Written by Alexandra Carelli / Photos by Jonathan Katzenberg
There are some things that put a huge smile on a kid’s face, regardless of country, age, or economic status. And Friday, smiles were certainly seen on each and every child’s face in Playa Potrero. In an effort to give the kids a little something special before their week-long break for Semana Santa, Abriendo Mentes organized an “Easter” event with plenty of candy, small gifts, and pick-up soccer.
The afternoon kicked off with a classic Easter Egg hunt, something the kids of Potrero have never experienced. (Semana Santa – one of the biggest Latin American Holidays of the year – falls at the same time as Easter, but the two Holidays are celebrated in completely different ways). Meradith and a few volunteers hid eggs all over the plaza, while Drew, Jonathan and I entertained the eager participants in the Kid’s Club. When Meradith gave the signal, the kids burst onto the plaza and scrambled through the grass searching for the colorful, fun-filled eggs. I was helping one of the younger kids, Esteven, with this search, and considering we were in an open field those eggs were pretty tough to find! The Hunt lasted about 30 minutes, and by the end each kid had collected enough jelly beans, chocolate, stickers, and bracelets to fully understand the beauty of the “Easter Bunny”.
After the Egg Hunt was over, kids and volunteers alike assembled on the field for a pick-up soccer game. The game went strong for well over an hour, with Javier and Steven scoring goal after goal while Jessie, an AM volunteer, tried to fend them off through brute height alone. But the kids brought their skills – and endurance – to the table, and volunteer after volunteer fell to the wayside as the game went on, and on, and on. Alas, the kids were having an absolute blast, and the AM volunteers got to show off some of their skills too!
As a new volunteer to the AM scene, the event was a perfect opportunity to meet tons of AM students, and it was a great forum to start making a meaningful community connection. It also helped me see that AM is not only a school, it is a community building project that takes advantage of every opportunity to provide a positive outlet for kids to exist and express themselves. I couldn’t think of a more fun and satisfying way to accomplish all of these tasks!