Adventures to libraries, lakes, and beyond!: Casa Week 3

I can’t believe how the past three weeks have flown by; this project has been such a whirlwind! I want to send out a huge thank you to Yolanda, a fellow Mac student, who came to help out this week. With the large number of kids right now in the shelter, her help has been amazing and the kids absolutely adore her.

On Monday we started the week off with a long scrapbook session where the kids both pasted in the new photos from the past week and worked on resilience-based activity pages focusing on their sibling relationships and families. The books are looking pretty cute! We then moved on to an art project in preparation for the day’s excursion to the library: decorating canvas book bags. With our bags in tow, a group of eight and myself trekked over to the closest library to read, play with puzzles, and check out the computers. Even though it was a slightly longer walk than expected, we refueled with ice cream and a play break at a park on the way home.

Another highlight of the week was our trip to Phalen Beach, one of Minnesota’s many lakes. The seven kids floated around the swimming area with their life jackets and played in the sand for a few hours and the moms had some very well deserved time to relax on the beach.

The favorite on-site activity this week was by far the Casa Olympics- a day of relay style games in the backyard. The morning started off with the kids running outside to the sound of ‘Eye of the Tiger’ to find out which team they were on based on the color candy filled water bottles labeled with their names on the picnic table. From there, everyone decorated their team t-shirts and sported ninja style headbands, preparing for the competitions. With a bag filled with prizes and treats, motivation ran high! Even though the two teams eventually morphed into one big group and we decided to get rid of the point aspect, the kids had a blast and a healthy dose of teamwork, competition, and sportsmanship. The afternoon ended with a lunch break and water games to cool off.

On Friday, we had the pleasure of welcoming Chef Josemy back to the Refugio for an afternoon of pizza making.  A group of six kids and one mom crowded around the workstation while Josemy showed everyone how to knead and roll out the dough. The kids then had the chance to make their own individual pizzas topped with mozzarella cheese and sausage. Afterwards, Josemy made a state of the art pizza for the mothers and Casa advocates loaded with chicken sausage, sautéed bell peppers, basil, and cheese. Everyone was very satisfied after eating!

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Check back for our last week’s report!

Sofia Halperin-Goldstein

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