Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Princess-themed Kiddie Party for God’s Favorites

I had a nagging feeling to celebrate my birthday this year in an extra special way.  I kept thinking about how I’m going to celebrate my birthday this year even around a couple of months before my actual birthday.  But the inspiration to have a kiddie party in an orphanage came to mind only a few weeks prior to my birthday when I read a story in Kerygma, a Catholic magazine.  The writer (Rissa Singson-Kawpeng) shared that she was inspired to throw a party at an orphanage because of this Bible passage:
“When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment.  But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:12-14)

The name of orphanage we visited.
As soon as I read her story, I wasted no time to contact Tito Rey Ortega (Executive Director of the orphanage) to ask permission to celebrate my birthday at Tahanan ng Pagmamahal Children’s Home (for girls) in Pasig.  This is one of the ministries that we in the Kerygma Family and the Light of Jesus Community support.  I was very happy when Tito Rey said yes.  He gave me the number of the orphanage in Pasig and got in touch with those in charge.  I was told that the next available date was April 28 from 10 am to 1 pm.  It was already far from the actual date of my birthday, which incidentally fell on Good Friday this year, but I didn’t mind.  I was already happy to be given this opportunity.

My birthday banner

Even before I got the confirmation to have my birthday party at the orphanage, I already had an idea on what the theme of the party will be.  It would be a Disney princess-themed party.  Why?  Simply because I know that most, if not all girls, go through that phase when they dream of becoming a princess just like in the fairy tales.  I know this well because I once dreamed of that as a little girl and I had a collection of fairy tales when I was small.  But aside from giving the girls in the orphanage the chance to attend a princess-themed party, I felt that God wants me to share something more.  He wanted me to share with them something more precious, HOPE, LOVE and DIGNITY. 

I was inspired by God to share these three BIG MESSAGES to the girls in the orphanage:
1.    You may be dreaming of becoming a princess but in truth you already are; because you are God’s daughter.  And God our Father is no ordinary King.  He is the King of Kings. 
2.    You are beautiful and you are loved because God created you and He loves you. 
3.    There is hope for you because God will be there to help you in your needs and He will send people to bring you the help you need.
My challenge was how to communicate these messages to the children in a way that they will understand and in Filipino.  I prayed for guidance and inspiration and God answered my prayers.
God helped me come up with this program with the help of my husband and friends who signified that they could come and help me during my birthday outreach.  Below is the program I came up with for our Disney princess-themed kiddie party:

·     Creative Storytelling of the fairy tale Cinderella with question and answer portion after. – This story was chosen to give the girls hope that their dreams can come true and that they are not really alone.  Just like Cinderella, there will be friends who will come along to help them.  My husband and I chose Filipino songs that we can use to help me tell the story to the girls aside from the original song sung by Cinderella in the Disney movie.  These were May Bukas Pa popularized by the soap opera Santino and a song that we sing during Masses, Huwag Kang Mangamba.  My friend Raquel suggested that I tell the kids before I begin the story that they need to listen well because I will be asking questions afterwards and they can win a prize.  I also had some props like a fairy tale book, a crown, a magic wand, a shawl and shiny high-heeled shoes to help me spice up my storytelling.

Storytelling time with the birthday girl - ME!

My husband played the guitar;
 while my friend, Cynthia, played the violin.
So as we planned it, I told the story in Filipino and at some points of the story, we sang some songs.  My husband led the singing for the song May Bukas Pa after I told the girls the part of the story wherein Cinderella was crying in her room because she was already an orphan and her stepmother and stepsisters were maltreating her.  

I sang Cinderella’s song A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes when Cinderella learned about the party of the prince.  And when Cinderella accepted the prince’s marriage proposal, my husband sang Huwag Kang Mangamba to communicate to the girls that now Cinderella has a new family again in the prince.  She’s no longer alone.  The prince will be there to take care of her and defend her.

Using my magic wand as I told the story.
The girls who answered my questions correctly afterwards got prizes.

