Thursday, May 26, 2011

Operation Flag Delivery ...

Mission Successfully Completed.

[who can resist these brave soldiers?]

There were about 45 children who made these at our KWAV's group this week. We delivered them to the local VA Hospital today and it was pretty darn sweet. We had a group of preschoolers handing them out. They would smile at the Veterans in the cafeteria and hand them a flag with cute shy voices saying, "Thank you for your service to our country." The Veterans were so touched. It was such a simple thing to do and they were very touched. We were asked not to snap any photos of the Veterans, but here is a picture of our handy helpers:

My two favorite moments:
1. My son handed his flag to an older Veteran who was wearing his marines hat proudly and the gentleman said, with tears in his eyes, "You just made my day. Thank you, son."

2. A group of fellas were sharing lunch and 2 of our preschool boys handed them all flags. They smiled at our boys and then saluted them. Then, they taught the boys how to salute. Precious.

It was a blessing to see these individuals feel appreciated. My son was beaming with pride and felt super happy that he made them happy.

Go bless someone this weekend.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Veteran's Day Craft Project

In honor of Memorial Day this weekend, we wanted a project for the kids to do that would bless Veterans. It was very simple, fun for the kids, and turned out really sweet.

How To:

Print the "Dear Veterans" template - click here to download the google doc

Use a paper cutter to cut into 4 postcard sized letters

Punch two holes along the right side of the "Dear Veterans" side

Have the kids sign their names and their ages on the letter

On the blank side, have the kids sketch a flag with the rectangle in the upper left corner, and then the stripes.

Color the rectangle blue, and stripes red and white

We had stickers for them to apply to the rectangle

Thread the straw through the holes in order to complete the "Flag"

Beaded Saftey Pin How To:
Have the kids thread red, white and blue beads onto safety pins, and then pin to the front of the letter.

Mail or deliver to Veterans you know!

Weekly Recap

Today was another great day for the KWAV's. We kicked off our time together with a great minute to win it game. Claire and Ryan challenged each other with the "angry bull dog game". It was pretty awesome!

Our story was about the Prodigal Son and forgiveness. We should all have ample opportunities this week to practice cultivating a forgiving posture for one another.

I love the definition of forgive that the kids learned - "Choosing to forget if someone has hurt me."

Our small group activity this week was to make something for Veterans, in honor of Memorial Day. The kids made a beaded safety pin that we pinned onto a letter to Veterans. The other side of the letter was made into a flag. We are delivering these to Veterans at the VA Hospital in Long Beach this week.

The highlight of our day was our guest speaker! We had Mr. Coleman, a father of two KWAV's, and fellow neighbor, come in to share with the kids about his experience as a Veteran. His story is powerful and the kids were captivated. He opened it up to questions and one of our girls asked if the kids could sing the national anthem for him.

All the children stood and proudly belted out The Star Spangled Banner. It was a very special moment! Thank you, Mr. Coleman, for your service to our country and for sharing time with us.

Just a reminder for next week - we'd love to have the kids bring a gently used sporting goods item, or dance or gymnastic item to donate to kids in the inner city.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The "love" Bracelets are Loved

Last Wednesday the bracelets that the kids made for the homeless women staying at The Isaiah House (a homeless shelter in Santa Ana) were delivered.

I'm pretty sure it is safe to say that these are loved.

Love Notes How To

This idea was inspired by the Love Notes boxes that Becky Higgins made for her friends. We modified it slightly to fit our project, but she is the genius who came up with the idea!

If you are interested in making some Love Notes boxes for a family you love, this is what you need:

a small box of some sort - either a take out box like we used, or small container
post its

the "love notes" label, for on top of the box - Click Here for the google doc

the "love notes" verse for the front of the box - Click Here for the google doc. We attached the verse with a small brad, but you could tape it, staple it, or use a cute sticker or japanese masking tape.

the "love notes" description for the inside of the box (or it could be tied to the box with cute ribbon or twine) - Click Here for the google doc

These would be super cute to give out at Christmas or Valentine's Day to families you love. You could put some Hershey's kisses in the bottom of the box to sweeten the deal.

Now, go love on someone.

Blessing Bags How To

Have you ever come across a homeless individual and felt totally uncomfortable?

You see them and you know they are in need, but you are not sure what to do. You know that handing them money is not the best thing. But, you also see that they clearly have some needs. Their lips are chapped. They are hungry. They are thirsty. They are asking for help.

How can you help?

Here is a simple idea - blessing bags.

[photo: joy's hope]

This was such an easy project. We are now going to keep a few "Blessing Bags" in our car so that when we do happen to see someone on the streets who is homeless, we can hand them a Blessing Bag. I first learned of these bags from my friend, Julie. I am using the picture of her bags (see above) because the ones we took were taken in horrible lighting and turned out really grainy and hard to see what is inside of them.

