to play a life-size game of Operation, then drive and perform “surgery” on an ambulance. Then they moved on to fighting “germ” punching bags. They learned about nutrition and shopped in a market, where they tried to fit the entire store in their tiny carts. When they were done getting their groceries, they played in the ball room, where they worked to load up all the plastic balls to the bins in the ceiling. When the bins were full, an alarm would sound and all the kids would run, screaming, to the center of the room where the bins would open and shower them with balls. Then they took a break for lunch at Pollo Campero, one of their favorite restaurants. After lunch, they headed back for more adventures. They learned about the constellations in the sky, and Sarai even got to be launched into “space” in a bungee swing. When Astronaut Sarai returned, they learned how to make paper and learned about static electricity. Once they had exhausted the adventures inside, they moved to the outdoor playground. When they had were done exploring outside, they said their goodbyes to each and every station, loaded up in the car, and quickly fell asleep. It was such a special day for the kids to be able to go out and have fun learning and exploring and we are so blessed that we were able to share that with them.
Pictures of the kids’ exciting day at the museum are below.
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