Saturday, February 13, 2016

Family Projects

Another program we have here at NPH is a thing called Family Projects.  Twice a month each volunteer is assigned a family for two hours.  The idea behind this project is that even though many of the kids have siblings living here, they do not necessarily live together (for practical reasons, all the kids are separated by age and gender).  So how do brothers and sisters who live in different sections find time to be together?  This project is one of the ways they can spend time with just their siblings.  We have so many kids, they only get to participate in Family Projects twice a year.  

My first family was a little boy from the baby house and his older sister in the girls house. Not having done this before, I honestly had no clue what to prepare.  I spoke with the project coordinator and was given several ideas, the main one being that the kids just need time to be together.  At a quarter to four I left work (early) to go back to my house.  After changing out of my scrubs, I made my first pan-popped popcorn on a gas stove EVER (err...with help). After filling paper bags with popcorn and my pockets with coconut taffy (side note: coconut taffy is the best, period...), I headed out the door with three DVDs and a borrowed laptop.

When I showed up at the girl's house, she ran up to me with the biggest smile I have ever seen, her eyes bright and excited.  We made our way to the baby house where her brother quickly left his seat at a table with some other kids, all smiles when he saw his sister.  As we walked across the campus to the designated classroom, my eyes filled with tears.  The kids were hugging each other, walking arm in arm, and chatting up a storm.  Their excitement and happiness in being together was tangible.  

We watched Horton Hears a Who in Spanish and the kids sat spellbound, side by side, only taking a moment to politely offer me some of their popcorn.  The little girl was so cute, carefully removing her shoes to sit on the blanket I had brought with me and telling her brother to offer me a taffy (which he dutifully did). 

After the movie we went outside and played on the playground.  It was cold and the little boy didn't have a what did his big sister do?  She took off her own jacket and gave it to him.  Wish you could have seen this little guy happily running around dressed in pink and grey!

My next family project is in two weeks.  I will have two special needs kids.  As of now I am planning to go into town and buy them ice-cream.  Something simple but good.  The idea of family is so strong here!  I really appreciate that NPH goes beyond the family it has created for these kids in order to respect and treasure the bonds many of them already have.  Before I did my first family project I didn't understand what a big deal it is.  Initially, it just seemed like one more job to do!  But after my first project, I realize how special and needed this time is for the kids.  


  1. How blessed they are to have you!! Such an inspiring blog, yes I was crying <3