·      Cinderella Goes to Party. – This is a modified version of the relay game Maria Went to Market.  The girls were divided into smaller groups and each team was given a crown, shawl and a small bag.  The girls need to run to the monobloc chair with the props for the game, put them on, catwalk or walk like a model to the circle that is drawn on the ground using a chalk. 

 Kids listen to instructions for
the Cinderella goes to party game.
    Once in the circle, they are to pose before running back and removing the props they had put on, leave them again in the chair and the go to the end of the line so that the girl next in line will do the same.  The first group who finishes wins the game.

During Cinderella goes to party game.
·   Treasure Hunt. – After the relay game, the smaller girls were divided into two small groups and I explained that they are to help Cinderella find her things for the party which were hidden around the house.  I enumerated the items they need to find: necklace, bracelet, bag, shiny shoe.  I pretended to be Cinderella wearing a crown, a shawl and one shiny shoe.  The first group to bring me the most number of items in the treasure hunt wins.

·      Decorate Your Own Crown/Tiara Art Activity. – The next activity was meant to slow down the girls and let them catch their breath.  We brought out the art materials for the activity.  We had a white cartolina and a white board cut into crowns with different shapes.  These were distributed to the girls along with stickers, stamps, glitter pens, crayons and colored pencils.  We also had paper clips and tape to help them fix their crowns.  

Busy working on their masterpieces.

    Even my three-year-old son participated and made his own crown.  Then, when it’s picture-taking time, he also had his picture taken as I introduced him as Prince Yanthy.  What fun!
Prince Yanthy with a crown that he made.
·        Photo Ops or Picture-taking with their crowns. – I told the girls that once they finish their crowns, they are to pose by the table where our party food is set up and my friend photographer Ricky Pascual, will take their pictures one by one.  To make it extra special too, I pretended to have a trumpet and announced each time a girl lines up for the photo ops: “Announcing the arrival of Princess ______________!”  I called out each one of them as princesses.  I plan to have their solo pictures printed out and sent back to the girls as their souvenir and my thank you card to them. 

This little princess proudly wears her crown.

·       Eating time. – Instead of the kids lining up, the volunteers served the food and drinks to them.  It was just a simple menu of spaghetti, fried chicken, strawberry cup cake with candy sprinkles on top, ice cream in cones, cake and apple-flavored iced tea.  

The party food

Ice cream time
     The staff in the orphanage also cooked some rice so that those who want to eat rice can have some.  The volunteers and orphanage staff had the same food except that there was additional lumpiang shanghai.

·      Distribution of give-aways. – My original plan was to creatively distribute the loot bags through a game called Pass Cinderella’s Shiny Shoe wherein there will be music played in the background and a shiny shoe is passed from one girl to the next while the girls sit in a big circle.  When the music stops, the girl holding the shiny shoe will be given a loot bag.  But since the music player in the orphanage is not in good condition, we just distributed the loot bags by age group.

Receiving their Disney princess-themed loot bags.

·     Songs for the Girls. – After all the girls got their loot bags, they were treated to some songs.  My husband sang some songs while he played the guitar and my friend Cynthia played the violin.  

My husband George
      Then, I led the girls in singing an action with the following lyrics:
You are beautiful.  You are loved.  You are forgiven by the mercy of God.
The girls were asked to get a partner first as they imitate my actions.  Then, they need to find a new partner when we sing it again.  I taught them how to say “you are beautiful” in sign language. Then when we sang you are loved, we embraced our partner.  We sang it a number of times so that the girls would be hugged repeatedly that day by me or a friend.
·  Closing Prayer. – I led the closing prayer where I tried to relate the lessons in Cinderella’s story to our lives.  I said in my prayer that may we not forget that though we do not have a fairy godmother like Cinderella, we have God our Father who helps us and watches over us and who sends us friends who helps us in our needs.  I also prayed that we would not lose hope and not give up our dreams easily but trust that God could make them come true if they are best for us.  I prayed in Filipino of course.

