Showing Kindness to 200 Kids

What a week! ūüôā

For five days I helped assemble breakfast, snack and lunch for 80+ first to sixth graders at an academic camp put on by our church. And let me tell you, it was tiring, but a blast.

Here are some of the snacks we served – can you guess what the theme was? (Hint: Something that’s related to tents, campfires and the great outdoors.)

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I found out recently that our school district only has one summer school site¬†for the entire¬†district, which means each school can only send one or two kids from each grade to attend. There are so many kids who need the academic help that summer school offers, but they can’t get in! This¬†is why some teachers from our church decided to put this summer camp¬†together for the underprivileged kids in our¬†community. Last year we served¬†close to 100 kids on one campus, and this year we expanded to two campuses! By God’s grace, we were able to reach out to almost 200¬†kids in all.

Each child who came was touched¬†by the registration folks, the group leaders, the teachers (for science, reading/writing, math, PE, crafts and music) and the food crew. They received one-on-one attention and were affirmed on how valuable and loved¬†they are. Over the course of the week, the kids really¬†opened up and blossomed. One child who showed up¬†on Monday was so quiet and shy that she needed her group leader to speak for her, but by Thursday she had gained the confidence and courage¬†to sing a solo in front of her whole music class! This was just one of many stories I heard over the week that proved it’s possible to make a huge impact on children in a short, but meaningful time.

As part of the food prep team, I particularly enjoyed seeing the kids’¬†smiles when they received a meal or¬†even for something as small¬†as a carton of milk. These are kids who don’t have much (a couple of them live in motels), but they were¬†so polite and¬†thankful¬†and enthusiastic. It really made my day to know I could play a role in helping¬†their minds and bodies be ready to learn and grow.

I ended the week with this quote on my mind:kind

Life is hard, so let us be kind to one another. Even a smile can go a long way. I know the smiles the kids gave me this week made a big dent in my heart and will stay in my memory for a long time.

Here’s a short clip of the kids singing Josh Groban’s song, “You Raise Me Up” for their families on the last day of camp. ūüôā May these little ones inspire you to raise someone up with your kind words and actions.

How have you shown kindness to others recently? How has someone’s act of kindness made a difference in your life?