We just arrived back at the hospital from Inzo Arnald Elementary School, an urban school set in a bustling neighborhood full of city sounds and commotion. The school was selected for a visit as it was identified as a school in need and close to the hospital. The moment we pulled in, we heard shrieks of excitement coming from the classroom. Apparently our arrival had been a great distraction and the teachers seemed equally pleased to have something new and different to do a part from their everyday lessons. There were more than 400 children waiting to meet us from kindergartners to 6th graders!
We had never been greeted so warmly in our lives. The kids were so excited to see us. We walked into one classroom and we were greeted by the class standing up and in unison saying, “Good morning Ma’am!” We were there to give a presentation on dental hygiene, specifically tooth brushing. The principal translated for us, emphasizing the two by two rule – “twice a day for two minutes”…. just to make sure it was not a “Charlie Brown school teacher” experience. Each child received a toothbrush, toothpaste and a coloring book that illustrated how to properly brush their teeth. After the demonstration, we were treated like celebrities. The kids swarmed us and asked for our autographs. Now we know what it feels like to be famous! It was so overwhelming to be treated with such respect from the staff and the kids. They seemed genuinely interested and were eager to learn.
We even had time to do an art project with a small group of kindergartners, with art supplies sent by a Mending Faces supporter. The children were shy and a little tentative at first; however, after we gave them glue, glitter, scissors, and markers the shyness disappeared. Great fun was had by all! Our “kindies” seemed to soak up the opportunity to just have fun, and were quite enthusiastic to get “crafty” with the Outreach Team. For us, it was a delightful break from the grind of the OR, where we have been spending 10 hours a day on our feet. We felt so grateful to be able to touch their lives because they definitely touched ours!