Sunday, November 12, 2006

vamos a party

This past weekend we threw a Vamos a Leer party at Domingo Savio. Three hogares participated in this 3-month long program in which children are divided into groups according to their reading level and given an appropriate set of books to read. Depending on the number of books they read, they win either a ticket to the movies or attendance at an ice cream party. Our ice cream party included over 20 kids from Domingo Savio, San Francisco de Regis, and Los Navios. Water balloons, games, and dancing made the two hours go by too fast and left all the kids wanting to stay the whole day.

One of my favorite aspects of last Saturday was that some of our kids had a fun and safe place to play and meet other kids. Unfortunately, depending on the particular situation of the kid's lives, many of them don't have something constructive and healthy to do in their free time. Community centers are a great solution for this, but they don't operate 24 hours a day; many of the live-in hogares the children don't have many options for leaving. This leaves their social skills lacking, at no fault of their own, and sometimes when the kids are in a social situation they don't know how to act. Kids who live in hogares belong to their hogar, and it's difficult for them to have friends or exposure to life outside the hogar when they can't leave. They also have a lot of baggage they are bringing with them when they meet new people-- some are increadibly skeptical, others move on the defensive. Clearly the kids need to be supervised, but if we could host more gatherings with focused events like this past weekend, perhaps they could have the space to better learn how to interact with people they don't know.

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