Waking early, we head out to Washington Irving School for Kid's Adventure Week (KAW). With most everything in place from yesterday, we only needed about an hour to finish last-minute details. Rooms are assigned, music is checked and rechecked, and lessons are gone over one last time. Kids start trickling in, eventually being about 30 strong. The grades range from Kindergarten to 5th.
9:15am rolls around. It's time to start. Pastor Josh kicks off KAW with an icebreaker activity, covers general ground rules, and hands it off to the music team. The first song starts playing, music is blaring, and the music team is dancing and singing. Everybody is excited to kick off KAW with a bang! However, something is odd. Strangely, the children are... not doing much of anything. The music team encourages the children to sing and mirror the dancers, but the children barely react.
"What is this?", the children are probably thinking. "You want us to dance, sing, and make a fool of ourselves in front of dozens of strangers? I've never heard this music before. It's strange." The looks on their faces say they are unconvinced the KAW team members are to be trusted.
Why should they? A good number of the children have likely never been to church, with the rest almost certainly not participated in any kind of VBS. This is why we call it "Kid's Adventure Week": people would look at us funny if we called it "VBS" or "Vacation Bible School". It's literally unheard of in these parts.
The day progresses slowly. It's hot—not unbearably so, but when working with rambunctious kids, being constantly warm saps the energy out of you. There's no AC in the school we're in. In fact, it's rare for buildings to even have air conditioning. This is New England, after all, where snow and cold winters are the primary concern.
As the day progresses, the children start opening up and engaging more and more. Some are still standoffish, but many are joining in the fun. It's the first day, and we've begun building their trust.
Lunch is simple sandwiches, but very welcome after three hours of working with the children. Afterwards, the team chills out in the pool, or takes a nap until it's time to meet with Roslindale Green & Clean.
We meet Jeff and Jennifer of Roslindale Green & Clean nearby the park where the Farmer's Market was held. Green & Clean give garden tours of the several gardens around Roslindale, with the proceeds going to the maintenance and improvement to Roslindale's green spaces. They need our help with pulling weeds and clearing some overgrown plants. They are mostly volunteer-based and the state of the three locations we work in show they are in need a good infusion of Eastside energy.
We pull weeds for about two hours. It's not glamorous, nor is it particularly fun. Yet, we're here to help establish Charles River Church in the community, and the main way to do that is to help people with whatever they need, including pulling weeds. When you get questions like, "Why are you doing this?", you know you have made an impact.
Large sections of landscaping are cleared of weeds, and the team is hungry! Green & Clean graciously take us to a local pizzeria for dinner. After a very welcome dinner after a long day's work, we head back to the hotel to recuperate for another KAW day tomorrow.
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Marietta, GA 30068
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