22 May Soccer, Piano, Gymnastics, and Guitar – Oh My!
With 40 kids, our activity calendar is quite busy. We have kids in multiple activities on most days and find ourselves spending a lot of time in our van. It’s just like your day, with a few more kids.
Very early on we decided our kids deserved the best family environment we could provide. The effects of institutionalized care are long-lasting and often impede a child’s ability to develop as a unique individual. One of the ways we encourage them is by creating opportunities to engage their interests and abilities through sports, music, dance, and clubs.
Taking advantage of our school break
During the school year, it’s hard to add activities to our schedule other than those in our home or at school. Luckily, we have a long school break between October and January when our kids try lots of different activities.
During the week, many of them attend different sports camps. Almost all of our boys (and a couple of girls) attend soccer camp during the break. This is one of their favorite activities. Plus, having the opportunity to practice at camp makes them even better when they start playing soccer at school again in January. Especially for our boys, it’s a great way for them to burn off energy, because our boys have lots of energy.
Meanwhile, quite a few of our girls have taken an interest in gymnastics over the last few years. They love getting to wear special outfits and learn to do all kinds of new flips and turns. Quite frequently, we get to watch impromptu shows in the evening.
Our kids love these activities. They have fun with each other, get exercise, and are making new friends.
Offering options for everyone
Not all of our kids enjoy sports, so we’re very careful to offer multiple options. Several years ago, a missions team donated a keyboard to us because some of our kids had an interest in the piano. With the help of local teachers and the donated keyboard, several of our kids now take piano lessons. Their teachers come to our home and spend the afternoon alternating lessons with several kids. Some of our quietest kids are finding their confidence as they become more successful musically. We also recently been able to find a guitar teacher who works with our kids.
One of the most important lessons we’ve learned is that our kids need options and guidance. With 40 kids, we can’t do everything, but we can give them several different options to choose from. Some do sports, others do music, and a couple are old enough for the youth group at church. Doing it this way allows us to manage our time and gives them a chance to pick something they’re interested in.
Helping our kids grow
According to our director Alejandra, ”it is important for them to learn to use their time in the best way and to learn that they are able to do as many things as they want but it is important to prioritize which things need to be done first and which ones can take longer. By participating in different activities, it helps them to discover their talents and to have dreams about their future.”
We continue to search for new activities to ensure all of our kids have opportunities to grow their abilities and expand their interests. For now, you’ll find us at soccer, piano, guitar, karate, gymnastics, or youth group.