Visiting Hope Home today was a first for me in many ways. This was my first experience of volunteering abroad, as well as being the first time that I have had the pleasure of working with orphaned kids who display various needs. To my amazement, the kids in Hope Home exhibited their abilities rather than allowing their disabilities to hinder their participation in the fun activities that ARI volunteers had carefully planned for them, in a 90 minute workshop. All activities were planned in relation to the individual needs of each child within Hope House. The activities ranged from loud and energetic, to calm and reflective.
We all got to jam at the beginning of the workshop using background music and musical instruments. The kids got really creative and made a lot of great sounds, together with creating a marching band and learning a new rhythm.
Afterwards, the high energy children then had the opportunity to partake in an obstacle course which was constructed outside. It certainly sounded like the children were having fun as laughter and screams of joy were frequently heard.
During this time, the kids with lower energy participated in a singing session, beautifully accompanied by a ukulele and Hallie’s voice. From observation, the kids responded really well to the music and demonstrated a yearning to be involved. Smiles were seen and sounds were heard from all participants which was a joy to watch.
As a conclusion to the workshop, the kids were all encouraged to engage in yoga. Unexpectedly, and probably as a result of my own ignorance and underestimating these kids, I was overwhelmed by involvement and ability throughout the yoga session. This seemed to be a good choice of activity to conclude, as the kids lay on the mats, concentrated on getting their moves and poses on point and ultimately, relaxed.
Upon reflection, the planning, dedication and professionalism of ARI volunteers, I believe, not only benefits the kids in Hope Home, but also assists and provides guidance to the caretakers within the home.
I look forward to my next visit to Hope Home.