At Christmastime, when our kids were little we got a little worried about the fact that they were thinking a whole lot about what they wanted to get for Christmas and not too much about what they wanted to give.
One year, a neighbor who was working with a humanitarian group to build a new elementary school in Bolivia mentioned their desperate need for funds and a new idea was born. Why not have the kids in the neighborhood put on a concert and charge the parents, neighbors and friends to watch them perform with all the proceeds going to help build this little cinderblock school in Bolivia. In those days the entire two-room school could be built for $2000.
We held a meeting with the kids and their parents and the kids were delighted to think that their talents could help build a school for kids their age in Bolivia! The kids practiced, showed up and performed and the parents (some who had more available funds than others) dug deep and with some matching funds we somehow managed to raise $2000 that night! The kids were over the moon!
And so a new tradition was born: The Children for Children Concert which has taken place every year in some form or other for the past 30 years. Now all these years later, our children have taken this good idea and made it even better as they have involved their own friends and neighbors where ever they live, from Arizona to Boston with good causes of their choice.
In Ogden Utah last night, our oldest daughter Saren, her husband Jared and their family organized their 7th Annual Children for Children Concert in a beautiful old church in their neighborhood which has been turned into a Community Center. They filled the church with eager participants and their parents.
Their oldest son Ashton conducted the festivities and oldest daughter Eliza (in the red on the right above) announced the numbers.
First, a short, heart-wrenching video accompanied by the beautiful music of Kurt Bestor, Prayer of the Children was shown to let the audience know that the money this year (as always for them) will go to orphanages in Bulgaria where Saren had worked and served as a missionary many years ago. A foundation called One Heart Bulgaria has now done wonders for the beautiful children in orphanages all over Bulgaria. The light was low and the pictures are pretty grainy but you’ll get the message. They were taken by Saren when she was there, eight months pregnant with twins many years ago.
This year half of the proceeds also go to the I Love Lucy Foundation which is working to create a registry for children with the rare Bardet Biedel Syndrome which our seven-year-old granddaughter Lucy (Shawni and Dave’s daughter) is struggling with.
Family after family came up with clever ways to entertain the audience. From delightful poems to songs and dances as well as lovelyl violin solos. Complete with the usual technical difficulties, the program had the audience was smiling about both the entertainment and the glitches. Everyone was thankful for their coats and scarves as the old radiators in that lovely old building brought the temperature up to almost 50 degrees, a welcome relief from the frigid 10 degrees and freezing smog outside.
The kids had a ball presenting their adorable “acts”! The light was so low that all the following pictures are blurry but it was the best my little iPhone could do under the circumstances!
At the end of the program, all the children leave their parents’ sides to participate in the largest Christmas Pageant Ever! The shepherds and angels go through one door to bedecked, the wise men through the other. Then the narrator tells the simple Christmas story, revised from the Joy School lessons while the kids act it out! It’s quite a site! This year Joseph was about two feet shorter than Mary which created a bit of ripple through the audience! Mary is sitting in the picture below!
These handsome wise men brought their own costumes and treasure boxes for the spices:
And we had the best little three-week-old “Baby Jesus” ever!
Grand tradition and wonderful way to get kids excited about giving and making a difference at Christmas time. Below is a picture of the money that Ashton posted on instagram that the good people in the audience left for the cause. The kids were over the moon!