Many years ago, we decided that it was time for our children who mostly resided in a “bubble” of prosperity and well-being, to start thinking more about “giving” at Christmas instead of thinking so much about “getting”.
Somehow we came up with the idea of having a “Children for Children Concert”. Every Christmas after that our children invited their friends in the neighborhood and from school to come up with some kind of “talent” to perform for an audience who were mostly parents and grandparents. After the concert the adults were encouraged to pay for the concert by contributing what they could to a humanitarian project.
Our first concert when our kids were small helped earned enough money to build a simple cinderblock school in Bolivia. It was always fun to hear the kids perform….everything from a six-year old performing a simple piano Christmas song, to siblings actually singing together without fighting (although I imagine it could have taken some squabbles during practice time). One child would show her art and another might recite a poem. The point was for the children to take the time to be able to perform well so that they could raise some money for a good cause. It was so much fun for the kids to feel the kids’ urgency to do their best so they could earn money for children who urgently needed something that they often took for granted.
As the years have passed, several of our kids have included a concert in their Christmas traditions. They have, in fact taken a good idea and made it better! The Shumway kids in Boston have had so much fun including their friends in raising money for good causes, This year they sent three websites of wonderful humanitarian groups that needed help and encouraged the parents to look at the sites with their kids and have the kids vote on which one they wanted to help with their funds from the concert. Mabuhay Deseret Foundation won. This is an amazing organization that provides free surgeries for kids with cleft pallets and cataracts among other things that would otherwise leave them maimed for life. Last year the Pothier kids and their friends had a terrific concert. Their house was filled to capacity for the Children for Children Concert to raise money for The Foundation Fighting Blindness that helps so much with research for their little Lucy’s sight issues.
This year our Loosli family took this idea to new high as the lovely old church a block away from their house had just been converted to a community center which meant that they could invite a crowd a lot bigger than their living room would hold!
The caretakers opened their doors with open arms for this good cause and almost 200 people filled the pews in a beautiful chapel for the event. It was spectacular!
Saren introduced their fifth annual concert by explaining “the cause” which was to support orphans in Bulgaria where she served as a missionary many years ago. She has since gone back to Bulgaria with Deborah Dushku who helped start an organization called One Heart Bulgaria that has been supporting orphanages there for about ten years. The last time Saren went back, she was 7 1/2 months pregnant with her twins. She showed a three minute video of the beautiful children in the orphanages that she saw there. The heart-wrenching video was accompanied by a recording of Kurt Bestor singing “The Prayer of the Children. As always, a tear jerker! See the video on Saren’s blog post: http://looslifamily.blogspot.com/2011/12/children-for-children-concert.html
On with the show! Saren and Jared’s oldest son, Ashton ran the program and did a fabulous job of announcing the numbers and letting the next family know when they were “on deck”!
These siblings did a terrific job of singing, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer!” Lots of laughs!
Teenagers even got involved including a remarkable young man who announced that he was half Bulgarian and proceeded to skillfully play a difficult classical piece on portable keyboard. These four girls were adorable! (Notice Ashton getting ready to announce the next number there at the right.)
After about twenty short numbers, all the kids participated in a nativity scene to die for!
This is Joseph (Isaac) making sure that every shepherd got a chance to see the Baby Jesus:
What an amazing group of children who, with the support of their generous parents will really make a difference in the support of little orphans in Bulgaria at this magical time of year!
Afterward this box was placed in the large room for refreshments downstairs (filled with cookies and treats supplied by the parents) where the the audience could contribute.
THE KIDS MADE just over $1600! It will be matched by the Eyrealm Foundation so altogether they will contribute $3200 to One Heart Bulgaria! It takes about $1500 dollars to sponsor an orphanage for a year which includes being able to feed the kids fruit and vegetables instead of just gruel three times a day! Among other things, it also provides educational materials for the kids and heat and electricity for the school. One remote orphanage that has never had a sponsor will be the recipient of half of the money and the other half will go to another needy orphanage!
Kudos to Saren who was the power behind the kids to get this organized (although I did receive two emails from Ashton giving me instructions and directions). In additions to hundreds of details, she somehow either costumed, or had kids bring their own costumes, for literally a mob of kids! What a joy to see this “new age” Children for Children Concert on Steroids. And how lovely it was not to be in charge!