Jan 10, 2007

Yesterday I was "project manager" for our volunteer event with the Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth. Through the Grand Rapids Junior League, I have the opportunity to volunteer with a group of innercity youth in Grand Rapids. We fondly call it the "Girls Rule Club." The girls range from ages 8-11. It's a small age gap, but the girls seem to mature pretty fast.

For my event, I took the girls on an imaginary Hawaiian luau. We started with snacks - fruit kabobs and punch. Not surprisingly, some had never eaten papaya or seen starfruit. I taught them a little about Hawaii through a trivia game much like Jeopardy (thanks for the idea Kim). We learned some fun facts about the bad luck associated with taking lava rock home and why sharks attack surfers (from underwater they look like seals). We discussed the Hawaiian alphabet, which only contains seven consonants and each consonant in a word must be followed by a vowel. Therefore, each word ends in a vowel - think about it. We also talked about the formation of volcanoes. Did you all know each of the Hawaiian islands was formed from a volcano?! I should have known that, but I just didn't. I had the kids attention for about 10 minutes - or until they each got a prize lei for answering. Beyond that, they were crawling under the tables and chasing each other around.

The highlight of the day for me and the kids was the hula teacher. When I thought of this idea, I didn't think it would come together so easily. I searched for hula instructor on the wonderful internet and up popped the Pacific Island Dancers in GR. Bethany, our teacher, is actually from the Philippines. She dressed up right down to the tea leaves and taught us two hula dances as well as a little Tahitian. I wasn't so great at Tahitian - but as Shakira says "My hips don't lie." The girls loved Bethany. They had so many questions for her and treated her like a celebrity.

It was fun for sure, but I'm glad my event is over. I was overly concerned about how to keep their attention for so long. I'm sure glad I'm not in charge of the next event....manner school. Now I can move on to the next task at hand - mapping out a vegetable garden for next spring. It's been so warm that I can't help thinking about it.


Patty Ann said...

The luau party sounds like it was incredible. Those girls will never forget that. I hope they remember to send you a Mahalo note.
Have you considered taking lessons in the native dancing for fun?

Linda V said...

Angie, You are going to make a great Brownie leader someday.

Carrie said...

Wow! Great job Ang. I know the girls loved it. It sounds like it was a huge success!

Kim said...

Why teach them manners? As I hear in the press, that's what teachers are supposed to do.

You didn't post the best part of the story--it was at an afterschool center that is co-ed. The boys were super jealous and wanted to participate, too.

Your brain is too full of medical knowledge to remember tiny things like geology!

Gary is working on a home-improvements post (he saved the draft last night) so check soon!

Kim said...

Why teach manners? I hear in the media that teachers are supposed to be doing that.

You didn't post the best part. The afterschool center is co-ed and the boys were super jealous that they didn't get to participate.

Gary is working on a post for our blog about our home improvement project. He saved it as a draft last night. Check soon!

Kim said...

Oops--I;m posting on my lunch hour at work, and clearly when I got the message about my comment not posting, the system was WRONG!! Sorry!