The Little Hand That Gave
The world is a huge place that many children live in. As Child and Youth Workers, we expect nothing in return from them, as they are our future and it is our responsibility to nurture them. As a Child and Youth Worker myself, I work with many children and I see the importance of influential role models in their lives to assist them in becoming character models themselves. It never ceases to amaze me when a lesson that a child has learned is paid forward right in front of my eyes.
I work as a Family Support Worker at a drop in Centre in downtown Ottawa which serves women and children who are in poverty, at risk of becoming homeless or are homeless. In my first week I was introduced to a shy, intelligent, happy little girl, who unintentionally stole my heart.
This little girl would always want to go to the playroom to engage in imaginative play. She enjoyed doing arts and crafts, learning different hand rhymes and dances from her friends. I have watched this little girl grow and flourish over the past two years; and more recently I was able to experience at first hand the kindness that she possesses and will unquestionably carry with her through her lifetime.
Every year her school sells chocolate bars in order to raise money to help with various programs. Last year she was able to sell so much chocolate that she won First Prize (a boom box) and outsold the whole school! What a little entrepreneur! This year she set a goal for herself: to outsell the amount of chocolate that she sold the previous year. This, of course, would require a lot of work and a lot of convincing people that they needed chocolate! After a visit from her (and one chocolate bar later) I asked her why she did this, wondering why she felt that she had to do so much; she was only required to sell three boxes and was already on her 18th box. She simply smiled and explained that she did it because she wanted to help her school. I was amazed at how humble she was with her answer. A few months later she indeed turned out to be the top seller at her school and had beaten her old sales record.
A month went by and during this time there wasn’t really any mention of the chocolate bar accomplishment. She simply went on being a child, doing crafts, dancing to music and learning new hand rhymes. Then one night during homework club she came to see me in the office. I turned towards her and she handed me an envelope. “What’s this” I asked. “Just open it”, was her answer. In the envelope was fifty dollars. I asked her what the money was for and she explained that because she had sold so many chocolate bars her school let her keep fifty dollars. Fifty dollars, is a lot of money to a little girl, but she went on to explain that she wanted to donate it to the homework club, to help buy fruits and vegetables for the children that attended. “Wow!” was the first thought that came to my mind, “what an amazing child”. She refused to keep the money for herself so with some reluctance I took it and thanked her for her generosity. Now every time I do groceries for homework club I make it a priority to buy fruits and vegetables.
To this day I still cannot believe the humanity that this child possesses. How, when this child is so disadvantaged, could she be so selfless with something that she worked hard for?
It was the day that her little hands gave in such a kind way, that I realized I was no longer looking at a little girl, but rather a child who possessed the capability to overcome the many barriers in her life and pay forward a lesson learned right in front of my eyes.
Sakki, K. The Little Hand that Gave. Relational Child & Youth Care Practice, vol.20 no.1. page 72