The refugee kids had their outing at the Great Escape Adventure Park in Lake George, N.Y. today, they are not home yet. I just got this photo, which says it all.
I see they are holding their souvenir soda mugs, they had their complimentary photos, their free lunch, gone on every ride, and have nearly exhausted even their energetic selves, according to Ali, their devoted teacher and friend.
The children are part of the RISSE refugee and immigrant program based in Albany, and the trip was made possible by our very own Children's Refugee Fund, the trip was paid for by an angel from Minnesota named Kimberly, who wishes to remain otherwise anonymous.
Ali has been trying to arrange a discounted trip to the Great Escape for sometime, but ran into a bunch of roadblocks. We got through them and the trip was, by early accounts, a blast. Many thanks to Sandy in the Great Escape Group Promotion office, she was a great help.
I wanted very much to go and planned to go but I realized I ought to give over my tickets to two more kids, it was silly to waste them on me. I thought of them all day and finally got a burst of photos from Ali, which was the next best thing.
It is nearly eight o'clock and I think they are on the way home now. They will sleep tonight.
Next Saturday, this same group is coming to Pompanuck Farm (and to Bedlam Farm) for a one-day outing in the country. Another is planned in August, and I have another angel from New Jersey to thank for this trip. I can't give out her name either.
A mighty moment for the Army Of Good, whose triumphs are piling up, day after day.
What they most loved about their retreat was the freedom it gave them to just be themselves and run around and play games and hike in a safe and beautiful place. We'll do it again several times this summer.
Your donations have made this and other assistance for these kids possible and I thank you and they thank you. If you wish to contribute to the Children's Refugee Fund, my program for supporting these children, you can send a donation to Bedlam Farm, c/o P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816. You can also send it through the Paypal Friends And Family program, my ID is email@example.com.
We mostly get small amounts, but the donation for the Great Escape was a big one, about $1,500. I am planning scholarship programs for gifted kids and other trips, I'd love to send them to New York City to see the Statue of Liberty and other sights there, hardly any of them have been to New York. I would love for them to see that lamp. (I am not seeking funds for this trip yet, it is just an idea.)
Ali has helped choose two children for the first scholarships, memberships in the Brooklyn Library Of Art Sketchbook Project, where they can send their work to the art museum, and have it published on their website and seen all over the world. Ali is suggesting a third refugee child for this program this week.
But that's just an idea, I haven't researched yet, or even talk to Ali or the people at RISSE about it. You are all sending a powerful message to these children about America and our true hearts and souls, and thank you for that.
I love the photo of these kids at the Great Escape, this was something they very much-needed very much-loved. I'm basking in the glow of this one. And I hope KImberly is as well.
I think I'll sleep happily as well.