Todays 2017 update is written by Team leader Nam. Enjoy;
Carmela's Home is forever the heart of mine. It is not only because I was in charge of this home since the first months I became a GIBTKer, but also because the kids here are a part of me. Carmela's Home was named after Dorothea's mother, whose legacy is far more beyond her living life. When we first opened this home in 2012, we aimed to transform unfortunate children under eighteen through education, nutrition, medical care and especially love. Throughout the years, the kids grew up with a lot of love and care from donors, staff, the house mothers and from themselves to each other as a family.
This year has seen a lot of changes in the home.
The boys from the former Hai Chau Home and Mary's Home were moved here with our purpose to make this house only for boys in the next couple years. Currently, there are five girls still living here as they are in high schools and are going to be transferred to Lighthouse soon. This significant change makes the home new, with both opportunities and challenges for us.
Living in Carmela's home, the children have great opportunities to continue their general education. Last school year, there was one student in level A, six in level B, four in level C and one in level D. Every year, we encourage the kids to complete their schooling curriculum to their best capacity and efforts. I still remember how stressful they are when the exam time is coming as well as the stress-releasing feelings when summer is on the way. That is such a student's life!
And to them, summer is their happiest time of the year. It is the time of no school but a lot of entertaining activities, no pressure but relaxation.
This year's summer vacation is unforgettable with many guests visiting their house. Their Daddy Robert, the donors and foreign teenagers came and played with them, seting up an interesting drawing day with other homes. They went swimming in the pool and the beach. They were able to go to an entertaining centre for playing bowling and ice skating. There was also a three-day basketball camp where they got together with other members from other homes and practiced the sport.
Learning English is easier when Hannah and Quinn, the two foreign friends, were with them for about two months. There were also many other guests coming during the year including Karla, uncle John Stockham, uncle Victor, Larry and his wife. Each visit remains in their mind with the love and care from others to them.
With the hope of equipping the kids with enough skills for their life, we hold a life skills class every week where they learn something out of the school curriculum. The kids are excited with such lessons on life as how to make their bed and arrange their clothes, how to schedule time for studying, how to manage time and set goals. Furthermore, those in high school are doing career guidance with our staff so that we can help them choose the best major suitable with their strengths and interests.
The boys living together is a new way of raising these kids, but there are also some challenges that we face and deal with everyday. Directing these teenagers to be on track with GIBTK's expectations is what we are working on. Each time we learn a new way to help them better, we apply them to see the results. I usually call this learning back from the kids, the mutual learning. The kids learn from us and we also learn from them each time we lead them into our direction.
Setting goals for the next year for each kid to reach, we hope each boy will make good progress in changing their need-to-improve behavior. Each kid makes progress in their studying awareness and school results. And, those who are in grade 12 pass the high school graduation test and find a major to study in university and college.
To me, it is never an easy job to work with these kids. They are changeable, sometimes nice, obedient, other times misbehaving. But, kids are just kids, they are the childhood that everyone experienced. When we believe in this, they are not our job, they are our life.
Giving It Back To Kids