On Sunday, May 21st, we launched the first-ever kid's therapeutic play program. There was much excitement about our plan to reach out to the kids who belong to grandfamilies in Miami County. Four awesome women put their heads together for planning this-- Maryann Crist, Joan Swank, Mary Borton and yours truly (Ann Marie Winters). We brainstormed what would be most beneficial for children to experience during an afternoon when their grandparents could have some free time to rest, relax, and just "be."
We hoped for eight children for this first-ever program, and three showed up. That was ok-- we had an oodles of volunteer help, thanks to St John's church members, and some other friends. So, there was a great ratio of volunteers to kids, meaning lots of helping hands.
Our first activity was "Getting to know you", creating name tags, and introducing one another to the group. Joan's story really hit home with the kids'-- they loved hearing about the compassionate, caring grandparents who took care of their grandkids. And then there was time to express their own experiences by drawing a picture of their own families.
We all enjoyed a break outside on the playground and a nice snack, then we headed into the Gathering room to act out the story of Joseph and his many brothers. Joseph was treated meanly by his brothers, but he had a God-sized heart, and forgave them in the end.
Mary Borton led the kids in an imaginary trip into the jungle, where they encountered many (imaginary) animals, and pretended to embody their animal bodies. Then Mary read a yoga story, with Olivia's help--they were able to do deep breathing and yoga poses to relax and express themselves.
We ended up a wonderful afternoon with a special "music sampler" by Beth Beene, who did two musical puppet shows with the kids' help. She brought her drum, and chimes, and led the kids in some singing and drumming rhythms. They also explored music over the ages in a short video.
What a wonderful time we had. A great big thank-you goes out to everyone who participated. So many were involved, it's hard to name everyone, without missing someone; each and every person made a contribution to the success of the program. I can't wait for next month-- "Caring Day" on June 17th, 1-4 PM. Same place (and we're adding childcare for the littlest children (ages 1 through kindergarten). Space is limited. First come, first served. Call Ann Marie at (330) 469-6296 to pre-register.