29 Mar The Gift of Sharing Talent
At both our homes, we have always been very selective and sensitive to opening up opportunities to volunteers and visitors. Our number one priority is our children, so ensuring they feel safe, loved, and have everything they need, comes first. On the rare occasion that we do welcome these volunteers into our home, they come to add value to our children and environment. When we do have the pleasure of welcoming volunteers, we encourage returning visitors, enabling our children to build relationships and feel valued.
Our volunteers, donors, and prayer community continue to have such a huge impact on our children and their homes. We wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the value of sharing talent, and how our children have been positively impacted by one volunteer in particular.
On three occasions, we had the pleasure of welcoming Deanne Sander from the US to both our Kitalale and Kikuyu homes. Deanne is an artist and pediatric occupational therapist, with a tremendous amount of compassion and understanding for children as well as those with special needs. We could see the value Deanne would bring to our children so we couldn’t wait to welcome her!
With a background in art, in particular, Deanne was able to create a drawing workshop for a few of the children. Dennis, Tony, and Kevin, three children who had expressed an interest in pencil sketching and drawing and who we thought would really benefit from this time, had the opportunity to take part in the workshop. Deanne generously put together art packs that contained quality pencils, erasers, sketchpad, and books, as a gift for the children.
During her visit, Deanne worked with the aunties and another volunteer, Kellie Newland to organise art projects as well as child development classes with all of the children. Deanne and Kellie conducted specific training with the staff for our children with special needs. The aunties valued the training and were encouraged by new ideas and ways to support children with development. Lisa Papke, another volunteer on the trip, provided our staff with massages, in recognition of the amazing work they do. Our staff loved the massages and couldn’t stop talking about them for days and weeks to come. It was beautiful to see this gift to our staff.
As part of one of the art projects that Deanne, Kelly, and the aunties ran, the children created a heart wall-hanging, which hangs proudly in our Kitalale home.
The Impact of Giving
During these workshops and tutorials, Deanne shared her knowledge and skills which had a bigger impact than we could have ever imagined. Small investments go a long way.
Following the workshop, Dennis in particular took a shining to art and put the things he learned to test for many weeks and months to come. He even started up his own drawing classes for all of the younger children, giving them guidance on sketching and providing them with tips that he learned from Deanne.
When COVID-19 hit back in March last year, Dennis and Mercy took it upon themselves to create a sign to raise awareness of the virus and the steps we can all take to prevent the spread. A beautiful elephant card was also created by Dennis, which we couldn’t wait to share! The confidence Dennis has in his skills and abilities shines through, stemming from Deanne’s workshop and time spent with him as well as the encouragement from all of the aunties, uncles, and children who see his talent.
Deanne reflects on her time spent with our children:
“As a young occupational therapist, I always wondered if there would be opportunities to use my training in other countries with different ministries and organizations. Over the years I have had several different chances to share those skills. Even more wonderful was the chance to share BOTH my experiences as an occupational therapist AND as an artist with the children and staff at Children of Hope. It brought me great joy to be able to encourage the artistic talent and interests of a few specific children and provide them with some quality art supplies ….drawing pencils, sketchbooks, and some “how-to” books to help them on their journey.”
Deanne’s visit and the skills she shared on her visit really highlight the gift of giving and the impact it can have on others. We, along with our children, are grateful for the visitors and extended family across the globe.