More gratitude for the Children’s Christmas party, from the mothers and children themselves!

This past Tuesday, January 18, felt like a family reunion between the Women’s Wellbeing and Development Foundation/Bien de Mujer staff and the women and children we work with in La Carpio.  Because our women and children’s community education center is still under renovation, 35 kids, a few mothers, and we, all gathered at a local church in La Carpio for some value-teaching group games and exercises, as well as fruit and biscuits.

Authentic gratitude for our Children’s Christmas Party was tangible, and we just wanted to share some of these sentiments:

From the Mothers:

The Xmas party was very beautiful, very well organized. The kids enjoyed it very much!  They gave us food and the gifts were fantastic.  Thank you very much for everything.

Maria Isabel Suarez Gonzalez, Mother

My name is Jazmina Pupiro and I went to the party with my 5 children.  It was a wonderful party:  there was a pool, games, food, ice cream and cake, and beautiful gifts!

Jazmina Pupiro, Mother

Everything was fantastic!  The gifts, the pool!  I liked the games very much.  My daughter loved the pool and her gift.

Maria Rizo, Mother

I loved everything about the party.  The children loved their gifts and had a lot of fun. They enjoyed the food– it was a great surprise for them.  These workshops are very good for the children, they learn a lot in them and they help them a lot. The people that organize them are very good people and they really are great with the children.

Jaquelin Caliz Soza, Mother

I am very grateful to these wonderful people for everything they do for the children.  The party was wonderful.  Thank you so much.

Martha Paniagua, Mother

From some of the kids:

My name is Amanda and the party was beautiful and wonderful.  I will never forget it.  Thank you so much.

Amanda, 13 years old

I loved the party!  Thank you to everybody that organized this party for us, children.

Leyter Dixon Caliz, 12 years old

It was fabulous!  I was very happy that Ercy and Sonia were there, they are very good people.

Emmanuel, 13 years old

I loved the party, especially the pool! Keilyn Patricia, 11 years old

I loved everything about the party, especially the gifts, cannot wait to go again! Dana Paola Cruz, 12 years old

I enjoyed the party very much and I really loved the pool. Genesis Zuniga, 9 years old

For me, I loved everything about the party, especially the gifts. Paola Ortiz, 13 years old

Then we asked the little ‘uns:  “What part of the Christmas Party was your favorite?”

The pool, I wanted to swim three times! Valery, 5 years old

Everything! Henrito, 3 years old

Santa and the gifts!       Alison Nicole, 5 years old

The gifts, the ice cream and the jumping castles!        Jacol, 6 years old

The jumping castles and Santa! Angie, 5 years old

Again, this unforgettable experience for the kids, parents, and us, would not have been possible without all the hard-working volunteers and all the generous donations from people like you!  Gracias por todo!

2010 Bien de Mujer’s Annual Children’s Christmas Party

We could not have asked for better weather conditions on Tuesday, DEC 19—sunny and warm, our first blessing of the day—perfect for our Annual Children’s Christmas Party at the Centro de Recreo UNA, located in Barrio Santa Luiza, near Heredia.  As early as 7 AM, volunteers (our second blessing!) began to trickle into our house and load up 4 vehicles, including two trucks donated by Himalaya Aryuveda Distributors, worth of donated gifts, food, decorations (thank you, Haley Cooney!), and about 8 volunteers.  Again, so many blessings!

Over 160 children, and their mothers, arrived on 3 festive buses from La Carpio (the slums of San Jose, Costa Rica) just shy of 9 AM.  Several group games, a mini-moon bounce, and a huge inflatable slide, with a side of cookie and juice snacks, were ready for the onslaught of excited (this is a gross understatement!) kids.   The children were divided into two groups—half went to participate in outdoor group games and the playground first, while the other half went to the pool!

Gratefully, several other volunteers joined us later in the morning, including Craig and Agnes Lamb, and our “official” party-photographer, Ellen Lazare.  While the kids were playing and mothers cooking lunch, we set up the “sala” for the afternoon Christmas Music Show (a beautiful performance by students of the University of Costa Rica orchestra); for Santa’s visit; and of course– the distribution of gifts!  While the children were swimming in the pools, flopping around on large inflatable things, or playing fooz-ball and ping pong in the recreation room, the mothers prepared and served a lunch picnic of arroz con pollo and juice.

After lunch, everyone gathered in the sala for a sing-a-long Christmas music concert and the much-anticipated visit from Santa, with two of his helpers.  During the concert, ice cream and cake were served.  A special little birthday cake was made for Fabiola who just happened to turn 15 yesterday!  Then the madness began… as Santa handed out over 170 gifts to each child!  Each present was individually wrapped and addressed to each child.  CHAOS!

The party ended about 3 pm—each child armed with a gift, a little snack bag of candy and fruit, and a HUGE smile on his or her face.  Just so you know, the children were truly grateful—endless “Gracias” and lots of hugs, even tears both from kids and mothers in gratitude.  It was truly a special day, not just for the kids and their mothers, but for us as well.  This is what love looks like.

Happy Holidays to everyone and a heart-felt thank you to everyone (and there are many!) who contributed in some way to this very memorable event.

The “Wrapping” Party

Yesterday afternoon, following a morning meditation session, 30 friends and supporters of the Women’s Wellbeing and Development Foundation, arrived at the house– armed with food, sweets, wrapping paper, scissors and tape, with the awesome task of wrapping over 150 presents for our annual Children’s Christmas Party (the Children’s party is tomorrow, TUES, DEC 21.)  These presents, of course, were donations from generous individuals all over the world– as far as Holland and as close as our neighboring mini-mart!

Each gift has been allocated to a specific child in our Ilori Educational Program based in La Carpio, the slums of San Jose, Costa Rica.  Unlike most children’s education, welfare and development programs, Ilori Educational Program is unique in its holistic, experiential, uplifting approach to a child’s wellbeing.   We seek to address and nurture the child’s mind, body and spirit—with practical lessons in basic primary health care to yoga to experiential lessons in the importance of compassion, tolerance, sharing, and self-awareness.  We also introduce and encourage child participation in the arts, music, dance, meditation, yoga, and sports.

Our Annual Children’s Christmas Party is a BIG DEAL for these kids, as well as their parents.  For some of these children, this is the only gift they receive throughout the year.  Therefore, we are so grateful for all the people who came to our “wrapping party” yesterday evening.  The food and the company were priceless!

Our annual Children’s Christmas Party, DEC 21, 2010

This year, we are expecting 150 children from our projects in La Carpio, and about 50 of their parents, to attend our Annual Children’s Christmas Party.  The party will be held on December 21, 2010 from 10 AM to 3 PM.  The good people at Centro de Recreao (part of UNA) have generously donated a huge space—complete with swimming pools—to accommodate our party!