Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Project Zoo-out

Recently a group of fun loving privateers (100% voluntary) organized Project Zoo-out where they took kids from the Agathians Shelter on a trip out to the zoo which doubled up as a fundraiser for the children’s education.

Project zoo-out
Some of you would recall receiving emails on the event from me. I met the group one evening during the pre planning stage when I was at the home visiting the children. They’re basically a group of friends who got together to raise funds for the home and I must say both the pre and during the event organization was really well done.

A blog was set up to track the event with constant updates. It was the way the money was generated that was most interesting as most of the money came from friends of friends of friends and just like that, plus a few other generous donations they collected a whopping RM 32 705.

The event wasn’t without its glitches but despite everything that was going on the team and the guardians (pledgers who turned up to spend time with the children) were all smiles and excited about the event. Their persona never changed at any point.

You have to credit them for the minute details that were looked into to make sure the children had fun. There were personalized name tags for each child, the children were divided into groups whose guardians had already been assigned and briefed, there were little flags with the zoo-out image passed around, another bunch of volunteers were seen busy getting the food ready for lunch and so they ended up arranging the food and making sure the famished group will be fed then having fun with the children.

It didn’t stop at that, each kid was given 2 huge goody bags filled with stationary, school stuff and toys for the children and each bag had been personalized with each child’s name.

The itinerary was well planned to coincide with activities at the zoo and other activities the group had planned for the children. Besides watching the animal show and visiting the zoo, the kids had a visit from the resident orang utan, played so many games and even had face painting sessions. Food was more than ample for the children during lunch but even before that the guardians were seen purchasing sweets and snacks for the kids.

It was really nice to see how fast the guardians bonded with the children. At times too fast as some of the little naughty ones were seen bullying them which they found really cute. 


 Knowing the twins mischievousness I made sure they weren’t in the same group and kept an eye on the naughtiest one. Sure enough the smart kid was seen jumping from one volunteer to the other depending on who had a better cam or who hadn’t bought him sweets yet! And everytime he was about to do something mischievous he’d look out for me and if he caught me watching he’ll grin back innocently. As much as he melts my heart, I finally had to warn him enough sweets or he can follow me. He tells me ok and less than 2 minutes later I caught him trying to trick one of the guardians into getting him sweets and so I had to hold on to him for awhile despite his protests until he promised not to have anymore sweets. This time he kept his promise ;p

By the time lunch started some of the children even had their own cheer squad. I tell you these children really know how to steal hearts. One little smile, a tug on your finger as they excitedly show you something and you’re sold for life. I should know, I’ve cancelled outings to spend time with the children!

Painted faces

When the war paints came out, the children excitedly began choosing who they were gonna be. Lions were the most popular request, though a few cheetahs and moons were seen walking around. I decided to try my hand at painting the kids but on the condition they’d have to let me draw whatever I wish. This darling initially didn’t like my design until ppl started telling him it was nice and then he comes and tells me he likes it too ;p hehe

We actually got lost a few times in the zoo as we weren’t following any particular group and forgot to get ourselves maps ;p which turned out to be a good thing as we’d suddenly appear along one of the groups much to the surprise of the children. So they couldn’t really be naughty.

We even had time for an impromptu football game and the football crazy boys were quick to invite some of the guardians to join them every Sunday evening.

Like I said they did an excellent job. Organizations and clubs could learn a thing or two from them on how to organize an event, how to treat children and how to be well prepared. It just shows that you don't need to be part of an organization to be able to make a difference. The children had a blast and my kudos to the team who did a wonderful job organizing and executing the event.


Pixelated Mo said...

looks like everyone had fun...

Jeevan said...

It must be very enjoyable movements for the children with you.

The pic was very sweet, as well the flag :)

visithra said...

mo : yeah they did ;)

jeevan : yeah we did - thanks ;)