Green Gift Day

2013-12-07

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Green Gift Day December 2013

Pretoria Green Gift Day

By Stuart Martin

The concept of the Green Gift Day has always been at the back of Noeksie’s mind as it really encompasses the full range of the SOAPkidz mission when working with the children. That being, teaching the children: “respect for yourself, respect for others and respect for the environment”.

The plan has always been to also attract companies and individuals to take part in this worthwhile activity as part of their Christmas celebrations/activities. Many companies contribute money to children’s homes and orphanages; however Noeksie believes we can all do something more significant by also donating our time to be with the children, learning alongside them as well as teaching them in the process. This is a very fulfilling experience and one makes a difference to the children’s lives whilst looking after our planet. It is also a lot of fun and the volunteers enjoy doing something worthwhile!

After lots of hours of volunteer training and preparation for activities by cleaning, sorting and packaging recyclable goodies for each activity, the SOAPkidz team was ready for action. As is always the case, planning, took much longer than anticipated and the marketing campaign started too late in the year. This only left Noeksie with the choice to run the event as a SOAPkidz event without sponsorship and still achieve the final aim of making a difference to the children’s lives as well as to the environment as a whole.

A group of Mamelodi drop-off centres and children’s homes had shown interest in the event but could not afford to contribute towards food so a plan was hatched to feed the 80 children and make sure the event went ahead. Many loaves of bread and bananas later that was also under control!

Saturday came and all the volunteers were ready for action and we loaded the vehicles and went to the Pretoria Botanical Gardens. All the gazebos were set up and the volunteers were briefed on the day’s activities and how they should interact with the children.

When the 80 children finally arrived, they were divided into groups, assigned volunteers and given breakfast after which the day’s activities started with a treasure hunt around the gardens. Here the children had to navigate themselves through the gardens looking for clues along the way. Many teams got lost and many volunteers complained that they hated geography, but in the end everyone got rid of some energy, spent time in a special place and learnt a lot about maps as well as the nature around them.

From here the teams started with the various events including a recycling game and a game focused on building individual confidence. This was complimented by activities where the children made gift bags from magazines and baskets from old plastic bottles. This kept the children and volunteers busy before lunch and the creativity and ingenuity shown by the children was amazing. Seeing everyone creating something of their own design and taking pride in the outcome was something special. This was followed by lunch where the children seemed relaxed as they enjoyed a summer’s day picnic in the Botanical Gardens.

The highlight of the day was the arrival of the Rand Water, Water Wise mascot, Manzi, who danced away whilst telling a story about water and the challenges we face here in South Africa with respect to this scarce resource. The children loved watching and listening to him and Noeksie was just one big smile! I am sure she is envious of Manzi and would love to be a dancing water tap! The children were given opportunities to show their talents and singing and dancing were the order of the day. A highlight to me was the singing of the national anthem where a young girl gave a perfect rendition of "Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika". This was truly inspiring especially after the passing of Madiba two days earlier.

When someone of Madiba’s stature affects our lives and shows us the true nature of reconciliation, it is very difficult to decide how to honour him. Well it came to me standing amongst the children watching their smiles and knowing we were making a real difference to their lives! We had made them aware of their environment, the role they have to play and how to respect their friends and families. This is what I would like to continue doing to grow this great nation and attempt to uphold the example shown to us by Madiba.


We would like to thank the National Botanical Gardens and SANBI, Rand Water and all the volunteers for making this a special day and we will be following this up in the near future with similar events. Why do we not dream big and make this a monthly event, nothing is stopping us!


The Kidz being split into groups

The Kidz being split into groups


A second group of kidz formed for the day

A second group of kidz formed for the day


Lining up for breakfast

Lining up for breakfast


Breakfast

Breakfast


One Group showing off their Mobiles

One Group showing off their Mobiles


SOAPkidz Volunteers

SOAPkidz Volunteers


Noeksie and Stuart


Some young volunteers looking forward to the day

Some young volunteers looking forward to the day


The Kidz getting creative

The Kidz getting creative


Group Volunteers

Group Volunteers


Manzi the Waterwise entertaining the kidz

Manzi the Waterwise entertaining the kidz


Kidz in Pretoria Botanical Garden

Kidz in Pretoria Botanical Garden


Green Gift Day

Volunteers Information

SOAPkidz will be hosting the first Green Gift Day of 2013 on Saturday 7th December 2013 at Pretoria Botanical Gardens for an expected 300 children.

Pretoria Botanical Gardens have kindly agreed to sponsor the entrance fee for all SOAPkidz volunteers and participants.

Below are a few details of what can be expected during the day as well as what you will need to bring with you.

As always SOAPkidz will do it’s best to reduce any personal costs for the volunteers, however we greatly appreciate your time and commitment .

GOALS & OBJECTIVES:
SOAPkidz is a non-profit organisation and our aim is to:
• create environmental awareness
• promote nature conservation
• teach life skills, while doing fun activities amongst underprivileged, abused and neglected children

ACTIVITIES:
Our mission statement stipulates that any activities must be subject to the following criteria:
• Must be in a Natural environment or Nature-related and adventure-based
• Must teach the children a valuable skill (e.g. leadership, communication, how to make something)
• Must incorporate an environmental project
• Must be fun for the children
• Preferably involve affiliated organizations / groups

TYPES OF ACTIVITIES:
• CRAFTS
o Bags made from old magazines
o French knitting
o Mobiles made from things picked up in nature
o Producing bath salts
o Angels made from beads
o Containers made from recycled material
• ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVITIES
o Environmental games
o Concerts that enhance team building with an environmental theme

VOLUNTEERS: WHAT TO BRING
• Your sense of humour
• Your willingness to become a child again
• A funky hat/sunglasses/sunscreen
• A waterbottle and small backpack
• Your own lunch (sometimes it gets hectic and you might be busy when the others have breakfast/lunch)
• Comfortable shoes/clothes
Please be there by 07h00 so we can get started as soon as the children arrive at 08:00.

PROGRAM FOR THE DAY:
Time Min Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 07:00 - 08:00 60 Volunteers arrive, set up and are briefed
08:00 - 08:30 30 Registration/briefing of kids
08:30 - 09:30 60 Treasure Hunt
09:30 - 10: 30 60 Activity 2 Activity 4 Activity 3
10:30 - 11: 30 60 Activity 3 Activity 2 Activity 4
11:30 - 12:30 60 Activity 4 Activity 3 Activity 2
12:30 - 13:00 30 Manzi
13:30 - 14:00 30 Lunch
14:00 - 15:00 90 Concert, Circle of Light
15:00 - 16:00 60 Debriefing of volunteers and packing away

If you have any questions about the event, contact us by email at noeksie@soapkidz.org or find us on Facebook. SOAPkidz needs watchful eyes and helpful hands to ensure the children benefit greatly from the day.

Through SOAPkidz we endeavor to change people’s lives and enhance environment al awareness throughout society. The continued success of these events will go a long way to ensuring this.


Green Gift Day

Green Gift Day at Pretoria Botanical Gardens

SOAPkidz is excited to be holding our first Green Gift Day on 7th December 2013 at the Pretoria Botanical Gardens.

Karen’s vision for Green Gift Day is ambitious and knowing Karen and her relentless energy and enthusiasm to make events happen, we have no doubt that she will attain her goal of seeing Green Gift Day become an international event worldwide.

So what is Green Gift Day all about?

SOAPkidz is looking to partner with individuals and corporates to make a real difference in the life of every person who participates.

Instead of buying a gift to be handed out to a child, SOAPkidz is offering their time and skills to teach the children how to make gifts using recycled materials and to care for their environments.

The children will learn creative and practical skills as well as reward the planet by:
• reducing pollution caused by excess gift wrappings and (sometimes), unnecessary gifts
• recycling materials and litter
• creating environmental awareness

By encouraging the children to be creative and work with other children SOAPkidz teaches the children valuable social and soft skills that are often over looked in a child’s development.

Every child participating in the event will receive the following “goodies” in recognition of their participation and to ensure that they remember the skills and lessons learnt during the event in the future:
• 7 Gifts they made using recycled material/ collected litter
• An official signed SOAPkidz certificate of attendance
• A water bottle, two meals, snacks and cold drinks
• Valuable life skills
• An enjoyable day to remember

The programme for the day includes the following activities:
• Environmental education games
• Team and self-esteem building
• Arts and crafts
• Prize giving for best team spirit

The children will enjoy creating the following gifts using 80% recycled materials.
• Angels
• Mobile phones, including a holder
• Fish
• Bubblebath
• Bath Salts
• French Knitting
• Gift bags and gift cards

SOAPkidz collects and stores much of the materials needed throughout the year and ensures the preparation of materials prior to an event.

Should you wish to be a part of the magic in helping to shape the future success of our children and environment, SOAPkidz is always looking for support in the way of sponsorship and volunteers.

You can contact SOAPkidz by email at noeksie@soapkidz.org or through the SOAPkidz Facebook Page













"Volunteer Feedback"

"There are no real words to adequately describe this event. Being a first time volunteer with SOAPkidz has really opened my eyes and gave me a whole new perspective of how much work and effort actually goes into a SOAPkidz event. It gave me the chance to interact with the children in a way that I have never been able to before. I was mesmerized by how little they needed to put such a big smile on their faces! A simple example of this, were the baskets that we made. If we had more time, I am pretty sure they could have spent the whole day just decorating and showing off their baskets. The highlight of the day was most certainly the dancing and singing with the Water Wise mascot, Manzi. I could not help but smile and dance along with my group, especially once I saw Noeksie join in. The joy on her face was priceless. When I first arrived, I had no idea what to expect but WOW, I am glad I came. The first hand experience and pleasure I got working with the children has definitely inspired me to be more active with events like this. Thank you to everybody who made this event not only possible, but successful. I wish to see plenty more events like this in the future."

Devin Johnson