Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Almost-Snowed-Out Concert

Our 6th Annual Children for Children concert last night was lovely (you can learn more about what these concerts are about in my post from last year's concert here). The kids and I spend the whole day yesterday answering last-minute questions from attendees, cleaning up and setting up the old church down the street where the event would take place, practicing parts, getting the Nativity costumes in order, putting the program together and making treats to serve at the close of the evening.

Then around 4pm it started snowing in earnest and while we've all been craving more snow, the huge clumps of snow falling from the sky weren't so welcome when we were worried about how the snow would affect people's ability to get to our concert. Sure enough, around 5pm, we started to get phone calls from people who were planning to come from more far-flung places who weren't going to make it thanks to the weather. We also got a call from a family with stomach flu, a family with a broken-down car and a family who dropped the autoharp they were going to play at the concert and sadly had to cancel the performance they'd planned to do. It seemed most of our larger families who were planning to come had had to cancel for one reason or another and as our planned-for numbers dwindled, we were feeling a bit sad. So we knelt together and prayed that the people who really needed to be there would be there and that it would be a good experience for everyone who attended and that we'd be able to raise a decent amount of money to help the orphans. Then we all felt much better.

The concert turned out to be really great. Our numbers were fewer than last year but that made it all the more friendly and relaxed. Ashton was an excellent MC. All the kids on the program did a lovely job dancing and singing and playing instruments and received enthusiastic applause for their efforts.

One of my favorite moments was when one sweet neighbor girl got up there to sing and lost her nerve. After a few moments of silence with no one knowing quite how to handle the situation, three other neighborhood kids rushed up there to be her back-up singers and the four of them carried off a rousing rendition of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." That little moment seemed to typify what the whole evening was about - children seeing needs and helping other children. Whether you're helping orphans in Bulgaria get healthy food and medical care or helping a neighbor sing a song, giving and helping kid-to-kid is a beautiful thing to see.

Perhaps my favorite part of each "Children for Children" night we've done has been opening the box of donation with my kids. I think they're more excited to open this box than pretty much any other box they get at Christmas.

How wonderful to see my kids so excited about getting something that they get to give away! They get stars in their eyes as we count up the money and talk about all the great food and warm blankets and fun activities that THEIR money they worked hard to earn will help their little orphan friends to have. It's a beautiful sight.

For anyone who'd like to get their kids involved in some sort of a "Children for Children" holiday giving effort, here's a very simple 3-step process for you:

1. Learn about children in need. 

You could watch the following little video about the Bulgarian Orphans with your children (I took these pictures myself when I was in Bulgaria a few years ago to do training for orphanage caregivers there and I still cry every time I look at these sweet children who desperately need the love and health that One Heart Bulgaria helps to provide.) Other great and trusted organizations that help children that my family and/or friends have been heavily involved with are Rising Star (serves children from leper colonies in India - my parents and most of my siblings have been there and most of us sponsor kids there) and Care for Life (my brother and sister-in-law worked with this organization in Mozambique for several months and saw the huge difference they make as they build families and empower people to make their lives better). There are many other charities you may also want to look into. But choosing one that offers videos, stories or photos will help make it all the more "real" for your children.

2. Talk about what your kids could do to earn money to help meet the needs of these needy children. 

They could simply do some extra chores around the house or offer to do chores for neighbors to raise money. They could invite friends over for a little movie party and ask them to bring a donation in the amount of their choice  and show a little movie about needy children and talk about how they plan to help before showing a fun holiday movie. They could put on a little "Children for Children" concert where they perform for others and ask for donations (this can be done with just a few families - doesn't have to be a big deal - could grow over time . . .).

3. Help your kids donate the money to the charity you've selected together. 

I totally recommend One Heart Bulgaria since I know the people involved and know that they make the money go a lot ways and put it directly towards the most prevalent needs of children. But there are many other wonderful charities you could look at. Most charities have a "donate now" button that's pretty easy to locate on their website and it's a quick and easy thing to sit down with your kids and make your donation online.


charity eyre wright said...

so awesome sar! you're the best!

yin-keng said...

You are amazing,Saren!I don't know how you find the time and energy to do all the things you are doing. Wish I could have taken my 4yr old grand daughter to see the concert!BTW I love love the John Lewis christmas ad.Incidentally yesterday when I was busy doing cleaning and my hair keeps getting in the way annoying me so much I immediately thought of your post quite a while back on annoying bits of hair. (lol). sorry, totally off the subject.But honestly thanks for sharing your thoughts and keeping it real!I also love your post on "sucked into cycles " which I meant to comment but never got round to it!! As I was reading it I thought that's me all right , somehow I find that post so inspiring . Often I feel so guilty for quietly lapping up your very inspiring blog which I so enjoy following and not bothering giving you any feedback, so now that I've commented I feel better! (lol) May I take this oppportunity to wish you and all your family a very merry christmas and a happy New year. yin-keng

Linda said...

Loved being there. Ashton was awesome conducting the whole thing! Congrats on another successful year!

Linda said...

Loved being there. Ashton was awesome conducting the whole thing! Congrats on another successful year!

Unknown said...

I'm not sure you'll see this but I don't know how to reach you. I just wanted to say thanks for your kind comments! Keep reading and commenting! I love knowing that what I write is making a difference to you.


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