I alluded to this in my Events, Invites and a Blog Candy Giveaway post on Sunday, and I’m excited that today is finally here so I can share the story of my amazing weekend along with some wonderful photos (please note: you’ll see little blue stars in several of these picture to honor the anonymity of the children who attended the event).
I was thrilled when Rhonda, a resource development administrator for the Georgia Department of Family & Children Services, reached out to me to organize a “scrapbooking event” for the families in Georgia Foster Care Program during their annual celebration of the participants of the program. I didn’t take a breath before responding with a big “YES! I’ll do it.” Here’s a picture of Rhonda and me – her shirt says “Every child deserves a forever family” (I love that!):
Rhonda found me online (yay for consistent blogging) and called with the particulars for the event – I placed an order with Stampin’ Up! for the supplies and agreed to show up for the event and walk the participants through Project Life by Stampin’ Up!
Receiving the Order
I don’t want to get too far ahead. If you’ve ever received a Stampin’ Up! order (and I know you have!), then you know the excitement of opening the box(es) and sorting through all the products to make sure you have everything. Even though this order would be delivered to the event for Foster Care Families, I was excited to receive and sort the order. I took off work last week to be home when my UPS man dropped by to deliver 34 boxes of albums, pocket pages, cards, pens and supplies. I was watching by the window all morning:
You can bet I jumped for joy when the truck finally arrived and backed down my driveway (that’s a first!) to deliver my boxes:
I met my UPS driver at the door – he delivers lots of boxes to my house but he knew this delivery was different. The entire shelf on the left side of the truck was filled with my boxes. We had time for a selfie:
and he left with a small thank you gift – a handmade card (of course!), two bottled waters, a gift card and some GooGoo Clusters. He was excited to learn that I make cards with all the stuff he routinely delivers to my house. 🙂
There’s a lot of happiness in these boxes! Julie and Pam helped me spend the afternoon checking, sorting and repacking all the supplies. It felt like Christmas – except for the 90 degree weather. 🙂
Heading to the Event
The event was organized by the Department of Family & Children Services as a celebration for their Foster Care Families. We weren’t the only thing happening at this event – the event coordinators hosted a jumpy castle, a foam machine, lots of games, cotton candy and a barbecue luncheon. The event was held at a park pavilion in High Falls State Park in Jackson, Georgia (about an hour-and-a-half South of Atlanta).
Several of my team members (and a couple of friends) jumped at the opportunity to help with this event – just as fast as I did. We packed up two cars with boxes and people and headed out. This is the back of Gay Lynn’s minivan as we hit the road (there was more stuff in the back of the other car, too!):
If you were more interested in seeing the waterfall, here’s a great picture Serina snapped:
When we arrived at the pavilion, we helped set up tables and chairs and started unpacking all the supplies we brought with us – despite the fact that the room was without power (and air) initially, the group I brought with me jumped right in:
Sharing at the Event
I gave the group of families a quick walk through of memory-keeping and documenting the small events of our daily lives. I shared a book I made last year for my work team’s knitting project (my boss taught us all how to knit, and we made blankets for a homeless shelter and little caps for neonatal care unit). I showed them how easy it was to sort the cards and pictures to tell a story – such an important thing for the children and the families who care for them. We distributed an album, pocket pages and a journaling pen to each attendee. We set out boxes of cards on each table for them to start filling their pages. What a joy to share with them!
Documenting their Memories
Here are some shots of folks who enjoyed playing with the cards and filling out their albums – I really can’t tell you how fun it was to watch the families begin to put together their albums:
In addition to the albums the participants were able to assemble, I organized a quick-and-easy make-and-take with notecards. The card included a cheerful banner and a stamp it-punch it-pop-it-up-with-dimensionals sentiment. While the card was designed with the banner extending down the portrait layout of the card, Caroline (Gay Lynn’s daughter) really had fun with her sample card:
Caroline took over the make-and-take table (she was a real natural):
The “Happy Day” sentiment is from the Perfectly Wrapped stamp set. I gave each family the opportunity to make two – one for the parents and one for the children. I asked them to write a memory of a happy day to stick in the album. I knew the parents would love the keepsake in the child’s writing and the children would love the keepsake in the parent’s writing. Not everyone made the make-and-takes, but those who did loved it (as I knew they would)!
What an amazing day! I am so glad that Rhonda reached out to me and that I was able to participate in such an important celebration. The friends and team members who accompanied me to the event all shared their joy at being able to serve these families. We were able to talk to many of the mothers and fathers (and danced along side of several of the young children) about their experiences – beautiful people with beautiful stories. I adore her Mama Bear shirt:
I have a wonderful family (you already know how awesome my Mom is, right?). In our day-to-day lives, it’s easy to forget how “happy family life” is not guaranteed to every child and “having children” is not guaranteed to every adult. I am so grateful for my natural family, my Stampin’ Up! family and my family of friends outside of Stampin’ Up!. I am so glad to have spent time with this awesome group of families and to make some new friends – so much joy all the way around!
Thanks for stopping by today!
Retiring List. Stampin’ Up!’s retiring list was announced last month – you can see all the items that will soon go away here:
NOW AVAILABLE! Stampin’ Up! is giving some great products an early release! Until May 31, customers can now order select items from the Eastern Palace Suite! There are two bundles being offered – and they are both AMAZING. I can’t see why you’d pass up the Premier Bundle with the Eastern Medallion Dies – they are incredible! To read more about this suite, CLICK HERE.