March 11, 2022 – The kiddies at Casa Chirilagua were a little sleepy yesterday during our “Fun Friday” time with them, so they wrote a song about sleep. Why not? Meet them where they are, right? They sung to the tune of “I like to Eat Apples and Bananas” and you have to admit, it doesn’t get much more adorable. Actually, only one of the three groups of kiddies was sleepy. The other kids learned “Shake the Papaya Down.” and sang “We Don’t Talk about Bruno” (aren’t we all singing that?) Our older kids also learned how to draw treble clef and bass clef. Shoutout to our highly professional and fast-thinking singing teacher, Bharati Soman, who knew just what to do with this sleepy little crowd!
Acting is an art unto its own, and so many life skills come from it. First, just getting over the terror of performing in front of an audience – even if the audience is your classmates – brings a new confidence. Our 7-time Emmy winning Mike Baker, a professional actor and producer (and so much more!) coached the best performances from our Friends of Guest House clients in January 2022. He showed them the tricks of the trade – breath, pacing, key word emphasis. Listen to our newest potential Oscar winner here.
March 10, 2022 – Sometimes magic happens when you put paper to pen. Our partner Together We Bake knows that more than anyone, and we love being part of their training program! In fact, they were the first organization we reached out to as a potential partner when Heard began in 2017 (their fabulous chocolate chips cookies may have had something to do with it)! Every semester they include a writing class into their training program and we were happy to help! Today our Heard professor Betsy Allen (yes, Betsy is a professor at George Mason University, holds a master’s degree in creative fiction) led us through a journaling class. Armed with the new notebooks that we always provide, we wrote about what we learned last year, our goals for this year, and what our ideal career would be five years from now (mine is running Heard). It’s amazing what comes out of your brain and onto a blank page. I had a major “aha” moment and once again realized that writing really is cheaper than therapy.
Don’t you love when the student is the teacher? We had so much fun with Space of Her Own, a local nonprofit exclusively created to support fifth grade girls. Over the course of a few weeks in February and March 2022, the girls learned that good manners can make a difference! They may help her land that job one day, or make a great first impression. We ended our series with lessons on table manners, and Space of Her Own was amazing enough to provide a fabulous dinner of chicken, warm potato salad, veggies, and cake.
Before dinner the girls reviewed what they learned. Yes, they had practiced setting the table at home (to the delight of some very happy parents) and even taught their mentors a thing or two. (Fork tines down, not up, when you are finished). Huge shoutout to our etiquette teacher, Fannie Allen, of The Allen Protocol and Leadership Institute, for showing these girls these critical life skills.
We’re always up for something new, and this time we took on creative writing for our “Fun Fridays” program with the kids atCasa Chirilagua. Our Solveig Eggerz took on the challenge of creating and sharing a story for 24 kids (grades 1-3 for 40 minutes, then grades 4-5 for 40 minutes). Ever the (many times published) writer, Solveig created “Maisie the Frog” based on the Grimms’ Fairy Tales “The Three Feathers.” The kids listened, discussed, acted, shared, and ultimately wrote about Maisie in their Heard notebooks. Not a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon!