Bruce Barone has written a short story about an experience we had on Saturday at Mittineague Park. I am sharing it here with you and hope you enjoy it. I have also included a poem Bruce Barone has recently written about Bridges Together.
On Saturday, Susan and I, and Freddy, ran into these two angels at the park down the street from where we live–Mittineague Park.
They are cousins and they were at the park with their family celebrating their grandfather’s 70th birthday. There were lots of people, adults and children of every age. One man was overseeing the grill and wonderful aromas were wafting throughout the air. And, women were sitting on the picnic tables preparing foods.
The girl on the left was in one of the past 3rd grade classes where we volunteer every Tuesday—reading, talking, laughing, creating art. When she saw us, she ran over and gave us a big hug! That is how wonderful this volunteer program, Bridges Together, is; it benefits both the children and the volunteers.
She asked if she could introduce her grandfather to us. “Of course”, we said. He came toward us, with a great big smile. He said, with pride, one granddaughter was his daughter’s daughter and the other was his son’s daughter. The large extended family has immigrated to the United States from Moldova.
Later in the day, I went back to the park and gave the girls and the grandfather each a 4×6 print of this photo—–and they gave me a big plate of food (chicken, beef and lamb kebabs, salad, home-made bread) to take home!
Here is the poem Bruce Barone wrote recently about our volunteer experience.
What A Wonderful World
This is an account of children, third grade students, of Coburn Elementary School
Located in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Children who are 8-10 years old
Interacting with senior citizens—building bridges together by talking, reading,
Listening, creating art, laughing, sharing pieces of ourselves.
Many children of refugees and immigrants. Children of dreamers
Of a better way of life. Children of parents and grandparents
From Nepal, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Russia, Puerto Rico,
Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Latvia, Belarus, Germany,
Poland, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Moldova.
Children who speak two, three, four languages.
Children named Maimuna, Luis, Jayden, Ivy, Haydia, Nabaa,
Evan, Luca, Layla, Bogdan, Isabella, Victoria, Mohamed,
Prashna, Prashik, Prateemna, Prabesh, Jaylin, Tisha, Milana,
Emily, Jordan, Miyana, Joseph, Yuliya, Matilda, Lilly, Emil,
Michael, Kimberly, Yariana, Elijah, Hailey, David, Caleb,
Matthew, Emil, Yariana, Mykle, Jade, Mihaela.
Children who dream of being firefighters, lawyers, baseball players,
Basketball and soccer players, doctors, nurses, scientists, teachers.
Children who say, “You are the best Bridges friends ever.”
“Thank You for listening and talking with me.”
“Thank you for doing the Macarena with me.”
“Thank You for playing cards with me.”
“Thank You for making me laugh.”
“Thank You for helping me. You were funny, helpful and supportive.”
“Thank You for your company and helping us with our art projects.”
“I am grateful you spent time with us.”
“Thank You for your time. Remember when we made the banks?
That was so much fun! Hope we can do it again.”
“Thank you for being here when I am down. You get me
Up and going. You make me happy.”
“Thank you for helping us with the fun stuff we made.”
“I love you. You will always be in my heart.”
Our Bridges friends: Children who believe the world is wonderful
“Because Nature is a painting by life;”
“Because there are lots of beautiful things and happy families;”
“Because there are computers, cats, people, food, pets,
Family, friends, water, emogees, sunflowers, rainbows,
Waterfalls, forests, and cookies;”
“Because we have families, food, and trees;”
“Because we see different people every day and they are beautiful;”
“Because of family, friends, cousins, aunts, uncles,
Grandparents and food and drinks;”
“Because of many beautiful faces;”
“Because everyone loves each other. We all are family;”
“Because of flowers, grass, trees, animals, people, religions;”
“Because of friends and family and my teachers;”
“Because of every person in the world smiling and laughing;”
“Because the roses are red, the clouds white, the sky blue.
They are there for me and you.
What a wonderful world.”
“Mr. Bruce and Miss Susan………
When will we see you again?
I love you.”