It took me a week to finalize the details of the party and source the suppliers.  It’s a good thing that I had planned parties including kiddie parties in the past.  It made it easier although my schedule was still jam-packed two days prior to the event. 

My princess-themed birthday cake
did not only look nice.
It was also yummy!
To make my life easier, I ordered cooked spaghetti from Amber’s branch in Mandaluyong and hearts and blossoms cake with Disney Princess cake topper from Goldilocks and asked them to deliver the food to the orphanage.  We bought chicken drumsticks and frozen lumpia from the grocery and asked my maid to cook them.  I bought the fairy tale book, name tags, art materials, prizes and giveaways which were mainly food items from the grocery too.  

It was also good that I found balloons and balloon sticks in the department store of the mall near our place.  I just borrowed a pump from one of my friends who volunteered to join the outreach.  Then, I asked one of my maids to buy the Disney Princess-themed party decors (banner and banderitas) and the loot bags I reserved from a store that sells party needs near our place also.

It was a very good experience not just for the girls in the orphanage but for my family and friends as well.  We all had a great time! It was also a dream come true for me. I have dreamed of having a princess-themed birthday party when I was a little girl but we didn't have much money when I was growing up. That day, my childhood dream came true and what made it more meaningful was that I got to share it with little girls who might not also have a chance to have one if I didn't organize this party for them. 

Group picture with the kids, my family and my friends.

Enjoying my time with the kids.
And all of us look forward to visiting the orphanage again next time including my friend’s little girl who found new friends in the orphanage.  According to my friend, her daughter was inspired to celebrate her next birthday in the orphanage also so she can share her blessings to the less fortunate.

In case you are inspired by this post to celebrate your birthday in a charitable institution, here is a list of some of the ministries we have in the Light of Jesus Community and Kerygma Family.
If you give to the poor, your needs will be supplied! (Proverbs 28:27)

When you help the poor you are lending to the Lord -- and he pays wonderful interest on your loan! (Proverbs 19:17)

·   Tahanan ng Pagmamahal Children’s Home (for girls) – This is located in Barangay Oranbo in Pasig near the Valle Verde Country Club and Oranbo Elementary School.  You may call 9014490 to get in touch with Sister Elvie, FCJ, Reena Mae or Menchie. 
·      Tahanan ng Pagmamahal Children’s Home (for boys) – This is in Barangay San Antonio in Francisco del Monte, Quezon City.  Their contact number is 4414931.  You may look for Sister Anastacia Puji Hastuti, SSCC, Jinky or Ruby.
·   Tahanan ng Pagmamahal Children’s Home (for abandoned babies) – This is in Barangay Barangka, Ilaya, Mandaluyong.  You may call Delfin/Gloria Viola, Angel Membrado or Dhee Almoite at 6648992 to inquire.
·       He Cares Foundation Street Children Caring Center (our street kids ministry) – You may contact Joe Dean or Ardis  Sola at 9288910 or 4530100.
·       Grace to be Born Center (for women with unwanted pregnancies or pregnant women in crisis) – This is also in Pasig at Dr. Sixto Antionio, Barangay Kapasigan.  You may contact Rey and Myrna Ortega at 9101895, 6356056 and 5010965.
·       Anawim (home for the abandoned elderly) – This is in Barangay San Isidro, Rodriguez, Montalban, Rizal.  You may call 7105273 or Tim Duran at 6552219.
If you want to donate to the ministries that the Kerygma Family supports, kindly click here to find out more.
Let me end with some Bible verses:
Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. (1 John 3:18)

The happy faces of God's favorites during the party.

Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. (1 Timothy 6:18)
Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
By doing this they will be storing up real treasure for themselves in heaven - it is the only safe investment for eternity! And they will be living a fruitful Christian life down here as well. (1 Timothy 6:19)

Photos courtesy of Ricky Pascual Photography.

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