The girls show up every day at our doorstep after school They want something to do, and I'm not always available to "come out and play." If I'm able we borrow a church meeting room, spread Christmas wrapping paper (upside down) onto the Sunday School tables, and get out the supplies. We've rolled polymer clay into beads, pressed it into molds, poked holes for the chain, and baked it in a little toaster oven. We've made serveral little shapes. I discovered you have to very clear on the instructions.
One girl took her piece home thinking it wasn't baked enough, she put it in the microwave (oops!). These neighborhood kids are 6, 7, and 8. Some are cousins, mostly neighbors. They are all either from Mexico or their parents are. The moms have babies at home, the dads are working or looking for work, one mom is in college. They are already used to coming to the church for an outreach one night a week, so our trailer in the back of the church is a novelty for them.
We've set Monday afternoons for crafts now. This week we made bracelets. I found 50 thin silver looking bangles that were on sale for 1.50. I pulled out a bag of scrap yarn, and good old elmers glue. We cut lengths of yarn, watered down the glue into paper plates, soaked the yarn, wrapped the bangles, and walla, (things dry almost immediately here) foo-foo bracelets. They each were able to make several, (one six year old boy Ricardo made several too). We also have made yarn covered popcicle stick picture frames, same concept, glue, yarn, sticks, then lash the four sticks together to make a picture frame.
This craft time has allowed me time to get to know these kids, and has built a good relationship in the neighborhood. It is difficult to reach out to a culture that is trying to make it within another established culture...building trust is key.
Ayla, Martita, Vanessa, and Ricardo will check every day to see if I can "come out and play?" On the days that I can - I will!!