Two groups of freshmen students from GSU gathered at Our House to volunteer with their pre-school program in October. Our House holistically works with families to break the chain of homelessness by providing quality early childhood education and comprehensive support services for families who are experiencing homelessness.
Paint Love doesn't typically worked with children this young, so we had to branch out to find an age-appropriate craft project for their students. The teachers at Our House told us the kids had been vehemently wanting to decorate pumpkins, so for the first event, our team traversed the metro-Atlanta area to get enough mini-pumpkins donated so that each child could have their own to paint.
The pumpkin project was a big hit for the kids and the GSU students alike. Working with larger groups of volunteers, like the GSU students, provides us the rare and wonderful opportunity to have a one-on-one ratio between adults and kids. With their little arms wrapped around their GSU buddy, or sitting in their laps, the children light up as their pumpkins (and their fingers!) slowly become covered with layers of paint, glitter, gems, and stickers. After completing their pumpkins, the students decorated colorful super-hero style masks and ran through the playground chasing their new friends.
For the second event, the GSU freshmen took control of the project planning and their class donated all of the supplies for the kids at Our House to decorate their own cookies. Of course, edible crafts are always a favorite. After decorating (and eating!) their projects, the GSU students helped the pre schoolers trace their outlines on giant rolled out craft paper in power poses and the kids decorated their creative poses and talked about what makes them feel strong.
After running off their sugar-highs on the play ground and giving seemingly endless piggy back rides, the GSU volunteers helped Our House move and sort children's Halloween costumes donated for their annual Halloween party and parade. Each child is given a free Halloween costume that they wouldn't have otherwise been able to afford.