Finger Painting Their Future
During the Fifth Annual VBF Foundation Dinner earlier this month, attendees were offered the opportunity to receive Little Heart Love Banks for a $25 donation. These banks were finger-painted by our children in the home and were accompanied by beautiful pictures attached of all the children and of a child finger-painting the box. Many of the children pictured were new to the attendees; since the beginning of 2017, our Little Hearts Home in Haiti has tripled its occupancy, from four children to eleven.
While announcing the project, our Director, Widza Bryant, shared that this was the first time that these children, who range in age from 6 months old to six years old, had ever experienced finger-painting. This caused so many jaws to drop. Many of the sponsors attending have children. One of the first play activities, we teach our toddlers is to finger-paint. I have many finger-painted creations that my daughter made, both at home and at daycare. Some of them hang on our Christmas tree every year. So much of the joy of this activity is watching a child discover the texture of the paint on their hands, see which colors they are drawn to, and what kinds of shapes they like to draw.
Cedric Bryant and Ron Corey, two of the foundation’s board, were in Haiti and witnessed the project firsthand. They were not prepared for the experience. Ron Corey said, “I thought it would be easy, but it wasn’t.” He said that once they had the paint on their hands, "they didn’t know what to do". Cedric Bryant recalled, “when they first touched the paint, they would just stare at their hands. It was totally foreign to them.” The staff had to take the children’s hands and place them on the banks to show them what to do. And trying to get new paint on their hands was especially difficult, as you had to hold both their hands, to keep them from touching their faces and hair, and try to hold the paint too. But they believed that by the end the children were having fun finger-painting.
When we think of the poverty that surrounds their lives, we think of the scarcity of food, the lack of clean drinking water, the minimal health care available. But hearing the story drove home that their poverty goes far beyond that. It includes the basic developmental and creativity skills that we teach our little ones. The mission of the foundation is to “encourage each child with special needs to feel worthwhile, wanted and loved.” Helping them learn the joy of such simple activities does exactly that. They can take pride in what they create. They feel the love our staff as they hold and help them.
Ultimately, the goal for the foundation was not to have people simply purchase a bank. Attendees were challenged to put the box in a prominent place in their home and to pray for our children and the Little Hearts Home every time they see it. They were encouraged to fill the empty box with their loose change. And when the box is full, to empty it and write a donation in that amount to VBF. The end goal is that when the box is empty, people will fill it; and when the box is full, they will empty it out to love on our children.
Loose change often has little worth to us, but it can have immense value to the children.