I have a seven-year-old daughter. Is that going to sink in one day? Because it hasn’t yet. The constant newness of parenting still surprises me daily. The baby and the 4-year-old feel a whole lot less challenging in most ways just because I don’t feel like I’m always in the scary height of the learning curve with them. But with the seven-year-old? I’m always a little frightened. What’s coming next? Serious subjects have come home from conversations with friends, and as much as I’d like to ignore them, there’s more coming. Life is haaaard. And it’s my job to show her that there is always room for hope and love and joy. As hard as that feels sometimes. So she and I are working on a special service project that happens to involve her latest favorite thing – the rainbow loom.
In “Wow, I never thought we’d get to that!” news – the rainbow loom has shown me just how long she can sit still and focus. Have you seen a rainbow loom (affiliate)? It’s a whole bunch of plastic pegs and a crochet hook, more or less. It’s such a popular crafty gadget that you won’t have to look too hard to find one locally. You actually don’t even have to have a “loom” to make bracelets, you can just use loops and a crochet hook. The loops themselves are inexpensive. There are a whole lot of tutorials on YouTube for all of the amazing things you can make.
She loves the rainbow loom and will spend hours making bracelets and necklaces and charms. My friend Jen from Upcycled Education also has a loom-loving kid, and connected some amazing dots. There’s a program called AHOPE that provides free assistance, housing, clothing, schooling, medical care, etc. to HIV+ orphans in Ethiopia. Jen is collecting rainbow loom bracelets along with donations to send with volunteers who are heading over in April. Things we’ve made by hand will delivered by hand to the hands of children on the other side of the world, and the executive director of the program believes the bracelets and donations will be put to good use.
So, K and I now have this opportunity to talk about Ethiopia. And kids who are sick but may not look sick. Who need love and care from people who aren’t their parents. Who might feel brightened to receive little gifts from kids who were thinking of them. Serious subjects that we’re approaching with something tangible. Small in every sense, but an opportunity to share hope and love and for her and me to talk while we are crafting.
We’d love for you to join us! It’s easy.
1: Make bracelets by March 15th
2: Send your bracelets along with a donation (every dollar helps!) to:
PO Box 950
Savage, MD 20763
Checks should be made payable to AHOPE, or you can donate online. My thought for the donation is that we’ll ask a few close friends and grandparents to “sponsor” K’s bracelets – which will give her an opportunity to describe what she’s doing and why and help her process and embrace it even more.
You’ll also see this project featured today by organizer Jen (who has more detail on her blog) and by Ashley Ann from Under the Sycamore, Jenny of The Southern Institute and Stacy from Kids Stuff World. Go read what they have to say, too!