2019-03-05

Volunteers and Children's end of year celebrations

Written by Jeanne Dulac & Laura Blackmore
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We rang the bell on the front door of the white façade building. It was our third visit accompanying Tony, one of the volunteer’s from Sweden, to the after school care located in the suburbs of Buenos Aires.

The local centre transforms into a Summer Camp for the children over the holiday period during January and February. They also offer after school support for primary and high aged students. 

With classes starting back again in two weeks, the teachers wanted to throw an end of year party. The teenagers were helping out to decorate the room with glittery posters on the walls, such as “Te voy a extrañar,” which translates to “I’m going to miss you.” Excited to share their space with their parents and grandparents, the children ushered them through the centre and couldn’t contain their joy.

Claudia, one of the women who work at the centre, warmly welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming to the fiesta. “Come and help me take out the Octopus,” said Alicia, one of the centre’s teachers. Our eyes were drawn to the array of colorful, cardboard silhouettes waiting to be set up in the backyard. The group was then spilt up into four teams to participate in the different stands.

The imagination and time that went into the creation of these games was unbelievable. Every game was hand crafted and all of the products had been recycled and reused. For example the Octopus had tin cans tapped over each of its 8 tentacles and above each can there was a number to signal the number of points you would receive from it. The game was simple and fun; the kids had to throw the plastic lids into each can to score points. 

Looking around at the various activities, there was nothing that had been store bought, which proved that you don’t need much to have a lot of fun, just a powerful imagination and an open mind. We joined in on the games and on reflection we can honestly say it was one of our favorite memories from our time in Buenos Aires.

As the outdoor games wrapped up, the party continued inside with more tournaments and music. It was the parents’ turn to show their skills in front of an animated crowd. The first game was about speed. There were 2 plastic bottles tapped to together and filled with chocolate smarties, like an hour-glass full of sand. The first parent set the record straight as they shook the bottles to make the smarties pass from one end of the bottle to the other. There was a friendly competition between the children as their cheered on their parents. With such a lively atmosphere in the room, you could not deny the strong sense of community that has been built between the children and the adults. 

The importance of providing a safe and caring haven for children to learn and grow can be overlooked. Places like this after school care play a fundamental role in the development of the students. Every day Claudia, Alicia and the other men and women who work at the centre bring much love and structure into the student’s lives. Children from all over the world could benefit from like-minded places like this centre as they help nurture and support the well being of the future generations.

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