Why? Why would someone travel thousands of miles, at personal expense, to spend a week in the heat doing work that can be back-breaking and unglamorous, all to build a playground for children whom they do not know? Well, for the volunteers that are here, that question has been answered as the playground was dedicated today and the girls from the Hogar (Home) De Niñas La Granja flooded the new playground that will touch their lives for many years to come. Some had tears (I am referring to the volunteers who finally got to experience the culmination of their hard work). Others rode swings with the girls, slid down slides that were only dirt patches mere days ago, or lifted beautiful smiling faces onto colorful new playground equipment.
However, that does not answer to the question: Why? Why would the MDRT Foundation invest in a project like playgrounds when there are certainly more pressing world issues like food and water, clothing and education. We tend to overlook what it truly means to help others. In order to truly impact a life in need you have to feed mind, body and spirit. While there are organizations here that assist with the mind (education) and body (food), what happens when you do not address the spirit? A child may grow physically strong and mentally strong, but a childhood that does not allow for any fun, for the chance for a kid to simply be a kid, what kind of adult does that produce? It is for that reason that the MDRT Foundation and its funding partners, The Hancock Group and Prudential have joined with Kids Around the World to feed the spirit of young people. To provide a safe place for them to play; for them to “simply be a kid.” During our trip we also provided for “support” in some of the other keys areas. With assistance from our friends at LifeQuest World Fund, we were able to supply many needed items that the Hogar had on a “wish list”. Computer equipment for strong minds, appliances to help prepare nutritious meals, shoes (donated from our friends at Soles for Souls) and even games to help develop healthy imaginations.
Today, as we gather around the playground for a final group picture, it is time for us to say “adios”. Not only to the girls who have touched our lives forever, but to our team, MDRT members, family members and industry friends…people who we have come to know well over the week as we sweated and toiled together to create this beautiful playground. We know we will see each other again…we can only hope that we can be blessed to see these special children again.
Truth be told, tomorrow, nobody here is likely to remember who I am…who any of us are. However, we will know. Whenever we feel like our lives are not what they should be, we will remember today and these beautiful, happy little girls and know that our problems pale in significance. Yes, we will know.
The MDRT Foundation applauds the efforts of the Chile playground volunteers and its’ supporters whose efforts created a lasting legacy of hope. You can become an agent of change by supporting the MDRT Foundation in 2011 in the following ways:
-Volunteer for the Liverpool playground build (March 26-31, 2011). E-mail email@example.com if you are interested in volunteering.
-Participate in the Soles4Souls shoe drive and benefit concert at the MDRT Annual Meeting (June 5-8, 2011) in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information visit, http://www.mdrt.org/2011am/soles4souls.asp
-Make a gift online to support the MDRT Foundation’s global grant programs: www.mdrtfoundation.org