Well, this week, "Lexi" and "Crazy" took me to places that again, I never would have had the opportunity to visit had I not written them.
As I had never been to Prince Albert, my hubby was so kind as to drive, so I could navigate addresses. I have a bit of a phobia about heading into places, not knowing exactly where to go ( I blame my mom for that one), so it's always helpful for, on the first trip somewhere, there is a helper person.
Upon arrival, we discovered that the hotel had lost the reservation. After a little tail chasing we had everything set straight away. The real adventure didn't start until the next morning anyway.
So, in the morning we went to the coordinator lady's office to begin our tour.
The first school was on a reserve about an hour or so northwest of Prince Albert. According to the coordinator, one of the more well run schools in the country side. The school felt very warm and inviting, the staff and kids were great.
They have a pretty decent library, although the whole two computers available for the kids to use in the library looked like they came over on the arc. It definitely makes you think about what our kids took completely for granted in our school division. I've been to schools where a bank of computers in the kindergarten room is the norm. Same province......makes you ponder.
The reading went better than I ever could have hoped! Little ones and teachers alike giggling in all of the right spots. The kids were quiet and attentive for both books, which is always a good sign. One little girl was a little concerned that the family in the book might eat the foot juggled ice cream, she was so cute.
The other school we went to was right in town. It's a boarding school of sorts. The kids attending this non-graded school are to me, the lost kids. These kids range in age from about 5 - 15. They are children with learning disabilities brought on by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the children that have been abused and damaged by adults along the way. These are the children that the foster system can't handle and the parents can't deal with, the lost kids.
Somehow, in our society, our very affluent society, these kids are discarded. They have suffered some sort of mistreatment, alot of them since before they were born, and as a reward for surviving their lives so far, they are sent to this place.
Don't get me wrong, the staff there is incredible, doing the best they can with the tools they are given to help these kids. Earlier I talked about how the first school was very warm and welcoming, it had a very positive energy. When I walked into this school, I instantly could feel a heaviness in my chest. The building itself seems to be just this side of condemned, the staff has a look and feel of war weary soldiers who are not seeing an end to the fight.
They have very minimal materials to work with. The kids have no art or music and very few books. I was the very first visitor of any kind to come and see them, as they are considered difficult and unpredictable. There is no way I could just leave that place and not have it impact me in a big way.
When it came time to do the readings, we had all ages at once. So we had about 35 kids, 5 year olds straight up to about 15. Considering the kind of books I write, I wasn't at all surprised to see a less than impressed teen aged boy sitting in front of me with arms crossed and eyes rolling.
The kids were great, they were incredibly attentive, fully participating in both stories. Even arm-crossed boy found himself leaning forward with a silly grin on his face by the time we were done. They were sitting in a kind of horseshoe shape, so to insure that all the kids could see, my hubby held a book to my left and the coordinator lady stood to my right with another one. The little ones especially wanted to touch the pages throughout.
As I said, it's not possible to walk out of their unaffected. So, this is my plan. I'm going to be going back up north on April 19th. I'm going to be taking a bit of a care package to the kids at the boarding school. Craft supplies, story books, notebooks, pens, pencils, puzzles, board games, etc. If anyone out there would like to contribute, that would be great.
If you live in Saskatoon and have something you can donate, please send me an email and I will find a way to pick it up before the trip.
I will also be doing a pick up in Unity before then, so anyone in that neck of the woods can let me know if they have anything I could take along.
Now for the upcoming week.
Should be a regular work week, other than I will be taking Friday to read to the munchkins at a preschool in Saskatoon. Then, Saturday I'll be participating in a trade show at George Vanier elementary school. It's being held in the gym and starts at 9am. Should be a blast!
Also, I must say, I'm pretty excited about the on-line sales of "A Crazy Day" so far. It's been a pretty steady run to the post office! Thanks!
Thank you so much for your ongoing support, I want you to know that I never take it for granted.
Until Next Week!
May you give the munchkins in your life a hug, and maybe just an extra little squeeze.
May they know without doubt, that they are loved and cherished just for their ability to breathe.
May you look passed the hurt and anger that lives behind the eyes of those that have been broken by the adults entrusted with their care.
May you see the fear underneath it all, the damaged, delicate spirit that with enough love and laughter can maybe begin to repair.
May you experience the joy of putting a smile on the face of an angel that deep down thinks it's not really an angel at all.
May you do this, feel this, so in love with these angels you can fall.
Take Care, Have a great Week!