We started small with some donations and a games day where our staff got the chance to interact with the kids at the shelter. It was so meaningful to our staff and that was the start of a relationship between Vitality and some very, very special children.
Gradually we learnt what worked and what didn’t and we put together a formula that allowed our staff to bring their families along and “adopt” a Kids Haven child for various outings. Sometimes it felt like we were hardly making an impact – how do you take 20 kids on a special outing, but leave the other 180? How do you make them feel special without over doing it? How do you incorporate them into your family then take them back to KH again?
There have been some close bonds that have formed over the past few years – an extra special one for me personally has been with Richard and Storm. My family has become very fond of them and we have shared some special moments with them.
One of the reasons for our successful collaboration has been the way that Kids Haven has received us and accommodated our (many!) requests. You have been so willing to do whatever we need. From writing countless thank you letters for individual donations, to attending planning sessions, to getting quotations, etc. We all are incredibly impressed by the efficient and organized way in which Kids Haven is managed. There are not many places out there that run as smoothly as you do. Your honesty, integrity and transparency has been phenomenal, but the main thing for us is how well adjusted and happy the kids are. THEY love Kids Haven, which tells us that they are getting the necessary love and care from your staff. We have seen your passion and commitment to children who have been through so much and we admire the work that Kids Haven does.
For me personally, it is really difficult to say goodbye. It’s hard to explain how much this relationship has meant to me. It’s so rewarding to see familiar faces light up when they see us coming for a visit and I remember once dropping off one of the kids and a whole bunch of children came running to the gate shouting “Discoveryyyyyyy”. Hearing the stories of what the kids have been through and seeing how “normal” they behave has made us realize just how good of a job you guys are doing. Thank you for the sacrifices all of you make to enable you to give kids with no hope new dreams and possibilities. I LOVE Kids Haven and I will be following you on Facebook to see what you’re up to.
Keep doing what you’re doing – it’s working!!!”
Lee-Anne Stuart – Discovery Vitality
On the 24th of August 2013 at 12:30pm, 3 Alice Lane was filled with Discovery volunteers and their families ready to meet their Kids Haven child that they would spend the day with. The children arrived on time; shy at first, but quite obviously from the smiles on their faces, very eager to meet their host family. Each child was allocated to their family, and each family given a R50 voucher for their child. Once the meet and greet was done, we all headed off to Sandton City for lunch and shopping!
Albeit the time pressure, as pointed out in the survey results, all the families managed to enjoy a quick and filling lunch at the restaurant of their choice, and enjoyed a shopping spree with their child. We all managed to arrive back to Alice Lane on time to get on the bus and head off to the Wits Planetarium.
Once at the Planetarium, we eagerly awaited our tickets. The reception was choc-a-block with lots of people eager to learn more about the solar system, the planets and stars. Although the queue was rather long, it being month end, we retrieved the tickets for the families and their child and entered the Planetarium doors in time.
The show was very educational and entertaining. It was rather high-level for the kiddies, who were a bit restless, but the teenagers and adults learnt a lot about light years, star constellations, the moon, and the main characteristics of the different planets in the universe. We all learned something new and very interesting.
We all got back on the buses on time, bidding a sad farewell to the children, but happy for the opportunity to have shared a very special experience with each of them.