Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sugar and Spice

It doesn't take a lot to make kids happy. Well, maybe it doesn't take a lot to make people, in general, happy. A little thoughtfulness. A kind gesture. A few minutes of your time and attention can change the course of other's lives in immeasurable ways.

The meditation group I belong to is overseen by Humanity in Unity. We look into the heart of our community with special eyes to see where we can help. And, sadly, there is no lack of need for support. This holiday season, we adopted a family and provided what we could.

We also have a transitional program, Faith Works, that we've worked with for a couple of years. It has a very high success rate. Almost all of the funding goes to the people involved and not to administration. Families who've been blown apart have a chance to pick up the shards of broken lives and move on together. Parents, who've lost their children due to drug use or imprisonment, get to live with them as long as they comply with the rules of this two year program.

They get to reside in a decent apartment complex. There is a social worker on the premises and the rules are strict. Drug testing is enforced. They have mandatory educational classes on child care and life skills. They have to be in their apartments for the night by 10 p.m. They have to get jobs and pay a nominal rent. For those that survive the program, the rewards are great. They get to have their children and spouses back. The money they pay for housing is returned to them at the conclusion of the program. They'll be able to afford to start their new lives in a place of their own.

The other night we put on a party for the kids. One of our members, Susan, made these charming graham cracker houses. She had them all ready for the children to gussy up with all the candy we brought. It was a fast and furious hour and a half filled with flying, royal icing and sticky, happy fingers. The kids had a swell time! Each house was a thing of beauty and a joy forever. One little boy took the house he had so carefully crafted and gave it to his babysitter.

Even those having next to nothing can find a way to extend a charitable hand. He was proud, generous and filled with love. That is, until the instant he realized the party was over and he had no more time to make himself a candy house. The tears welled in his eyes. He boo-hooed like a five year old. Oh, wait! He was a five year old. We quickly found one last house. Smeared it with icing and "snowed" sprinkles over the top. His eye-clouds-and-rain cleared. A smile came out. Sprinkles can fix most anything, it seems.


Anonymous said...

Ronda, you have some the most incredible programmes! I like the what you say about hardly any of the monies goin to admin.; more for the one s who really need it, wot? And looks like a wonderful party here!

Brian Miller said...

how very cool. i bet the kids had a blast making those houses. so cool you have these outlets to give back. you are right, it does not take a whole lot of money, just heart...smiles.

Mrsupole said...

Hi Ronda,

What a cool thing to do. Somehow there seems to be nothing better in life than to make a child happy. And it can be the simplest things that surprizingly have the ability to make a child happy. A wooden spoon and a pot will entertain a young child for hours. It will drive us nuts, but the child will be laughing and just having fun.

Any place that gives almost all of the monies to the needy is a great charity. I know there are some that keep most of the donated monies for the administration costs and very little is actually given to the needy. I try to never donate to those companies, I think they should be banned and the best way to ban them is for us to never donate to them and to only donate to the ones like the one you wrote about.

You have such a wonderful and blessed heart, may you always have joy and love blessing your life.

God bless.

DUTA said...

It looks and sounds great.

When I was a child in a country under commmunist regime, public charity was forbidden because it implied that the government doesn't take care of the people.

In a capitalist country, it could also imply that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, but at least it's not forbidden, and wonderful people like you can do wonderful deeds for children and families in need.

Candie Bracci said...

Ronda,you are right!Beautiful gesture and beautiful words.Have a nice day.

TechnoBabe said...

Good thing there was one more house to decorate. That is a great idea to have them already made so the fun part of decorating could bring joy to the children.

NanU said...

Wow. Sometimes the bad in the world just disappears.

Baino said...

I think that's a fantastic combination of charity and tough love. Very worthwhile. And to a five year old, sprinkles are gold! You're a kind and gentle soul so you are!

Kate Hanley said...

What a wonderful thing to do. I try to assist at Cradles 2 Crayons an organization here in Philly and there's one in Boston that provides stuff to kids to help them learn and play (clothes, school supplies, etc.) All it takes is my time which I'm happy to give. As I fill orders for clothes, books and games, I try to think about the person who will receive this and what help it can give. Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea.

Leah said...

That's the nicest thing to do at this time of year (well, and any other time of course). Those pictures are SO happy. I really like your whole take on life.

Reya Mellicker said...

This is good work. I salute you!! Thank you for hanging out in your body this time around, Ronda. We are all the better for it.

Seriously cool gingerbread house, btw.

Ronda Laveen said...

Subby: So often, under scrutiny of numbers crunching, a lot of a charity's funding goes to those who already have it pretty dang good. We had a lawyer, one of our groups hubby's, take a look and he gave Faith Works the thumbs up!

Brian: As I was writing this piece, I thought about how much fun your boys would have had making these houses. Kids just wanna have fun.

Sherry: You always bring wisdom and laughter to me. This cracked me up: "A wooden spoon and a pot will entertain a young child for hours. It will drive us nuts, but the child will be laughing and just having fun." Blessing to you too!

DUTA: Thanks for such a great perspective of charity in a communist or capitalist society. I've never quite thought of it that way before. So, were the people really taken care of under the communistic regime?

Ronda Laveen said...

Candie: You too! xxoo

TechnoBabe: Yes, Susan's idea to have the houses already to go so the kids could just decorate was inspired. Not to mention a whole lot work less for us.

NanU: It is lovely when the bad in the world disappears, isn't it?

Baino: Yes, love and tough love can work miracles. Sprinkles too! Thanks.

Kate: It is so lovely that you think about each individual you are trying to help. Energetically, that is so strong! You don't even know...

Leah: Those pictures were happy! It was so much fun for us too!

Reya: Thanks for the reality check. I never thought about the fact that I chose to hang around in my body this time. But, 'tis true.

Yeah, that house is way cool, yes?

otin said...

You are like sprinkles in the blog world Ronda! You can bring a smile to people's faces!

Ronda Laveen said...

Otin: Comere! Let me shake this little bottle over your head. There. Don't you look nice. Sprinkles become you too!

Lorenzo Lapis Lazuli said...

A beautiful act and a beautiful post, Ronda.

tony said...

You Are Both Privileged & Blessed.
Beautiful People All.
Nice One Ronda.

Dorraine said...

What a lovely share, Ronda. So like you. Those pictures are precious. The smiles. The sprinkles. The blessings. How lucky for us, that we got to hear the story through your heart. Thank you!

Ronda Laveen said...

LLL: Thanks and welcome.

Tony: Glad you enjoyed, Tony. I've read about your special friend and hope he is doing well.

Dorraine: Aren't the kids precious? They deserve a lot of love. Thanks.

lettuce said...

what a great project

the little houses are inspired
and this post is inspiring