kidsLINK

Hello again bloggers!

How many times have you caught yourself saying: “I wish I were a kid again!” Too many, right? But what is it about those youthful years that we enjoy so much? Well I can name a few: less responsibilities, for one; less stress, everything was so much easier – the hardest decisions I had to make was deciding if I wanted to play with Barbie or Polly Pocket. It was beautiful! Everyday was rainbows, unicorns and smiles :)

Since my childhood days are long gone, I love being around younger children – I love interacting with younger kids, playing with them, conversing with them, and making them laugh. There's something about a little child's laugh that is so infectious, you can't help but laugh yourself. But really, the beauty behind children, in my opinion, is how genuine they are when they are younger. Kids are just themselves; they don't hold back and they say whatever comes to mind, which is usually the “darndest thing” (haha), because they don't think “if I say this, will I look stupid?”, or they don't have to worry about who's judging them because they don't even know what judgment is! I remember in “Becoming Human”, by Jean Vanier, Vanier said that if you've ever watched young children playing on the playground, you'll notice how easy it is for them to approach one another and instantly become the best of friends. It's because they don't acknowledge things like looks, or race, or how “uncool” the other kid is, unlike older people, who use criteria such as these to screen the people they want to talk to, and don't want to talk to. Kids, on the other hand, just see another person to play with and the bond starts from there.

Younger kids are so innocent, and I love that they aren't filled with all the negativity that we learn growing up. When we get older that's when we are taught that having money is the most important goal in life; that physical things like cars, clothes and jewellery bring us happiness; that you have to compete and make it to the top in order to be successful in life; that you should only associate with people who are more like you because they're on "your level". That means not talking to or getting to meet new people because they don't look a certain way, or they don't wear designer clothes, or because they're homeless, or have a mental disability. As we get older, life changes from rainbows, unicorns and smiles into money, competition and depression.

There's no denying that these innocent children will become exposed to these negative aspects of our Western society. Unfortunately, some will believe in this Western philosophy and they're lives will be directed towards consuming the physical and materialistic items that we have given so much praise and value. Or some, we can hope, will learn with the proper guidance and direction, that that isn't what constitutes a fulfilling life; that healthy relationships, happiness and most importantly, love, are what brings true value to your life.

The reason why I'm going off on this little tangent about children, is because I will finally be starting my volunteering this week at a social services agency called kidsLINK. Yes, I was supposed to be volunteering throughout the term, and yes, I now have to complete 20 hours of volunteering in less than 4 weeks (and during one of the most chaotic school months ever), but remember, I was built to work under pressure! Honestly, this time, my procrastination was not 100% to blame. A few of the earlier placements I looked into fell through, for various reasons, so I had to go back to square one. I could have joined my other members at the St. John's soup kitchen, but I was adamant in volunteering with children, now, before I work with the children at the orphanage in India.

To let you know a little bit more about my volunteer placement, kidsLINK, like I said before, it is a social service agency that works with families who have children with mental health challenges, such as autism, or different social, emotional or behavioural challenges, that the children need help developing. I will be working with children from the ages of 2 – 12, and I will be doing various activities with them, while helping them develop their social skills, recognize their emotions, and how to properly deal with those emotions in different situations. To find out more about kidsLINK and its parent company just click on the link!

I am excited about this placement because as much as I love being around children, I have never been around them in this fashion. I've babysat and I hang out with my little cousins and my friends' nieces and nephews, but that's pretty much the extent of it. I want to see how I interact with them, and if I will actually be able to handle 6-10 screaming children, with different needs and personalities, without losing my own sanity! I've also never worked with people with mental disabilities, so this will also be new for me. I am not worried about it though. If there was one thing I learned from reading “Becoming Human”, it was that mental disabilities do not prevent people from being their truly unique selves – that they are still humans who laugh, cry, and jump for joy. And they can make others around them laugh, cry and jump for joy, if they look past their disability, treat them as another human, and let them into their hearts. I'm hoping to learn a lot from this. There's a lot you can learn about yourself in every situation, and working with these kids, here, and in India, will certainly test me, because you never know what could happen, especially with children.

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1 Response to "kidsLINK"

  1. Krista says:
    March 14, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    As you know, I am not a big fan of children - I just can't. BUT this post made me feel all gushy inside about kids! You made kids look like fun instead of rambunctious little annoying munchkins! Haha. I wish you all the best on this placement, you'll do great!

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