Team: UCF Alpha Xi Delta
As a team of 9 college students, we came to the Center not knowing the impact these children would make on our hearts. Now on only our fourth day, many of us are certain we never want this week to end.
I have had the privilege of working with the Canaries, children of ages one to six. On Monday when I walked into the room the children were in the middle of breakfast and looked up to see the new faces. Covered in black beans, milk and beaming smiles, I immediately felt God’s presence surrounding us and the children. As the day quickly moved and children were put into pajamas, I found myself dreading the sun setting but looking forward to the day ahead.
The positivity and love from the children and nannies here at the Center continues to amaze me. I have gained a large amount of respect for these women that are constantly providing for the children, despite their exhaustion. Even after working a twelve hour shift five days a week, the nannies go home to their families and take care of them as well. They always leave and return with a smile on their face and love in their hearts. They are my heroes.
Even though they are tired, sick and helpless of their situation these children are as playful and loving as any other healthy child. Melany, almost 4 years old, is severely malnourished. For her case, this has resulted in extreme restricted physical movement and diminished tooth structure. Nonetheless, that toothless smile never ceases to brighten my day. God is calling to me to bless her with love and attention. What she gives back to me, however, is more than I could ever ask her to give me: an overflowing heart.
Henry is also in the canaries group and almost six years old. In a group of younger children, away from his family, and fighting to be healthy– anyone would expect a child like Henry to act out. However, I have never seen a more loving child. He takes care of the other children as if they were all his younger brothers and sisters. He helps the nannies in the little ways he can. He’s even taught me a few Spanish words this week to help me get by! Every night when it’s time to leave, he gives me a hug and a kiss and greets me the next day with a smile. I have only known him for a short time but I am beyond proud of him and the man that he will grow up to be because of God and this Center.