If you'd like to make your own Blessing Bags, this is what you would need:

Gallon size Ziplock bags
items to go in the bags, such as:
chap stick
packages of tissues
toothbrush and toothpaste
trail mix
granola bars
pack of gum
band aids
coins (could be used to make a phone call, or purchase a food item)
hand wipes
you could also put in a warm pair of socks, and maybe a Starbucks gift card

Assemble all the items in the bags, and maybe throw in a note of encouragement. Seal the bags and stow in your car for a moment of providence.

This would be a great activity to do with some other families. Each family could bring one of the items going into the bags (ex: toothbrushes). Set up all the items around a table and walk around it with the ziplocks and fill the bags.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Weekly Recap

Hopefully, the Weekly Recap sheet came home with your child.

We had a great day with the kids, and thanks to all the volunteer parents' help - things went pretty smoothly during our activity time. The kids were a whirlwind of activity - they made blessing bags for the homeless, and they made "Love Notes" boxes for their family.

Our character trait this week was "ENCOURAGE" and the definition we gave the kids was "Showing support for others with our words and actions."

Our activities were the perfect way for the kids to practice this: They showed support in their actions by preparing the blessing bags for the homeless. These bags were given to the homeless in Santa Ana. One woman said, "I am going to sleep with this under my head so that no one can take anything out of it." They obviously were blessed to receive the items in the bags. [ Click here for easy instructions on how to make Blessing Bags.]

The kids then got to practice showing support for others with their words by making the Love Notes boxes.

[love notes]

[inside the box are post its & a description]

And now, we have these appearing all over the house:

This is simply a tangible way for us to practice encouraging each other with our words. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was a whole culture of kids living in this neighborhood who lived with eyes open with gratitude and spoke their thanks to their families, their teachers, their coaches, their peers? What if they learned to walk through life with eyes to see who could use an encouraging word? This is our goal! If you'd like to make some love notes boxes to share with others, click here for the tutorial.

We are looking forward to this week with the kids. We are going to be working on a project for veterans at the VA hospital in Long Beach in honor of Memorial Day.

The kids do not need to bring anything to donate this week. But, just a heads up for the following week (6/1), we would like for kids to bring a gently used sports ball to donate.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weekly Recap AND News for this week

We had so much fun this last week. Really, we should not be allowed to have this much fun.

The kids learned about DILIGENCE - working hard to finish something. This is a character trait that they will get a lot of practice with.

We had a wacky obstacle course to practice diligence that involved lots of hopping and carrying a marshmellow on the end of a spoon that was balanced in the kids' mouths.

Like I said, we should not be allowed to have this much fun!

The kids also made another lovely bead bracelet for the women living at the homeless shelter. For some of them, that was an exercise of diligence too, and we are proud of them for sticking with it, even when they did not feel like stringing beads any longer.


Please help your kids practice their memory verse from last week (see below on the the recap sheet).

As our "giving" activity this week, we will be putting together "Blessing Bags" for the homeless. The kids will fill gallon sized zip lock bags with items that will bless people living on the streets (handi-wipes, granola bars, nuts, band aids, toothbrush, etc.).

We are asking each child to bring some quarters from their own banks (or from money they have earned) to put in the bags. These coins can be used by the homeless to purchase a warm cup of coffee or make a phone call at a pay phone.

We are suggesting that each child bring 4 quarters, but they can bring what they would like to give.

We will have our donation box out at registration this week. The blessing bags will be one of our most expensive activities so if you would like to donate to help cover the costs that would be great!

Thanks to everyone who had made donations so far. It has helped out a ton!

Here is the Weekly Recap sheet from last week:

Monday, May 9, 2011

This Week

We are excited about this week!

A couple details:
  • We'd love for the kids to bring a gently used toy to donate to the kids living at a local homeless shelter (the Isaiah House in Santa Ana).

  • Also, very important - due to the wonderful turn out (we are amazed and so stoked), we feel that in order to keep things moving smoothly between activities and small group time with our junior counselors, that we could use a minimum of 4 parent volunteers each week to be extra hands on deck during our activities time.
If you are interested in helping out in one of the upcoming weeks, please shoot us an email. Our goal is to be intentional with this time and for it to be as meaningful as possible for the kids attending, and having some extra hands on deck with help that.

We would ask that you arrive at 1:30 and stay until 2:40.

We look forward to seeing our Kwav's this week!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pictures Really Are Worth A Thousand Words

["Sam", the puppet, explains what it means to be homeless and living in a shelter]

[our incredible junior counselors]

[the set up crew]

[book bags made by the kids and stuffed with donated books - ready to go to Shalimar]

[delivering the book bags to Shalimar]

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Weekly Recap

This week our story focused on Jesus and his disciples in the midst of the storm. We were able to talk to the kids about fear and how they can pray for peace.

We also discussed contentment and what it looks like to be thankful for what we have. Dialogue about this in your homes - there are many opportunities for our kids (and ourselves) to practice and cultivate contentment.

The kids had a blast making something special for their mommies! Our goal was to make bracelets for women living in a shelter in Santa Ana, but our time was a bit too short. The kids did learn about what a homeless shelter is and that there are plenty of women and children who live with that reality on a daily basis.

We wish all the KWAV mommies a Happy Mother's Day!