Blog: Gifts from Landsdowne Out of School Care
Here at the Kottage, there are certain experiences that linger, that show us that we are doing something that makes an impact, that changes lives — and sometimes the lives that are impacted are our own.
It’s always a special privilege to talk to the children who choose to put their time, energy and effort towards helping other children who might need a little extra care. Visiting the classrooms, daycares, and children’s groups that choose to fundraise for Kids Kottage is always a special honour for me, personally.
Two weeks ago, I was the lucky one who got to go out to the Landsdowne Out of School Care. The children there had been fundraising for us over the summer and had used those funds to purchase items from our wishlist. I was tasked with picking up those donations, telling the children a little bit more about what we do at Kids Kottage and how their efforts would help us make a difference, and answering any questions they might have.
I was met by an excited group of school-aged children who patiently listened to me explain what we do at the Kottage and why. They were mostly shocked and concerned with the idea that in some houses, there isn’t enough food for children to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and those are some of the families we help.
Their questions ranged from the silly – what happens if there is a child stranded on a deserted island filled with quicksand without their mother or father – to the heartbreaking – what if a child has no mom or dad or grandma or grandpa and their closest relative lives across the world? Who takes care of that child then? I answered questions about what we do if a child is too scared to sleep alone at the Kottage, if we ensure we supply them with enough teddy bears, who takes care of children who have absolutely no one, and what a ‘foster family’ means. I took my best guess at how long it would take the coast guard to rescue a child stranded on a deserted island.
But most of all, I realized that the concerns of those children reflect the concerns of all children. It’s a universal thing – all children worry about what will happen if their caregivers weren’t able to care for them anymore, what would happen if they were alone and scared and had no one to tuck them in? Who would give them teddy bears and bedtime stories if their parents were suddenly unable to? Who would make sure they were taken care of if the worst happened and they were suddenly alone?
The difference is, for the children we see at the Kottage, in some cases, the worst has already happened. Home isn’t safe and now they’re in a scary new place, and it’s our job here at the Kottage to make sure they have their teddy bears, their meals and their snacks, their bath times and bedtime stories, to rock them to sleep, and to answer all their questions about when their mom or dad or grandma or grandpa or caregiver is coming back to take them home.
It’s a huge responsibility.
But one thing I know for sure is that it’s a lot easier to take on that responsibility after a group of compassionate, energetic, and amazing kids comes together to carefully wrap up their donations of bath towels, wash cloths, no-tears shampoo, toothpaste, hair brushes and detangler like gifts, plastered in cards of encouragement, for me to take back to the kids at the Kottage.
For us, donations like that truly are a gift – almost as valuable as the perspective I gained from getting to spend a little while talking with that amazing group of kids.
Thank you so much, Landsdowne Out of School Care.