I am happy that my community is joining in our plan to support the RISSE refugee children coming to America, about 100 will be coming in small groups to Bedlam Farm in July and August, and people in my community-minded and generous town of Cambridge are going to be a big part of this.
Scott Carrino is going to show the kids how to make their own pizza when they come and eat at Pompanuck Farm and the Round House Cafe. Carol and Ed Gulley are opening up their Bejosh Dairy Farm for visits from the children, they will learn about cows and milking and many mysteries of life. Our friend Mandy Meyer-Hill, a healer and massage therapist will talk to the children about health and stress. Rachel Barlow, the Vermont Artist who donated 90 art creativity kids to the kids, will come and help them learn to paint and draw.
Other people are asking how they can help.
There will be a dozen visits to the farm in July and August – every Tuesday and Thursday morning. Our community is a welcoming place, and I would like these children to see that. Many have lived most of their lives in refugee camps and have seen some awful things in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
These children are working hard to assimilate to life in America, it is not easy.
They have lost almost everything, including many of their own values and traditions. RISSE, the refugee and immigrant support center in Albany, is working hard to help them, all of these children are enrolled in their summer and day care and educational programs. (You can donate to RISSE here.)
Today, Mandy gave us several huge bags of games and puzzles collected from children who are now heading off to college. some good stuff in great shape. Maria cleaned and dusted the games and checked to make sure all the parts and pieces were there.
Maria and I are taking the first load to the RISSE Soccer Team game in Williamstown, Mass. tomorrow. We have a game and puzzle for each one of the team members.
The first visit to the farm will be a week from today, my daughter and granddaughter will also be here on a visit from New York City. Emma is excited to be here when the kids come.
This is pretty exciting for us. (In a week or so I plan to ask for funds to buy a projector and screen for the RISSE teachers so they can teach. I also hope to raise funds for six lawn chairs and a small picnic table for the Mansion residents in their assisted care life, so they can be outside in the good weather and have places to sit. That does not appear to be too expensive. I'll offer some details once I have them in hand.)
Please don't send games or puzzles to me, thanks, I want to know more about what the needs are and if they are specific, I will pass that along.
Community is central to life, and I am deeply moved that my community, left and right, Republican and Democrat, farmer and newcomer, young and old, are stepping up to welcome these children and show them the true heart and soul of America. Almost all of us have been there, all of this fear and hatred are not the real America, but a passing fever.
These children and their families are desperate to be here – I met a mother the other day who walked across Africa for three months to get to America with her children. She is no threat to America. She lost a son along the way. Her surviving son is on the soccer team.
So I'll see the team tomorrow in Massachusetts and bring more puzzles and games to RISSE later in the week. It feels so good to give and to do good, I have never felt stronger or more hopeful in my life. There is an Army of Good All around me from everywhere, and we are on the the move.
Onward, the work has just begin.