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!

Can’t buy this at Wal-Mart! Special holiday discounts on Wise Heart Books for children

I cannot recall any of the holiday gifts I received when I was 2, 3, 4, or even 5 years old; however, I do vividly recall the books that were read to me over and over (and then later, the books I learned to read with), and I even remember their message. For example, “Green Eggs and Ham”, by Dr. Seuss, is one of my life mantra’s:  Try everything at least once (even cliff-diving in Hawaii, or moving to Africa when you are 18 years old!)  Or , what about a book as simple as “Goodnight Moon”?  And who can forget “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, or Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are”?

I know you are all being flooded with holiday gift discounts, sales and such, but this year you have the opportunity to give a brand new, conscientious series of early children’s books, called Wise Heart Books.  People cannot buy these books at Borders, Target or Wal-Mart, so no worries about a gift faux-pas!

The Wise Heart Books’ “Smart Values Series” is a collection of five delightful stories that help children understand the positive and transformative nature of good values. Each story describes how certain values – such as generosity, cleanliness, and honesty – can change us for the better and just for the holidays:  you can get all five books for only $24.99.  Or you can buy them separately for only $6.99 each (but this does not include shipping and handling—which makes me question, what exactly do they mean by handling?!!!).

To take a peek for yourself of these artistic new books before they hit Borders, please visit: http://www.wiseheartbooks.com/

On top of your gift to your favorite niece or your colleague that just had a baby boy, the proceeds to go to the Women’s Well-Being and Development Foundation (http://www.wwd-f.org/index.html)  youth educational programs in La Carpio, the slums of San Jose, Costa Rica.   We are currently in the process of developing 3 slum houses into an eco-friendly community play, learn and community center.

And only until Christmas, are we offering this deal:

5 books for only $24.99 (this is 20% off the regular price!!!)

$6.99 a book

(does not include shipping and handling)

Free shipping for orders over $50

To order or for more information: http://www.wiseheartbooks.com/

by Kelly N Patterson