What is Harvest of Hope?
Harvest of Hope has been started as an outreach programme by the Preschool with the vision of enriching the lives of the children who have been admitted to the Oncology Unit of the Provincial Hospital. It is our vision to help the children going through chemotherapy and having to stay in hospital, with a few important learning skills and also to make their stay a little brighter. An encouraging smile and a hug is sometimes all that they need.
What is our purpose?
Our purpose is not only to invest our time with these precious little ones, but also assist with keeping up their skills required for schooling. We go in, sing a few songs, do some creative activities, play educational games and read stories. The older children have different needs, so we try to assist them in keeping up their skills with numeracy and languages.
Who is involved and when do we go?
Every Tuesday and Wednesday after school, a group of 4 teachers go to the Oncology ward to “teach” the children who are there. The ages and the children can change on a daily basis. We have 23 volunteer teachers from preschool through to high school who we can call upon at any time to help those staying in hospital.
At this stage we are working with a small group of children, from the ages of 2 – 13. We are not able to work with the children who are in isolation as they are too ill. It is very heart warming seeing the happy, excited faces of the children when we go back the next day and the following week.
Their whole body lights up with joy and hope. We will be the ones to walk away each time, humbled by what we see and thankful that we can learn so much more about life from these children. I will end off with a very profound message from the resident Social Worker:-
“ ....working here will put your life into perspective for you...now go home and love your children with everything you’ve got and don’t take time for granted.” I pass this same message on to all parents. Spend valuable time with your children, because you do not know what tomorrow brings. Love your children, listen to your children, and most importantly spend time with your children.
You are very welcome to contact me if you feel you would like to know more about our outreach programme.
Cathy Gerber - Orange Teddy Preschool teacher