“As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself,
and one for helping others.”
-Audrey Hepburn

9:00 a.m. the days begin at Caladium Learning Center. The energy and sounds elevate as the children and staff enter the building ready to start the day. They walk in knowing there is a purpose of enriching the lives of the kids. Every minute there is a goal of setting them up for success. With every accomplishment, there is an affirmation, with every goal reached, a reward.

I’m astonished at the growth of these kids, their bravery to try new things, and how not only their minds are being developed, but their hearts as well. Sometimes, it feels as though our flaws and mistakes are constantly stamped to the outside of our skin, and that’s the only thing people are observing. We forget to realize that kids and people do pay attention even if they don’t express it, to the times that you walk through the door and smile, or when you sit down with them and intentionally listen to what they say. When you brush a girl’s hair out of her face, just so everyone can see her pretty eyes, or clap and cheer when a teammate makes a basket because celebrating a goal together is better than cheering for yourself, by yourself. When you run to tie some one’s shoe, because you saw it before they did, and you practiced, “cross the laces, make the bunny ears, the bunny goes around the tree, through the loop, and pull tight!” These moments are also being absorbed by others around you.

We teach academics, music, art, social, and functional skills at Caladium, but the lessons that are so immensely important for our kids here at CLC is teaching them sharing, teaching them, compassion, teaching them that there are more things to spend your time with then a television or screen, and teaching them kindness that comes from the heart.

This is an accomplishment. You can’t put it on a report card, or mark data on it, and you can’t measure it. Take in the moments of seeing the heart grow, and the compassion increase in a child. When the reward becomes unnecessary.  No one prompted her to do it, there was nothing to gain, she just decided to use her hands for helping. Because that is what she’s been observing from the environment around her. Love and kindness has been displayed around her, and she’s learning.