The following post was written by Nicole, a Little Hands Can volunteer.
The Springfield Public Library has graciously invited Little Hands Can to host several service events this summer. In doing so, we found out that every Friday afternoon in the summer from 2pm to 4pm they have a Craft Corner in the Children’s section. We recently led one of those events and made “Wreaths for the Wise” to donate to a local assisted living center.
As each child arrived to participate, we explained the premise of the project and invited each child to make a wreath to donate. Afterwards, they could make a wreath to take home if they wanted to. Now, any mother of a toddler or elementary school aged child (or any child for that matter) can tell you that, generally, it is not easy for children to put others before themselves. But I was amazed by the enthusiasm with which each child approached the project – willingly making a wreath to donate first without complaint or insistence on making one for themselves first. In fact, some of the children made multiple wreaths to donate! Each wreath was unique, and the children put great time and effort into their designs. Some were covered in glitter, others in buttons, and some in a little bit of everything. And I had forgotten how much children love glue!
After the wreaths had dried, the next step was to deliver them to our special recipients. As I told a friend about the wreaths and their intended destination, I was surprised to hear the opinion that doing so was patronizing and unappreciated. I was taken a back with surprise and wondered if others thought the same way as this individual. Then I began to worry about how the residents would feel when we stopped by. My intention was not to make others feel bad, but the very opposite. I began to feel nervous and was second guessing whether delivering the wreaths was a good idea after all. Nevertheless, smile on my face and children in tow, we went to deliver the wreaths as planned.
When we arrived at our destination, we entered the lobby with wreaths in hand. Sitting in a chair by the window was an elderly gentleman. As we struck up a conversation with him, he admired our pile of wreaths and described them as “exquisite.” He was genuinely touched by the kindness and effort of the little hands that had made each wreath and by the fact that someone would do such a thing for him. He further shared that it was his second day at the residence, and he was not sure why he was there. But now, he was glad he was there. What a wonderful moment to share with my children. I could not think of a more poignant experience to illustrate how seemingly simple acts of kindness and thoughtfulness – our act of giving and his words of gratitude – do in fact bring great joy to those around us.
So, if you are looking for a great activity to brighten the lives of those around you (or even your own home), check out the May 2016 blog for instructions on how to make “Wreaths for the Wise.” (TIP: We found that construction paper and tissue paper work just as well, if not better, than cardstock). Last but not least, we hope you have just as much fun as we did!