For our Building Family Dreams December activity, we had a fantastic Christmas party! We kicked off the day by seeing Ralph Breaks the Internet, which was the first time for most of our members to see a movie in the theater. Then, we jumped in the vans to go to Horizon Botanic Gardens for a nice afternoon in nature. The kids ran around exploring the park, climbing rocks, and seeing the animals in the mini zoo while we set up the room for our evening activities.
We had rented a meeting room for our dinner and the staff had decorated it for Christmas for us. Before dinner, we sang Christmas songs in Lahu, Thai and even English, Ka'ren and Hmong (the tribal languages of Heather, Butsaba and Jay). Some of the moms sang some special Lahu songs, the kids did a dance, and Heather and her foster son sang a song. Then, it was time for dinner! We had a buffet for dinner with lots of delicious Thai food and fruit. After we stuffed ourselves silly, of course we had presents. We did a white elephant gift exchange between the families, followed by gifts for the kids and families and then some surprise gifts for the Jojo's team.
Finally, he village chief did a short sermon about the meaning of Christmas and helped us remember why we celebrate each year. Other members of the village leadership team gave short speeches as well about how much they loved being part of our program and all the ways in which their families have developed since they started in March. We were so happy to hear this, because sometimes it's hard for us to be objective about the work we do and know whether we are making a real difference. Hearing from the families gave our team encouragement that what we are doing with Building Family Dreams is valuable to communities.
It was a great evening for all and we are so excited to see what 2019 holds for us!
If you would like to sponsor this program for these families and other communities to come, you can donate here: www.Give4JojosSanctuary.com