Jump’N Land!!

22 12 2008

12222008-jumpnland2

Yesterday, Retread put on a great Christmas party for the kids at the Samaritan Inn.  The party consisted of an all-expense paid trip to Jump’N Land here in McKinney.  It included 2 hours “all you can bounce” fun and other games.  Each kid got some tokens to spend in the video game area.  And they all left with a gift-bag filled with candy, a book, stocking cap and gloves, and a gift.

We had 10 kids from the Inn show up plus several parents.  We had 8-9 adult volunteers and another 5 kiddos from their families.  (My whole family was there!)

12222008-jumpnlandWe had an absolute blast.  I saw so many smiles on the kids faces.  It touches me now just thinking about it.  I am so glad that we decided to get involved at the Samaritan Inn almost a year ago now.

Today my neck is a little sore from some serious sliding down this monster slide (not to mention some patches of lost skin from some mishap sliding)!

This was an event that truly meant a lot to the kids and I hope that we can make it an annual event.  I have to give credit to my friend Kyle and my wife for planning and executing this event.  I am one of the lucky ones that just showed up and had fun playing with the kids!

(pics taken from Jump’n Land website)

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This was the kid

20 05 2008

Today was a very sad day. I have posted before about the Jubilee Kids Club program Hurricane Cupcakesthat my friends and I have started at the Samaritan Inn here in McKinney. Well, today we got word that one of our little buddies at the Inn was involved in an off-site accident in which he drowned. This little boy was one of the first kids we met back in February. He was so vibrant and full of life.

This was the kid that was so full of life and energy that we had to keep a special eye on him because you just didn’t quite know what he was going to do next.

This was the kid that nearly had to be restrained inside the building one cool morning in March while we made him wait for someone to bring him a jacket.

This was the kid that just wanted to go outside and play. He just wanted to play. He just wanted to play and play and play.

This was the kid that couldn’t wait to get outside in the sun. He played on the swing. He played in the yard. He played football. He played kickball. He played soccer. He played basketball. He played all of the above…at the same time.

This was the kid that played basketball with me on a make-shift basket out in the playground over and over and over again….and then we played again. We must have played 20 times. And, guess who won every game? That’s right, and he not only beat me every time, he smoked me.

This was the kid that made me laugh because he liked to make up new rules each time I got the basketball… the same rules that for some reason or another might or might not have applied to him when he got the ball.

This was the kid that when I asked him which basketball player he was, he said Reggie Bush! I asked him what NBA team Reggie Bush played for, but he didn’t hear me because he was already on to something else.

This was the kid that wore slippers for his Air-Jordans and a white tank top for his jersey.

This was the kid that had two beautiful sisters that we all thought were twins. But, it turns out, one was his twin and the other was their older sister.

This was the kid that came to Dallas with his family from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. They were trying to make their way in a new place and in a new school and in a new kind of whirlwind.

This was the kid that we brought cupcakes for in April because we knew we were coming on his and his sister’s birthday. We were sad when they weren’t there that day. We had to enjoy the cupcakes without them.

This was the kid that ultimately left this world too young, too early, and with too much playing left to do.

This is the kid that my friends and I will dearly miss.

This is the kid that I will think about everytime I shoot a basket in that make-shift goal out in the playground.

This is the kid that I will remember everytime I see Reggie Bush run for a touchdown as I wonder if he would make a good basketball player.

This is the kid that I will honor with every cupcake I eat.

This is the kid that I hope to see again someday in a better place. A place without homeless shelters, a place without hurricanes, a place with no need for jackets to go out and play, a place where everyday is a celebration of someone’s birthday, a place where his smile will last for a few thousand years and then a few thousand more.

A place we can both call home together.





Jubilee Kids Club

17 05 2008

Jubilee Kids ClubToday my family and I along with some other friends of ours spent a couple of hours at a homeless shelter in Mckinney, TX called The Samaritan Inn.  The program that we are involved in is called Jubilee Kids Club and it is under the umbrella of an awesome non-profit organization called Retread.

The Jubilee Kids Club program is simple – show up to the shelter and play with the kids for a couple of hours.  These kids are dying for love and attention and their parents are often dying for a break.  For 2 hours one Saturday each month, we give them each what they are dying for.

The time we spend there goes by so fast and everyone has so much fun.  Today was our biggest turn out to date by far.  We had 14 kids show up and most of them were ages 4 and under.  But, I tell you, all those little personalities bring so much joy to ours lives.

I really want my kids to know what it means to show God’s love to those around them.  I think by volunteering our time for just 2 hours a month is one small way that we can do just that together as a family.  It is truly inspirational to me when my kids get home and talk about their friends at the Inn by name and they look forward to the next time they can see them.

We have made a special bond with one family in particular.  They are a single parent home with 4 kids ages 5, 3, 2, and 6mo.  My 4 year old made fast friends with their 5 year old and the same with the 2 year olds.  Last time we were there, the mom told us that we probably wouldn’t see them again because they had found a place to move into.  We were so happy for them…and yet sad that we may never see them again.  Today we showed up and were surprised to see the family still living there.  We asked about it and the mother told us that the home they had hoped to move into had fallen through.  We were happy to see them, but sad that things hadn’t worked out for them.

Here’s hoping that they aren’t there next month.

If you live in the North Texas area and would like to get involved, please leave a comment and I will put you in touch with the right people.