Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Literacy Lab Winter Fun

Gingerbread men, snowman bookmarks, and holiday cards! The Literacy Lab Committee had a great time working on these crafts with the kids at the DC General homeless shelter during our winter holiday celebration.  The event was held in mid-December and focused on reading as well as holiday fun.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Literacy Lab Committee, we partner with the non-profit organization, The Literacy Lab, to assist with an early childhood literacy program for young children in two DC area homeless shelters.  The program is called Ready to Read and focuses on helping young children develop and practice early literacy skills.  During a typical session, JLW volunteers spend time reading, writing, and playing educational games with the children. When the committee began in 2012, we worked with kids in the DC General homeless shelter on Saturday mornings.  The program has since expanded and now the committee provides volunteers for Wednesday evening sessions at DC General as well as Saturday morning sessions at the New Beginnings shelter in Columbia Heights.

Our December holiday party gave the committee members and the children an opportunity to celebrate the season and participate in activities that we don't do during our regular weekly sessions. The most active part of the evening involved three craft projects.  With the help of JLW volunteers, each child had the opportunity to make and decorate a snowman bookmark, frost a gingerbread man cookie and make a holiday card for their family.  When the crafts were done, we read a holiday story and sang a few rounds of Christmas carols. Frosty the Snowman and Jingle Bells were particular favorites.  At the end of the party, each child had an opportunity to pick out books of their very own to take home with them.
The entire evening was gratifying and fun, and it was great to watch the kids carefully pick out their books and make their crafts. We're all looking forward to the next holiday event in February!

Friday, January 16, 2015

How the JLW Got ‘Kids in the Kitchen’

On Saturday, January 10 the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) Community Events Planning
Committee held the first of two Kids in the Kitchen events for 2015. Over 100 DC-area children
– more than double last year’s attendance – visited the Children’s National Medical Center’s
Washington National Diabetes Care Complex for a day of energetic exercise, wholesome
cooking lessons, fun activities, and crafts.
 Highlights of the day included Zumba, which got kids on their feet for some moving and 
shaking. Cooking lessons with local chefs let kids put on their chef’s hats for the day: Black Restaurant Group showed them how to prepare delicious but healthful quesadillas, and
Lindamood-Bell helped kids make tasty fruit and yogurt snacks.

One of the biggest hits of the day was the Build-a-Bug activity: FRESHFARM Markets brought
fresh fruits and veggies for guests to decorate like caterpillars, puppy dogs, and scary monsters –
a souvenir to remind kids that healthy foods can be fun.

Kids also had the opportunity to get creative and hands on, making pasta necklaces with
children’s author Joy Papini, getting their faces painted by talented JLW volunteers, and sampling banana bread from the chefs at the Mayflower Hotel. Other activities taught kids how to “dress up” water to get your 8 glasses a day, and how to make smart decisions about food –
“eat this, not that.”

Thanks to all of our wonderful guests, generous sponsors, and welcoming host, the Children’s
National Medical Center, for helping make Kids in the Kitchen the success that it was. And a big
thank you to our nearly 70 JLW volunteers who braved the cold weather to provide more than
240 volunteer hours in service of this great event.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bright Beginnings 5K, Register now!

Put your feet in motion at the Bright Beginnings 5K on March 7, 2015, for homeless children and families in DC.

Run, walk, join stroller brigade, or be a virtual runner!

All proceeds from the 5K directly support Bright Beginnings’ programming that prepares young children for kindergarten and helps their families get back on their feet.

Get registered now (here)! Prices go up on January 15!

Can’t make it on race day? You can still help by making a donation (here) to Bright Beginnings.