Saint Luke's Stories
Lessons on Giving and Receiving
December 8, 2010
Do homeless children act differently? How could these children give anything to us? What could we give to them? Last month our fifth and sixth-graders had an opportunity to spend time with children who are currently homeless, and they gained insight into some of these questions.
On a Saturday morning eighteen of our Saint Luke’s pre-teens volunteered at the YWCA Santa’s Workshop, which is held each year to spread some Christmas joy to families living in area homeless shelters and transitional housing programs. During the Christmas season, children from these families come to the YWCA and make gifts that they can give to parents, teachers, and friends and can even have their picture taken with Santa.
While at the Workshop, each one of our Saint Luke’s pre-teens was paired with a homeless child for the morning, and they worked together making crafts and snacks for themselves or to give to others for Christmas.
As they crafted their gifts, they conversed back and forth, and our young people discovered that the homeless children were grateful to have other kids spend time with them. Our pre-teens were extremely touched when the children made gifts not only for their family members but for our Saint Luke’s children. Santa was there to take pictures with the children, and the homeless children insisted that our Saint Luke’s pre-teens be included in the pictures.
After the event the pre-teens returned to Saint Luke’s for pizza and to talk about their experience. Mrs. Emily asked them about their thoughts on the day, and they all said they were amazed at how much they impacted the homeless children with such a simple act—the gift of time. And they were surprised to learn that they also received a blessing by spending the morning with these children.
One of our pre-teens, Kate Edmonds, had a sweet story. Her buddy kept making gifts for her. Kate told her she did not have to do that and that she wished she could give something to her. The child’s response was, “You don’t have to do that . . .you already made me happy.”
While discussing the day, one of our children stated that he expected the homeless children to look different from the children he knew. That comment opened a great teaching opportunity to discuss the difference between homelessness and poverty and the importance of never judging someone by what they look like—and that all of God’s children have something to give to one another—whether rich or poor.
Our Saint Luke’s participants were: Carolyn Wahlheim, Lucy Harrison, Amanda Roussel, Kate Edmonds, Kate Dyleski, Laura Doody, Elizabeth Hale, Sarah Hydinger, Laine Alby, Kendall Alby, Emily Bolvig, Delia Vandevelde, Hannah Wilder, Bascombe Traywick, R.L. England, Banks Henderson, Christopher Harmon, and Conyers Hallman. Adult participants were Emily Boles and Lois England.