by Hannah Peterson, Flying Kites Ambassador
Mary stared intently at herself in a hand mirror, tilting it slightly to see her hairline, and then to the side to trace the lines of her ear. The playroom was set up like an art workshop with three big wooden tables cornered by benches, each with a mirror and bucket of colored pencils. For our Mlezi and Championi level sponsors, we decided to make self-portraits to send in the month of September. Orchestrating an activity for 26 energetic kids has its unique challenges, and having executed all sponsorship correspondences over the past year, I’d learned a couple key lessons to keep things going smoothly. Number one, create a lesson plan and split the kids into small groups. Number two, the kids mirror your excitement, so make it something that excites and challenges you too. And finally, number three, always, always, have dance music playing.
I set up my own table and armed myself with glue sticks for each finished picture to be set onto a glittery frame. I gave them the advice that I wished had been given to me in my first art class: draw what you perceive, not necessarily what you see. I knew it was a success when I heard laughter around the room and could look around at the tens of mirror faces revealing themselves.
In the past year, we have funneled effort into sustaining a more creative and evolved relationship between child and sponsor through a correspondence program that spans media types. From emails to holiday ornaments, to self-portraits, to video messages, our hopes are that this program has helped to reshape and enhance this relationship. The unexpected treasure though, always lies in the kids. In showing the kids how to creatively correspond with people around the globe, their own understanding of giving has evolved into a more creative and authentic outlook. It has been a meaningful journey to act as the bridge between child and sponsor, and with the growing intellectual and creative tools cultivated by the kids, I can’t wait to see where they take things next as our superstar Communications Ambassador, Adam, steps into the role.